Lions Club In­ter­na­tional – 100 years and still mak­ing a dif­fer­ence

Jamaica Gleaner - - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH COUNCIL -

OUR HIS­TORY

IN 1917, Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago busi­ness leader, asked a sim­ple and world-chang­ing ques­tion – what if peo­ple put their tal­ents to work im­prov­ing their com­mu­ni­ties? Al­most 100 years later, Lions Clubs In­ter­na­tional is the world’s largest ser­vice club or­gan­i­sa­tion, with 1.35 mil­lion mem­bers in more than 46,000 clubs and count­less sto­ries of Lions act­ing on the same sim­ple idea: let’s im­prove our com­mu­ni­ties.

In 1920, the Lions Club grew and ex­panded in­ter­na­tion­ally when the first club was estab­lished in Canada. Mex­ico fol­lowed in 1927. The 1950s and 1960s saw the growth of the move­ment ac­cel­er­ate in­ter­na­tion­ally with new clubs in Europe, Asia and Africa.

ERAD­I­CAT­ING BLIND­NESS OUR SIG­NA­TURE PRO­JECT

In 1925 Lions Club In­ter­na­tional was chal­lenged by He­len Keller, who ad­dressed the Lions Clubs In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA, and asked Lions to be­come “knights of the blind in the cru­sade against dark­ness”. Since that time, Lions world­wide have worked tire­lessly to aid the blind and vis­ually im­paired. Through SightFirst, launched in 1990, Lions are restor­ing sight and pre­vent­ing blind­ness on a global scale. Through the ini­tia­tive, Lions have raised more than $346 mil­lion to help fight the ma­jor causes of blind­ness: cataract, tra­choma, river blind­ness, child­hood blind­ness, di­a­betic retinopa­thy and glau­coma.

To­day, Lions Club In­ter­na­tional is the world’s largest ser­vice club or­gan­i­sa­tion, with 1.35 mil­lion mem­bers in more than 46,000 clubs world­wide in over 200 coun­tries. Our motto is ‘We Serve’. Lions are part of a global ser­vice net­work, do­ing what­ever is nec­es­sary to help our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. Lions are ev­ery­where and con­tinue to ex­tend our mis­sion of ser­vice ev­ery day – in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, in all cor­ners of the globe. The needs are great and our ser­vices broad, in­clud­ing sight, health, youth, the elderly, the en­vi­ron­ment and dis­as­ter re­lief.

Lions give sight – By con­duct­ing vi­sion screen­ings, equip­ping hos­pi­tals and clin­ics, dis­tribut­ing medicine and rais­ing aware­ness of eye dis­ease, Lions work to­wards their mis­sion of pro­vid­ing vi­sion for all.

Lions serve youth – Our com­mu­nity pro­jects of­ten sup­port lo­cal chil­dren and schools through schol­ar­ships, re­cre­ation and men­tor­ing.

Lions award grants – Since 1968, Lions from Re­gions 1 and 4 at­tend a lead­er­ship devel­op­ment work­shop hosted by the Claren­don Leo Club. The Leos are be­ing ad­dressed by Past District Gov­er­nor Lion Tony Smatt.

the Lions Clubs In­ter­na­tional Foun­da­tion has awarded more than US$700 mil­lion in grants to sup­port Lions hu­man­i­tar­ian com­mu­nity pro­jects around the world. To­gether, our Foun­da­tion and Lions are help­ing com­mu­ni­ties fol­low­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters by pro­vid­ing for im­me­di­ate needs such as food, water, cloth­ing and med­i­cal sup­plies – and aid­ing in longterm re­con­struc­tion.

We are com­mit­ted to serve oth­ers for the next 100 years! A Leo from St An­drew, Gre­nada, teach­ing a class of young­sters. Lion District Gov­er­nor Er­rol Lee (cen­tre) poses with the Leos from the newly formed Al­pha Club of John Gray High School, Grand Cay­man. THE LEO Pro­gramme is a pro­ject of the Lions Club and be­gan in 1957 when Jim Graver, base­ball coach of the Abing­ton High School in Penn­syl­va­nia, USA, char­tered the first Leo Club. Out of this first Leo Club, the mean­ing of the Leo acro­nym was cre­ated – Lead­er­ship, Equal­ity, Op­por­tu­nity. Later, Equal­ity was changed to Ex­pe­ri­ence.

In Oc­to­ber 1967, the board of direc­tors of Lions Clubs In­ter­na­tional adopted the Leo Club Pro­gramme as an of­fi­cial pro­gramme of the as­so­ci­a­tion.

Over the years, the Leo Club Pro­gramme has ex­panded and Leos now con­sti­tute an in­ter­na­tional net­work of ap­prox­i­mately 144,000 Leos and 5,700 Leo clubs in more than 140 coun­tries world­wide. Com­mu­nity ser­vice re­mains the cor­ner­stone of the pro­gramme, Zone Chair­per­son – Zone 3A, Bar­ba­dos, Lion Shonda Forde, makes a do­na­tion to a wor­thy char­ity.

fos­ter­ing a life­time com­mit­ment to help­ing oth­ers.

The Leo Club’s ob­jec­tive is: to pro­vide the youth of the world with an op­por­tu­nity for devel­op­ment and con­tri­bu­tion, in­di­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively, as re­spon­si­ble mem­bers of the lo­cal, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

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