Where can you hear a lion sing like a bird?
Lions Clubs International founder Melvin Jones said that some of the earliest club meetings could be quiet affairs until someone broke out into song.
“It seemed to me that the meetings were pretty dead until we limbered them up with song,” said Jones, who sang tenor. “Everybody talked business with his neighbor at the luncheon table, and when that subject was exhausted, he just shut up and kept his eyes on his plate. A few rounds of ‘Tipperary’ and ‘I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl’ ended all that.”
In 1926, Songs for Lions, the first official Lions Clubs International Songbook, was published. The songbook included reworked, Lions-themed lyrics to popular tunes like “Ain’t We Got Fun,” as well as an original composition called “Don’t You Hear Those Lions Roar?” with music and lyrics by Lions Joseph W. Thurston and Robert Kellogg of Hartford, Connecticut. Voices rang out in convention halls everywhere:
He makes his home in a jungle den
He feeds on meat and also men
King of beasts, he kills and preys
He’s the lord of the forest
Til he end his days.
Roaring, he bites ‘em!
Snarling, he fights ‘em!
Monarch of all he surveys.
You should hear those Lions roar
Their snarling, rumbling roar
So roar, Lions! Bite ‘em! Bite ‘em! Bite ‘em!
Don’t you hear those Lions, hear those Lions
Hear those Lions roar!
Sharing the joy of music is also part of how Lions serve. Whether it’s the Calgary Lions Club of Alberta, Canada, providing symphony tickets for students from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, or sponsorship of an annual music festival in Victoria, Texas, Lions have given their communities the gift of song throughout the years.
Lions are still known to break out in song today. To emphasize his chosen theme, Strengthening the Pride, Joe Preston of Dewey, Arizona, international president from 2014-15, told the 2014 International Convention in Toronto that “if we want to energize members, we have to touch their hearts.” Speaking about the importance of being a Lion and not merely attending meetings, Joe broke out into a song of his own composition:
Strengthen the pride through service
For causes worthy and just
Strengthen the pride through involvement
Belonging is never enough
Dig down deep
Let it go and roar like a Lion
Tell the whole world we’ll never stop tryin’
We are the Lions Clubs
We can’t be denied, no, no, no
So dig down deep and Strengthen the Pride
So, where can you hear a lion sing like a bird? It’s a bit of a trick question. The answer is, at a Lions club meeting, anywhere in the world.
Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. They’re a great resource for promoting service at your club meetings!
On September 27, 2017, more than 250 Lions, Leos and dignitaries gathered for the first ever Lions Day with the United Nations to take place in Geneva, Switzerland . The first of three United Nations events this Lion Year, LDUN Geneva jumpstarted the conversation about how Lions can work together to combat the global diabetes epidemic.
The day-long event was jam-packed with important speakers and included an expert panel discussion on the global diabetes epidemic. Lions Clubs International President Dr. Naresh Aggarwal headlined the program, which was chaired by Past International President Dr. Giuseppe Grimaldi and included addresses from Michael Møller, Director General of United Nations Office of Geneva, Kelly Clements, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Dr. Oleg Chestov, Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization, and more.
“Strong partnerships with organizations such as the United Nations have helped shape our past, and will help forge our future. The diabetes epidemic cannot be ignored. Through our partnerships with the United Nations, WHO, pharmaceutical companies, and other agencies, we will make a difference for the millions of people whose lives are impacted by diabetes.”
– International President Dr. Naresh Aggarwal.
Attendees were treated to world-class entertainment in the form of a classical violin performance and a song by the winner of the Lions World Song Festival for the Blind.
Lions and Leos will continue their longstanding partnership with the United Nations—and the discussion on diabetes—at LDUN Nairobi on February 27, 2018 and LDUN New York on March 24. Registration for these events opens November 1. Space is limited, so reserve your seat as soon as possible!
Helping LCIF and Lions protect a child’s sight is as easy as snapping and sharing a photo! For every photo you donate through Johnson & Johnson’s Donate a Photo app*, Johnson & Johnson will donate US$1 to Lions Clubs International Foundation’s (LCIF) Sight for Kids program, up to US$40,000.
Each photo you “donate” via the app (up to 1 per day) on behalf of our “Sight for Kids” cause will help Lions and our partner, Johnson & Johnson Vision (JJV), provide eye health education, vision screening and access to a professional eye exam to a child. In fact, each and every photo (and resulting US$1) helps us provide eye care access to up to four children through Sight for Kids innovative and sustainable model.
Sight for Kids mobilizes local Lions, teachers and eye care professionals to improve eye health awareness and remove eye care barriers to for children in underserved areas across Asia, as well as in Kenya and Turkey – including providing exams, and eye glasses and other treatment.
1. Download the FREE Donate a Photo app for your Apple or Android device (click here)
2. Follow the in-app steps to set up your account and profile. Switch on your Facebook and Twitter accounts within the app to automatically share with all your friends and followers! You can also set up a daily reminder.
3. Be sure to choose Lions’ cause: “To help protect a child’s sight with Sight for Kids.”
4. Then, take a picture, or choose an existing photo to share from your photo library.
5. When you share your photo, you help a child and inspire others to help our Sight for Kids program! Sharing on social media helps to challenges others too.
Since 2002, LCIF and JJV’s Sight for Kids program has worked to provide eye health education and eye care and eyeglasses access to 25 million underserved school children throughout Asia, Kenya and Turkey. Surrounding World Sight Day, LCIF and JJV are ensuring their social snapshots are serving, too! Consider Donating a Photo for Sight for Kids to help Lions protect a child’s sight today! Learn more about Sight for Kids impact at www.lcif.org/sfk .
*The Donate a Photo app is available in the United States, United Kingdom and Japan only. No matter where you live, be sure to get the word out about Sight for Kids and the importance of annual professional eye exams for all children. Photos shared via the Donate a Photo app are not used for commercial purposes.
Disclosure: You can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. For every photo donated to Sight for Kids, Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. will donate US$1 to that cause. You can donate photos to Sight for Kids until December 25, 2017, or until it reaches its goal of US$40,000, whichever comes first. Sight for Kids will receive a minimum of US$20,000.
When the Jarvis Lions Club in Ontario, Canada, was contemplating a Centennial Legacy Project, they were dreaming big. This group of ambitious Lions wanted to create a project that was spectacular, yet practical. One that others would take notice of to attain maximum visibility for their club and for the service that Lions perform every day around the world.
Their dream began to take shape when several club members visited a nearby community that had a paved walking trail encircling a lake in one of its parks. The Jarvis Lions loved the idea of installing a trail in their own community. Although Jarvis doesn’t have a lake, they thought that the Lions Ball Park would be the perfect place for a trail. They pitched the idea to club members, and their dream soon became a reality in the form of the Jarvis Lions Walking Trail.
“We wanted to sponsor a significant project that would involve our residents, local businesses and elected representatives,” said Rick Fess, co-chair of the Special Projects Committee. “We also wanted to create something that could be used by everyone—those who live here and those who visit.”
So the Lions got busy fundraising. They solicited dozens of area companies, delivering letters in person to local businesses. They appealed to individuals, posted notices on Facebook and directed funds from their annual variety show to raise money. According to Fess, however, it was the personal connections that were key to their success.
Numerous companies contributed to the project as did many area residents. Haldimand County pitched in and covered 35% of the total cost, which totaled $220,000. The project consisted of the construction of a 1.1 kilometer (.7 mile) paved walking trail with benches and solar lighting around the perimeter of the park. Club members planted trees and installed the lighting and the benches. In August of 2017, they officially opened the trail with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Every day, from sunup till sundown, people are hitting the trail to get some exercise—walking, biking, and just taking in the wonder of nature. They come with baby strollers, in wheelchairs and on senior scooters, all to enjoy the beauty of this terrific trail and to follow it wherever it leads.
“The whole community has embraced this project from the beginning,” remarked Tom Montague, co-chair of the Special Projects Committee, “and the amount that it’s being used by everyone is very rewarding. I really believe that the use of the trail will remain strong for a long time to come because it is used by people of all ages. The Jarvis Lions Club is so proud to have enhanced the recreational opportunities in our small town at no cost to the people who use it.”
What will your Lions club legacy be? This is the last year to celebrate the Centennial with a Legacy Project, so start planning yours today!
In the early 1990s, Lions raised more than $140 million to help end preventable blindness through the SightFirst program.
As a result of the massive fundraising campaign, Lions helped to save the eyesight of millions over the next decade through related grants and projects, especially cataract surgeries and other eye care services. Yet by 2002, there was much work left to do, and Lions Clubs International Foundation knew the funds wouldn’t last forever.
How would Lions build on the success of the far-reaching and life-changing program? They would do so by raising even more funds through a second campaign. The goal: at least $150 million and a stretch goal of $200 million.
“People thought we were crazy,” Past International President J. Frank Moore III said.
At the 2005 Lions Clubs International Convention in Hong Kong, Dr. Tae-Sup Lee, chairperson of the campaign, launched Campaign SightFirst II with the ringing of a gong. In Asia, tradition asserts that each strike of the gong reduces the suffering of one soul. Lions hoped to save millions of people from preventable blindness.
Campaign SightFirst II had new objectives in addition to the initial SightFirst I goals, which had included eliminating river blindness in Latin America and controlling its spread in Africa. The second campaign aimed its funds and programs at addressing emerging threats to vision such as diabetes, glaucoma and childhood blindness that affect all countries, not just those in developing nations with poor access to resources. Campaign funds would also be used for training, vision screening, eyeglasses, vision clinics and research, as well as for programs to help the blind and visually impaired whose eyesight cannot be restored.
With 30 lead gifts, Campaign SightFirst II was off and running. All over the world, Lions devoted countless hours to raising funds and awareness. Lions in Germany sold wine. The Quito Equinoccial Lions Club in Ecuador raffled off a car. Lions in Waterman, Illinois, USA, sponsored a 5K run in their town.
Members gave more than just their time and energy to fundraising. They gave personal financial donations to the campaign as well, especially Lions in Japan and Korea. Within a year, Lions raised US$60 million toward the campaign. In 2008, the campaign fundraising closed with Lions surpassing their stretch goal to reach US$205 million.
SightFirst II is funding a wide range of high-quality, sustainable projects around the globe. The Lions of District 122 in the Czech Republic received a US$133,000 grant to support training courses at the Lions Ophthalmic Education Centre in Prague. In Belize, a US$130,000 grant is helping to expand screening and treatment for eye disease associated with diabetes. Sustainable models of service, such as training and providing equipment, also continue to be a key focus of the ongoing distribution of campaign funds.
The program’s expanded scope is making SightFirst more relevant and available to Lions in all countries.
Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!
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