My name is David Galloway of the Springhill Lions Club in Springhill, Nova Scotia, Canada. I just wanted to shine light on a campaign I recently created, Opening Eyes for Baby Georgia. Last month, I walked blindfolded while guided by a fellow Lion for six days over two mountains from Springhill, Nova Scotia to Truro, Nova Scotia, covering 100 kilometers. The campaign was created to bring awareness and financial support to a family I grew up with in Truro: the Langilles.
Georgia Langille was born blind and deaf. Shortly after being born, while trying to find the route of severe multiple daily seizures, it was discovered that she had a congenital disorder called CDG1a. This rare disorder prevents the liver from creating enzymes that break food down to protein for muscle/organ development. This will prevent Georgia from eating solid food, and requires a special diet currently costing over CAD$500 per month.
As Georgia grows, so will her medical expenses. She will need a special oversized supportive wheelchair as her underdeveloped organs and muscles will prevent Georgia from walking or sitting up unassisted. She will need transfer devices, and the house will need to be remodeled to support these new needs. The family will need a new vehicle to transport the special chair.
Because this disorder is so rare, many of these expenses are not covered by the Langilles’ insurance. Georgia’s mother had to leave her job to provide the care her daughter needs and deserves.
That’s when Lions stepped in.
Our campaign had a goal to create as much awareness to the family and bring the community together. As I finished my six-day blindfolded walk with fellow Lion Jennie Maie Smith, we joined the Nova Scotia Provincial Lions conference in Truro to share the campaign. At this time, our campaign collected over CAD$10,000 in donations from clubs all over our province.
It was at this stage of the campaign that I truly understood what it meant to be a Lion.
From Truro, my guide and I continued to an organized community walk. Many walkers pre-registered and collected donations from sponsors. At the end of the campaign, we tallied up our collection and donated over CAD$14,000 on behalf of the campaign, my local Lions club and all clubs across the province. We have continued to receive donations and have brought the total to over CAD$16,000.
Please take a minute to visit our Facebook page to see photos of our journey, and watch the video above to learn about the precious baby we helped.
This article was written by District 202K DG-elect Marian Andrews and originally appeared in the South Pacific Lion Magazine. Thanks for sharing, Lion Marian!
District 202K adds something unique to Lions Clubs International with four women leading the district in succession.
In the 2012-13 Lions year, the district’s first woman was District Governor Robyn Walker from the Whangarei Hatea Lions Club. This year, District Governor Christine Ford is from Bucklands Beach, followed by Marian Andrews, a member of Waipapa & District Lions, then Deidre Bridge from Eden-Epsom club.
These women are great examples of where women can go in the organization, and each one of them has made it this far –not because they are women, but because they have the ability to do the job.
Women make up the fastest growing demographic within Lions Clubs International. Since women represent 51% of the world’s population, shouldn’t they constitute a similar percentage of Lions worldwide membership?
Working toward this goal is a critical part of creating diversity, adding new perspective to club activities, expanding Lions’ overall membership and meeting the growing service challenges in a world that needs Lions’ help more than ever.
All clubs can benefit from inviting women to join them. Women are hard workers and can be an asset to any organization, so why not Lions Clubs?
Hold a meeting for women in your area; it could be the best thing your club has ever done.
The Coventry Lions Cub program began when the principal of North Coventry Elementary School contacted Lions about starting a Leo club in his school. The students were too young to become Leos, but that didn’t stop Lions from coming up with a new way to get youth involved in service. The first year of the Cub program was during the 2007-08 school year, with 179 students in five schools participating.
Today, Coventry Lions work with Lions Cubs to serve their community through activities such as book drives, eyeglass recycling, tree planting, sending care packages, fundraisers and more. The Cub program has become an excellent way to introduce the joys of community service to young children, and help them understand the importance of helping others.
Interested in starting a similar youth program in your community? Below is a Q & A with Lion Terry Stouffer of the Coventry Lions Club that addresses how the program was started.
The elementary principal contacted me at the end of the school year in 2006. Over the summer, I contacted other principals and teachers in the district. By the end of the summer, every elementary school in our district was on board with the program! It was a big plus that I was a teacher in the district and had built a working relationship with all of our principals and many teachers.
We held a group meeting at the beginning of the school year and developed a plan to introduce the club idea to every school. I set up an orientation program for each of the schools in the district to promote the club.
The number of hours varies by school. We ask for a minimum of eight after school meetings, or one after school meeting per month. These meetings average one hour. The projects and service activities from each school help dictate the number of hours required.
The number varies slightly year to year – usually around 100 Cubs for the five schools, which averages out to 20 Cubs per school. This year there were 94 members.
There have been a few service projects where Leos and Cubs worked together:
You might hear us telling Lions to use hashtags when posting pictures and stories of service activities on Facebook and Twitter, but what exactly is a hashtag and how do they work? Here’s a basic rundown:
When you add #LionsClub to a message on Twitter or Facebook, you’re essentially joining a conversation. People on Twitter and Facebook can search for a specific hashtag, and your message will show up in those search results. Your hashtag is letting everyone know the great things that your Lions club is doing for the community.
Here is what shows up on Twitter when searching for messages with the hashtag #LionsClub:
The Miskolc First Lady Lions Club in Hungary had a great time celebrating Helen Keller Day earlier this month with blind people in the community. The Lions event invited blind people to join them at a local park for a day of relaxation and exercise, including gymnastics and Nordic walking. Fifty blind people joined in the fun!
Since 1925, when Helen Keller challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness,” sight programs have become a huge part of Lions’ service around the world. These programs include eyeglass recycling, vision screenings, eye banks and more. How does your Lions serve the blind and visually impaired in your community?
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