Lions Club of Mona cel­e­brates 22 years of ser­vice to the com­mu­nity

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

A BRIEF HIS­TORY OF OUR CLUB

TWENTY-TWO YEARS ago, 30 young pro­fes­sion­als full of vi­sion and vigour char­tered the Lions Club of Mona. The first mem­bers in­cluded grad­u­ates and mem­bers of the aca­demic and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff of the Univer­sity of the West Indies (UWI), as well as other out­stand­ing mem­bers of the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties. The club made its home at the univer­sity; first, at the Se­nior Com­mon Room and later at the UWI Mona Lions Club Cen­tre for Stu­dents with Spe­cial Needs.

The Lions Club of Mona has a proud record of ser­vice fo­cused on serv­ing the needs of peo­ple within our sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties and be­yond. We are true to our move­ment’s mis­sion and in re­sponse to He­len Keller’s charge of “be­ing knights for blind in the cru­sade against dark­ness”.

The club’s first project was read­ing for blind stu­dents on the Mona cam­pus. This ini­tia­tive awak­ened in the Lions the need for a fa­cil­ity to cre­ate a bet­ter learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for stu­dents with spe­cial needs. Thus Lions Evad­ney Crooks (third left) and Cyn­thia Ross (se­cond right) con­duct­ing sight screen­ing at the Hope Val­ley Ex­per­i­men­tal School dur­ing the World­wide Week of Ser­vice for Sight in Oc­to­ber 2016.

be­gan our jour­ney to con­struct a mod­ern Re­source Cen­tre for Stu­dents with Spe­cial Needs. Other ar­eas of ser­vice in­clude:

Youth & Ed­u­ca­tion; Health Ser­vices: En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change, and the Leo Pro­gramme.

Lion Valerie is a char­ter mem­ber of the club and has served in nu­mer­ous po­si­tions, in­clud­ing chair­man of fi­nance and fundrais­ing, di­rec­tor, trea­surer and twotime pres­i­dent. Pro­fes­sion­ally, Valerie has served the UWI for over 30 years in man­age­ment and fi­nance. It is through her lead­er­ship that this year the club is ce­ment­ing and ex­pand­ing our re­la­tion­ship with the Univer­sity through Mona So­cial Ser­vices (MSS).

OUR SIG­NA­TURE PROJECTS

UWI Mona Lions Club Cen­tre for Stu­dents with Spe­cial Needs

In 1998, the club’s Board of Di­rec­tors de­cided that it wanted to do more for ‘chal­lenged stu­dents’ at the UWI Mona cam­pus. Sub­se­quently, the UWI vice-chan­cel­lor, Sir Alis­ter McIn­tyre, and the UWI man­age­ment team gave full en­dorse­ment to the project.

On June 27, 2007, the UWI Mona Lions Club Cen­tre for Stu­dents with Spe­cial Needs was of­fi­cially opened by Sir Ken­neth Valerie Buckle

Hall, Gov­er­nor Gen­eral of Ja­maica, and Pro­fes­sor Elsa Leo-Rhynie, the then prin­ci­pal of UWI Mona. The project was val­ued at $34 mil­lion and its con­struc­tion was funded by sev­eral donors from civil so­ci­ety and the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors. To­day, the build­ing is be­ing utilised by over 40 stu­dents. Lions Club of Mona (LCM) Re­for­esta­tion Project

In 2004, the club em­barked on a jour­ney to make its con­tri­bu­tion

to pre­serv­ing and con­serv­ing Ja­maica’s en­vi­ron­ment. Why did the LCM choose a re­for­esta­tion project? At that time, it was re­ported that Ja­maica loses for­est cover at a rate of 0.1 per cent an­nu­ally. Ad­di­tion­ally, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Ac­tion Plan, 19 of the coun­try’s wa­ter­sheds have been de­clared crit­i­cal ow­ing to the de­gree of degra­da­tion, and in need of ur­gent re­me­dial work to re­turn to an ac­cept­able state of health.

In part­ner­ship with the Forestry Depart­ment and with the fi­nan­cial sup­port of the En­vi­ron­men­tal From left: Past Pres­i­dents Lions De­bra Rigg, Richard Bramwell, Keith Archer; Keith Porter, Forestry Depart­ment; Char­ter Pres­i­dent Mil­ton Pin­nock and Past Pres­i­dent Denise For­rest join in the cel­e­bra­tion on re­ceipt of the For­est He­roes Award.

Foun­da­tion of Ja­maica and For­est Con­ser­va­tion Fund, the club re­for­ested 52 hectares of de­graded for­est re­serve in the Wal­len­ford

area of the Blue Moun­tain For­est Re­serve. Con­tin­u­ing with its work in re­for­esta­tion, the club turned its at­ten­tion to the Yal­lahs Wa­ter­shed and re­for­ested 25 hectares in the Cin­chona area, sit­u­ated in the Pre­mon­tane Wet For­est Zone.

In recog­nis­ing the club’s ef­fort, the Forestry Depart­ment named the club a ‘For­est Hero’ in its in­au­gu­ral award, in recog­ni­tion of forests he­roes for its sus­tained ef­fort in re­for­est­ing over 125 acres of de­graded forests. LCM and MSS Part­ner in World­wide Week of Ser­vice for Sight

Oc­to­ber 17-21 was recog­nised as World­wide Week of Ser­vice for Sight, fo­cus­ing on the pre­ven­tion of blind­ness and vis­ual im­pair­ments. Dur­ing the week, the Lions from Mona, in part­ner­ship with Chair­man of the Health Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, Lion Melissa Taylor (right), checks the blood pres­sure of a res­i­dent at one of the sev­eral health fairs con­ducted by the Lions Club of Mona.

MSS, con­ducted sight screen­ing in schools and com­mu­ni­ties in the univer­sity town­ship. Sight screen­ing was done at Au­gust Town Pri­mary, Hope Val­ley

Ex­per­i­men­tal and Church of the Open Bi­ble. More than 200 per­sons were seen dur­ing the week, a num­ber of whom were re­ferred for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

IN­TRO­DUC­ING OUR PRES­I­DENT – LION VALERIE BUCKLE – LEAD­ING FROM THE FRONT

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

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