Canadian Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre (CLER) is striving to bring a sense of sight back to those in need

by Derek Clouthier

Canadian BildeVisiting the Bearspaw Lions Club on April 6, CLER sorted through approximately 35,000 sets of eyeglasses, finding around 5,000 usable pairs, which will eventually find a new home somewhere in the world where residents do not have access to such benefits.

“We sent everything from grocery-store eyeglasses to bifocals,” said Darryl Rawleigh, operations director for CLER.

Collecting used sets of eyeglasses from throughout Canada, CLER cleans and restores the pairs it can, and then provides them to various charity groups, such as Medical Mercy Canada, that do trips to third-world countries. Accompanied by a qualified optometrist, eyeglasses with the proper prescription are given to those in need.

“It’s a great program,” said Rawleigh, who said they have one million pairs of eyeglasses in storage waiting to be refurbished.

At present, Rawleigh said he is working on providing approximately 3,500 to an organization travelling to Haiti, and another 27,000 to go to Africa. Recently, 5,600 sets of eyewear were sent to a group in White Rock, B.C.

In addition to the jail and Bearspaw Lions Club, CLER uses the Lions Village in Calgary to store and sort through the eyeglasses.

Canadian Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre partners with United Van Lines, which picks up donations from various optometrist offices and churches and delivers the eyeglasses to Williams Moving and Storage in Calgary, where CLER can then collect them.

Rawleigh said 40 members of the Carstairs and Wild Rose Lions Clubs volunteered to clean and sort eyeglasses in Bearspaw over the weekend.

Eyeglasses are sorted into seven categories: sunglasses, prescription sunglasses, kids, single vision, bifocal and reader glasses.

The Bearspaw Lions Club allows CLER to use the hall free of charge, both for storage and refurbishing.

Every Saturday (excluding the summer months), at one of the three locations, CLER works on getting the eyeglasses ready for use.

Up until September 2012, Spy Hill jail was the only location for the cleaning and sorting process.

Each year, between 150,000 and 200,000 pairs of glasses are shipped to those in need.

“We’re the only Lions centre in Canada that does this,” said Rawleigh of the refurbishing process.

At present, 11 centres in the United States have a similar program. There are also programs in Australia and Italy, run by Lions International.

Lucerne Lions donate dictionaries to Pioneer third-graders

by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune

lucerneLionsROYAL CENTER — Nine-year-old Kiera Osborn looked down at the dictionary she’d just been handed. “I can keep it?” she asked with surprise in her voice.

Lions club vice president Victor Sell told Kiera that yes — it was her very own.

The Lucerne Lions Club donated 78 dictionaries to the third-grade students at Pioneer Elementary School late last week in the first year of what leaders hope to turn into an annual partnership with the school.

The dictionaries, each in paperback with maps, historical documents and other reference information in the back — and a line to write a young owner’s name in the front — are part of a project coordinated by the Lions Clubs International. Lucerne Lions president Allen Shank said local club members voted unanimously earlier this spring to bring the project to Royal Center.

Third-grade teachers at Pioneer called the dictionaries “a perfect tool” for developing students’ independence in accessing information. Kim Schroder, who’s taught for almost 20 years, said she’s most recently been having students look up words in her classroom dictionaries to learn about states of matter — solids, liquids and gases.

“As they’re reading, we’ve worked on having to look up words on their own so they can find out the meanings,” said Schroder. Students use both physical dictionaries and the digital one on her interactive whiteboard, but during small group projects the physical dictionaries are ideal.

Average students in their formative years learn about 3,000 new words per year, or about 8 per day, according to The Dictionary Project, with which Lions Clubs International has partnered for the dictionary donations.

One of Schroder’s students, 9-year-old Kwintin Heiny of Logansport, said his favorite word he’s learned recently is “condensation.” Kiera’s is “evaporation,” she said.

School librarian Mary Lou Rutledge said that with the Lions’ donation this week, all students in third through fifth grades now have access to one dictionary per student in their classrooms — and that should help with learning to alphabetize as well as expand students’ vocabulary.

“We have them look in dictionaries all the time,” Rutledge added, “so they know how to spell the words, pronounce them, where to put the emphasis.” That’s more than a computer spell-check program provides, she pointed out.

“I think the sooner they start, the better they are. That way they get used to it before they get too far into computers.”

And giving each student his or her own dictionary makes it more likely that students will take the initiative to look up words, said Pioneer Elementary principal Beth Dean.

Lions Clubs International has donated almost 286,000 books since first partnering with The Dictionary Project in 2002. During a local project’s first year, Lions Clubs International covers the cost of the dictionaries, then for every year after, a local Lions club buys dictionaries by the case to give to new third-graders. A case of 24 student dictionaries costs a local Lions club $30, Shank said.

“As far as the cost goes, even when we start paying for them, the cost is going to be reasonable,” he said. And its return, he added, will be valuable to the students.

The 22-member Lucerne Lions intend to contact other local Lions clubs to explore a joint donation next year, Shank said.

Frewsburg Lions Learn About Butterfly Moms Group

At the recent meeting of the Frewsburg Lions Club, Jon Anderson, program chair for the evening, introduced Torie Swanson of Frewsburg.

Swanson was invited to talk about an organization known as “Butterfly Moms,” a group of mothers who have experienced the tragic loss of a child. Swanson talked about her own experience with initial grief, her ultimate connections with mothers suffering a similar loss, and her initiative to organize this unique support group.

The group meets at Zion Lutheran Church on the third Saturday of each month at 10 a.m.

Torie Swanson spoke at a recent Frewsburg Lions meeting about the group “Butterfly Moms” which is for mothers who have experienced the loss of a child. Welcoming her were Jon Anderson, program chair, left, and Gary Wells, Lions president.

Following Swanson’s talk, Lion President Gary Wells gave a brief overview of Lions commitment to community service. Jon Anderson then presented Swanson with a certificate of appreciation for her service to the community and also a candle centerpiece as a remembrance of her example of community service embraced by Lions Clubs international.

In the business meeting, Mike Wells announced that tickets for the upcoming spaghetti supper will be available at the next meeting. The supper will be on April 27. Pat Harvey reported that he has submitted more can tabs to the Kidney Dialysis Unit at WCA Hospital. The total that the club has collected is now 990 pounds. The Leo Club and the Lions Club are taking part in the Pennies for Paws campaign for the Humane Society.

Members voted to approve three delegates to the state convention in Buffalo. They are Don Dove, Danielle O’Connor and Gary Wells. Jerry Eklund gave an update on construction developments at The Relief Zone, which the Lions have supported.

Past President Tom Swanson read the proposed slate of officers for 2013-14. Members voted unanimously to elect the following officers: President – Robin Schroeder; first vice president – Danielle O’Connor; second vice president – Robert Anderson; secretary – Robert Sandberg; treasurer – Norma Eklund; membership chair – Robert Sandberg; financial secretary – Dennis Williams, tail twister – Wendell Berg; Lion tamer – Jerry Eklund; Directors: one year – John Gatgen and Randy Sherrick, two years – Thomas Holland and Dave Miller.

The next meeting will be Monday in the Frewsburg Central School community room.

Thanks to the efforts of 3 local Lions Clubs, deaf 11-month-old will receive new hearing aids

Written by Amy Bowen

Thanks to the efforts of 3 local Lions Clubs, deaf 11-month-old will receive new hearing aidsAbigail Voight snuggles with her grandpa. She laughs with her dad and cries when her mom leaves the room.

But the 11-month-old is overcoming what could have been a major setback. Voight was born with a severe hearing loss, and needs to use hearing aids.

Her parents, Stacy and Jeremy Voight, are extremely grateful for some much-needed help they got recently from three Lions Clubs. The St. Cloud, Metro and Southside Lions worked together to give $3,000 toward the purchase of Abigail’s hearing aids.

“I can’t even express how grateful we are and how amazing they are,” said Stacy Voight of St. Cloud. “We’re definitely going to pay it forward.”

They were given a check this week toward the new devices. The aids will cost $3,600 at Minnesota Lions Children’s Hearing and Ear, Nose, Throat Clinic at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital. Abigail receives her care at the Minneapolis clinic.

Abigail was born April 13, 2012, at St. Cloud Hospital. Her hearing loss was discovered shortly after birth. Her parents had no idea that she was deaf.

The family’s medical insurance doesn’t cover hearing aids, Stacy Voight said. Abigail needed hearing aids soon after birth to help her development. She would have not have been able to talk without them.

The cost of the hearing aids would have wiped out the Voights. One doctor’s office even handed the family a bank loan application.

“It’s seen as cosmetic (by insurance companies),” Stacy Voight said. “It’s a luxury to hear. They can get by with sign language.”

Stacy Voight heard about the Lions’ mission of helping with hearing and sight issues. She wrote an email, which found its way to Bob Seitz, hearing chairman of the St. Cloud Lions.

That club annually helps about five people with hearing aids and 20 with glasses. Seitz contacted the two other St. Cloud clubs about contributing.

Donation requests are granted based on financial hardships, Seitz said. The Voight family needed the hearing aids right away, while keeping up with other bills. The additional expense would have been difficult to absorb. Representatives from the three clubs met Abigail and her family. The little girl is currently wearing hearing aids on loan from the Minnesota Lions Hearing Aid Loaner Program.

The club members were taken with Abigail’s dimples and cheerful personality.

“She stole my heart,” Seitz said. “I’m just so happy. This makes me feel good. Our work pays off.”

The hearing aids should last three years. The Voights can now save to cover the upcoming cost. They are also investigating cochlear implants, surgical devices that help the deaf hear.

“We are giving her the opportunity to function as you and I,” Stacy Voight said. “She would be back years (in development) if she didn’t have the hearing aids.”

Lions Charity Burns Supper raises Marie Curie cash

Lions Charity Burns Supper raises Marie Curie cash Marie Curie Cancer Care has £450 to put to good use thanks to the generosity of everyone who attended the South Ayrshire Councillors’ Annual Charity Burns Supper 2013.

The event was Chaired by Councillor Ian Cavana, with the Immortal Memory delivered by Reverend David Gemmell, the Toast to the Lassies by Reverend Kenneth Elliot and the Reply by Reverend Fiona Ross recited To a Mouse.

It was a fun, informal and relaxed evening celebrating the Bard where Councillor Alec Oattes delivered the Toast to the Haggis and Councillor Bill Grant.

Councillor Sandra Goldie who helped organise the event said: “It was a great evening which has raised £450 for Marie Curie Cancer Care which I know will be put to very good use. I would like to thank everyone who made the evening such a success and helped us raise funds for such a worthy charity.”

Lions Club Message in a bottle program could help save people’s lives

By Eoin English
Irish Examiner Reporter

A new free scheme to help elderly and vulnerable people is being rolled out to thousands of homes across south county Cork.

And it is hoped that with the backing of the country’s Lions Club network, it will be expanded nationwide.

The Carrigaline and District Lions Club has introduced the “Message in a Bottle” emergency information scheme in its area.

Certain people in the catchment area have been identified for inclusion.

Lions Club members are visiting homes to ask the individuals to fill out a special form designed to help emergency service workers who may have to call.

It includes the person’s photograph, their health and medical history, a list of medication they’re on, an emergency or family contact, and their GP’s details.

It can also contain personal information such as whether the person has a pet which may need care if the person is facing an extended period in hospital.

The form is then placed in a special branded bottle which will be stored in their fridge.

Lions Club members will then place a special sticker inside the front door of the person’s home to signal that they are part of the scheme.

It is designed to give emergency service workers, especially paramedics, vital information about the person which could help them decide the course of treatment that may be needed.

The project, which began in Britain, has been backed by the National Ambulance Service here.

Carrigaline and District Lions Club member James O’Sullivan said several Lions clubs in Cork and nationwide have signed up to participate in the scheme.

“By telling whether you have special medication or allergies or not, is a potential lifesaver and provides peace of mind to users and their friends and families,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

It is being supported in Carrigaline by Jansen Pharmaceuticals, community gardaí, the HSE, local senior citizens centres, the St Vincent de Paul, Red Cross, and the Order of Malta.

Ontario Lions clubs to celebrate their efforts

Who let the Lions loose in Cambridge last weekend? More than 500 Lions, representing 54 clubs within District A-15, southwest and central Ontario, held their annual convention at the Holiday Inn.

Sponsored by the Galt-Cambridge Lions Club, members celebrated their successes of helping others, while planning for major worldwide projects of the future. Their challenge for the year is “Dare to Dream in 2013”.

Dr. Daniel Ayim, a past-president of the Galt-Cambridge Club and now the district governor, accompanied by his wife Afua, hosted the large convention.

The keynote banquet speaker, Marvin Chambers, from Fillmore, Sask., is a director of the International Association of Lions Clubs. He is the only Canadian on the 34-member board.

“It doesn’t matter where you live,” said Chambers, “you can contribute along with other men and women to help in our many projects to assist the blind, the hard of hearing, the sick and the needy.”

He joked about his home community of Fillmore by saying, “There are 278 people living in Fillmore right now, and when my wife Lynne and I get home, there will be 280 people there.”

Mayor Doug Craig addressed the gathering at a luncheon and praised the Galt-Cambridge Lions Club for assisting many local groups, from children with vision problems to seniors with special needs. He stressed appreciation from the city and its citizens for the $265,000 the local club has donated to Cambridge Memorial Hospital.

Delegates were amazed with the professional skill and quality of eight-minute speeches given by several district young people who have won honours in the Lions Club’s public speaking contests. Some of the students spoke in French.

One of the Lions’ major projects is supplying dog guides through the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides program. More than 2,000 dogs have been matched with people with vision impairment, the deaf and hard of hearing, epilepsy, autism and diabetic conditions.

Several recipients of the program were present with their dogs, and exhibited the great care and training of these very special animals.

Galt-Cambridge Lions Club member Don Gamble, 87, and his wife, Charlotte, were singled out for long-time service. Don has been a Lion for more than 61 years. He was a chartered member of the Granby Lions Club in Quebec, before moving to Cambridge in 1957 and transferring to the Cambridge Club.

Broadview Heights Lions Club helping postal workers with food drive

OH_Broadview_heightsBROADVIEW HEIGHTS: The Broadview Heights Lions Club and South Hills Lend-A-Hand are hoping to help the National Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” on May 12.

The food drive is the largest one-day event of its kind in the country. Area residents can participate by placing a bag of non-perishable food by their mailbox or dropping off a bag of non-perishable food at either Broadview Heights fire station (3591 Wallings Road or 9455 Broadview Road).

All of the food collected in Broadview Heights and Brecksville will be delivered to the South Hills Lend-A-Hand Program to help people in Broadview Heights, Brecksville, Seven Hills and Independence.

To volunteer, meet the Lions behind the Broadview Heights Post Office at 3 p.m. May 12. To make a tax deductible monetary donation, make checks payable to the South Hills Lend-A-Hand and mail to: South Hills Lend-A-Hand, PO Box 470972, Broadview Heights, OH, 44147.

For more information contact Ken Marshall at (440) 552-7713.

Lions Club, vision van at North today to make sure students see clearly

By Sarah Campbell


CHINA GROVE — If students at South and North Rowan high schools weren’t already seeing clearly, they will be soon.

Members of the Salisbury Lions Club used the vision van, a traveling clinic equipped with the tools needed to test eyesight, to check the visual acuity of more than 150 students at South on Thursday.

Today, the vision van will roll over to North, where Lions Club members will provide vision screenings for the school’s freshman class.

Bryan Hoover is site coordinator for the vision van, which travels throughout the state. He said the Lions Club’s motto of “We Serve” is reflected in clubs across the state providing vision screenings at about 150 sites each year.

“We are trying to serve the public by doing this,” he said.

Hoover said the vision van has conducted more than 100,000 screenings since it hit the road in 1999.

Although 90 percent of those screenings were done in a community setting, the remaining 10 percent have been at schools.

“Most kids, if they have had a visual impairment since they were born, they don’t realize that they should be seeing any better,” Hoover said. “They have a really hard time learning in school if they can’t see clearly, so our goal is to help find those kids and try to get them the assistance they need to see better.”

Kady Samples, a student at South, said Thursday’s screening gave her a bit of peace of mind.

“I haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while, so it’s good to know my eyes are OK,” she said. “It’s really nice of (the Lions Club) to do this for us.”

Michael Childress, a sophomore, said he’s always had good vision, but he didn’t mind double-checking Thursday.

“It’s pretty cool they are here helping out,” he said.

Wayne Kennerly, a Salisbury Lions Club member, laughed with students Thursday before conducting their vision screenings. He’s been helping with the screenings for years.

“It’s good because we can help catch those kids who can’t see well and help get glasses for them,” he said.

Lori Swaim, another Salisbury Lions Club member, said she enjoys doing the screenings.

“They can help us detect some problems that they might not know about, so I think it’s very important,” she said. “In fact, I think it’s one of the most important things that we do.”

Vicky Slusser, executive director of Communities in Schools of Rowan County, said she contacted the Salisbury Lions Club for help with the screenings after the site coordinators at South and North indicated a need to get their students’ eyes checked out.

She said the club picked up the $130-per-day fee to have the vision van at each school.

“I was put in touch with their president, and then from there it was kind of just a chain reaction,” Slusser said.

Students who need to see an optometrist but don’t have insurance or Medicaid will receive a voucher provided through a partnership between Communities in Schools and Sight for Students.

“That provides them with one vision screening plus a pair of glasses,” Slusser said.

Slusser said vision and dental screenings have been on the student needs list all year, and she wanted to make sure at least one of those were met before the semester ends.

“If they are not able to see to read, they are not able to do their school work, and that’s going to be vital when they start doing end of the year testing,” she said.

Slusser said she’s still hoping to get dental screenings done, but hasn’t found an avenue to make it happen. She said poor dental health could prevent students from coming to school because of pain from decay or embarrassment because of missing teeth.


ArborGen partners with Lions Club

Arbor_Gen_Lions_ClubArborGen, a world leader in the development and commercialization of technologies that improve the productivity of trees for wood, fiber and energy, has partnered with The Summerville Noon Lions Club, District 32-B and donated 100 pine seedlings for the Azalea Park in Summerville, SC. The seedlings will be planted during the town’s annual Flowertown Festival on March 30th. ArborGen recently moved its corporate offices to Ridgeville, but it maintains strong ties with the Summerville community, which was home to the company for over ten years.

“Summerville is known as ‘Flowertown in the Pines’ and has been named a Tree Town USA for 30 consecutive years. Recently, Dr. Tam, Lions Club International president, challenged Lions Club worldwide to plant one million trees to help turn around our environment, and I in turn have challenged our 34 clubs to plant a total of 250 trees,” said District Governor George Jenkins of Lions Club District 32B. “Partnering with ArborGen has been a true pleasure and we are thrilled to plant these 100 pine seedlings in Azalea Park in time for the annual Flowertown Festival which draws about 200,000 visitors each year. Since the Lions motto is ‘We Serve,’ volunteering within our community is very important to the Lions Club, so it’s great to work with another local organization in serving our community.”

The Lions Club is the global leader in humanitarian services, with more than 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs in 206 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world.

“The Lions Club is one of the most well respected organizations in the world, serving and volunteering in hospitals and senior centers, in regions battered by natural disaster, in schools and eyeglass recycling centers, working hands on to make our communities and world a better place,” said Nancy M. Hood, director of public affairs and sustainability of 2011 Broadbank Court Ridgeville, South Carolina 29472 ArborGen.

“We were thrilled to team up with The Lions Club by donating these seedlings to ensure there will always be greenery in the ‘Flower Town in the Pines’.” Starting in 1972, the town of Summerville has hosted the annual Flowertown Festival. It is held the first weekend of April in the Summerville Azalea Park, this year it will be occur from March 30-April 1, 2012.

This nationally acclaimed festival is South Carolina’s largest Arts & Crafts festival and has been named one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. This family-oriented 3-day event is a fundraising event for the Summerville Family YMCA and is held each spring set against the backdrop of blooming azaleas in Azalea Park. In 1925, Summerville’s Chamber of Commerce adopted the slogan “Flower Town in the Pines” because of the abundance of azaleas in the town.

Pine trees are one of the most valuable and versatile commercial trees because they are a source of wood, fiber and energy and they are grown across a wide range of soil types and geographies. The Southeastern United States is the largest market for planted trees in the United States and pine is the most widely planted species for commercial applications. The Pine species most commonly used for commercial purposes in the Southeastern United States are Loblolly Pine (pinus taeda), Slash Pine (pinus elliottii) and Longleaf Pine (pinus palustris).