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 www.arborgen.com 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).

Lemont Lions give local girl new look on life

Lemont, IL —

Lemont_Lions_clubAt 5 years old, Lemont resident Madison Wesolowski is fighting to hold on to her vision.

“She has been through about 28 surgeries on her eyes and has been declared legally blind in her right eye,” said her mother, Carlene Wesolowski. “She had her first pair of contact lenses when she was a baby.”

When Madison was just three months old her older brother told mom and dad he noticed something floating in her eye. It looked like a piece of popcorn, he told them.

So dad Bruce and Carlene took Madison to see a doctor, who eventually determined she had cataracts — a condition typically found in older people that causes a clouding of the eye lens — along with glaucoma, another eye condition that leads to damage to the eye’s optic nerve.

Trying times for sure, for the Wesolowskis.

Luckily, they Lemont family was able to reach out to an old friend. That friend is Ken Novak, who spends some of his time volunteering with the Lemont Lions Club. The Lions Club is an international club that “empowers volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.”

But the club, which has 46,000 branches across the world and is head-quartered in nearby Oak Brook, is popularly known for its work to help the vision-impaired.

Novak and the Lemont Lions have stepped up for the Wesolowskis by purchasing eye glasses for Madison — she needs new prescription glasses every three to six months. The Lemont Lions are also trying to raise money to provide Madison with an iPad, which has an easy-to-read large screen for her.

“I have known Ken forever,” Carlene said, adding that she grew up with him in Lemont. “Ken introduced us to the Lions Club. They have been her rock.”

The Lemont Lions have been a rock. That’s shown through their 50 years of existence — on March 29 the club will celebrate its 50th anniversary — it was chartered in June 1962 — with a celebration at Crystal Hall Banquets, 12416 Archer Ave. in Lemont.

But it hasn’t always been easy for the Lemont Lions. The club disbanded four times, only to re-organize each time. The club now has 75 members and is running strong, Novak said.

While the Lions Club formed in 1917, it wasn’t until 1925 that the club established its vision to help the sight-impaired. That year, famous author and activist Helen Keller addressed the Lions Club at a convention, convincing the club to take on the cause, Novak said.

Since, though, Lions Clubs across the world have picked up other causes, including the hearing-impaired.

Doug Wright, Lemont resident and a six-year member of the Lemont Lions Club, said the Lions are there for whatever people need.

“We are the best kept secret around,” Wright said.

The Lemont Lions Club has done everything from helping at disaster sites, aiding in Habitat for Humanity, donating large print books to the Lemont Public Library and helping out with Lemont Police Department programs such as DARE and Seniors And Law Enforcement Together.

For more than 20 years, Novak has been a member of the Lemont Lions Club. His family was always involved with activities in Lemont, as his mother was involved with the VFW Ladies Auxiliary.

“I started to do my family tree and found I had relatives with visual problems and thought the Lions were the best to join,” Novak said. “It meant something to me to help those who are visually or hearing impaired.”

Throughout his time as a Lions Club member, Novak said he has continued to come back each year because he can see the difference he is making in people’s lives.

“As you go along you get the tug on the heart strings when you see you are making a difference,” Novak said.

Lemont resident Paul Butt said he joined the Lions Club just recently because he wanted to keep the family tradition of being a Lion going. Butt’s father was a Lion for 40 years.

“I got to a point where (I said to my wife) what are we going to do, sit at home or get out and get involved?” Butt said. “I joined because I felt it was time to give back.”

Wright said before joining he had a “moment of clarity” where he looked around and was thankful for the healthy family and normal life he was living but knew there were others who weren’t living picture-perfect lives.

“I needed to give something back,” Wright said. “I truly do feel blessed to have a healthy and normal life and there are so many that are not. When you realize that you can do something to ease that burden, we don’t have a choice we have to help if we can.”

“The good thing about the Lions is that we are always doing something as a fundraiser and every penny goes back to the community,” Wright said. “We do so much stuff we are always poised for the next need.”

Novak said with the help of the Lions Club, it has been amazing to see the improvements in Madison’s vision from birth.

“I look where she was from birth and where should would have been today, just the quality of life we give, that’s what we do,” Novak said.

Lions Club eye programs help needy see a better future

AUBURN CA – For nearly 100 years, the Lions Clubs International has worked on projects designed to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eyecare for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Closer to home, its program for helping needy people in obtaining prescription eyeglasses plays a low-key role in helping give many the gift of better sight during tough economic times for some.

Individual clubs have their own programs and some are seeing an increase in need as jobless numbers have swelled while other clubs are not.

The Auburn 49er Lions club averaged 18 referrals a year in 2009 and 2010 but that increased to 25 in 2011, said eyeglasses coordinator Kelly Post. This month, there have been seven calls for glasses.

Post said that a number of reasons could be responsible for the increase. Until two years ago, Medi-Cal’s welfare medical program paid for eye exams and glasses. Now it pays for just the eye exams, she said.

Some of the calls could be attributed to an increase in word of mouth among people needing eyeglass assistance. Others are coming because of referrals from groups assisting the poor like Hope, Help and Healing and The Gathering Inn, Post said.

“More people are homeless, more are out of a job,” Post said. “And there are more parolees.”

At the Loomis Lions Club, Vision Assistance Chair

 

No spike in Loomis

Jack Morris said the group has handled four aid requests since July, with one of the callers finding another way to replace their broken frames.

In Auburn, the Host Lions group had fielded six requests since the end of December – which is depleting the limited amount of referrals that the Lions can send to an optometrist, said eyeglass chairman Dennis Lloyd. The group has the ability to handle about 20 referrals a year, he said.

Dr. Mark Starr, county Health & Human Services deputy director, said Placer has not had an eyeglass program for the needy but will steer them in the direction of the Lions on an informal basis. The county will provide emergency medical eyecare but doesn’t provide eyeware, Starr said.

Lloyd said the number of requests seemed to be linked to an increase in referrals from the county.

“We can handle a limited number of people but we’re not part of the welfare system,” Lloyd said.

Morris said that many Loomis Club members felt a worsening economy and lack of jobs would result in a substantial increase in requests for vision assistance. But there has been no spike in requests. The Loomis Lions normally handle three or four a year, he said.

One of the recent requests had been forwarded by another Lions Club and another by a welfare-related organization, Morris said.

Morris said that different communities have different rates of awareness on the Lions vision program and that could have something to do with a lack of increased demand.

“I think there are many needy persons but I’m thinking they have other ways – paying for them themselves or with insurance, for instance,” Morris said.

He added that the granting of funds for an exam and new glasses – which averaged $190 last year – is not automatic. The club needs to confirm the person’s identification and then move forward on an eye exam. If the optometrist says glasses are required, Morris can authorize the purchase.

“After that, there are no further requirements – they don’t need to come and talk to the club,” Morris said. “But most of them find a way to send us a card.”

The Lions have gained worldwide recognition for their work to improve sight and prevent blindness. That work includes recycling eyeglasses, supporting Lions Eye Banks that provide eye tissue for sight-saving surgeries, and screening the vision of hundreds of thousands of people every year.

The effort goes back to 1925, when Helen Keller called on the Lions organization to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”

“It’s a very rewarding thing and we Lions are proud of it,” Morris said.

Lions Club donating Goshen land for library, park

What had become a burden for one Oldham group could become a boon for several others.

The North Oldham Lions Club is weeks away from finalizing its donation of Belknap Community Park in Goshen to the Oldham County Public Library and Oldham County Parks and Recreation.

Everyone involved envisions the park playing an important role in each group’s future: for the library, it will be the site for the soon-to-be second-largest branch in the county; for the parks department, it will be a new foothold in that part of the county; and for the Lions Club, it will be a place where the community can still gather while the club refocuses on its mission.

Nearby residents likely will see some changes soon to the land, with others following over the next few years.

“We haven’t had, as a county, a park in North Oldham,” said Oldham Judge-Executive David Voegele. “I hope to make a wow statement” with what it will become.

Oldham County Public Library officials, similarly, hope to bring something different to the area.

“We want to do something really spectacular,” said Susan Eubank, library director.

Lions Club involvement

The North Oldham Lions Club announced its plans in July to donate the 25-acre park on U.S. 42 near Ky. 1793 to the library and parks department.

The land was given to the club in 1971 by Edith Mary Clarke Belknap in memory of her deceased husband, William B. Belknap.

But in recent years it had become an “albatross,” said Joyce Fletcher, president of the North Oldham Lions Club. It was expensive for the club to maintain and almost ended the group.

Giving up the land will allow the club “to get out from underneath the financial burden that almost destroyed us a couple of times,” said attorney Galen Clark, the club’s secretary.

The club mulled a few options for the land, including selling or developing it, they said.

Then they were approached by library and parks officials and ultimately decided to give 6 acres to the library and 18 to the parks department.

These uses also complement the Belknaps, who had intended for the land to remain a park and were involved in the county’s first bookmobiles, Fletcher said.

The land is being donated at no cost, but the club has requested that it receive a gift in kind that could be used in its charities, she said.

“We felt this was a really nice marriage,” Fletcher added.

The club, which has about 30 members, will still be able to use the small building on the property for meetings and the park for fundraising.

It also will be able to focus more on its other charities, including the charities for blind and visually impaired people that Lions Clubs typically help.

“This constant fundraising to keep the park open has been a burden to members for years, and we lost members,” Clark said. “We now may get some of these people back.”

New library branch

The land donation will allow the county library to move out of its branch at the nearby Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, Eubank said.

The Goshen branch will go from 3,185 square feet to at least 15,000 square feet, making the branch the second largest in the county, after the main branch in La Grange.

“This fell into our lap, and I just can’t express to the North Oldham Lions what a wonderful gift this is,” Eubank said.

The branch started at Creasey Mahan 32 years ago as a small lending library in a former dairy barn.

“The library just grew in such popularity, and people in that area were asking for so much more that eventually we took over the upstairs as well,” Eubank said.

The branch is not handicapped-accessible. And a few years ago in the midst of the recession, Creasey Mahan asked the library to start paying rent, which it has, she said.

“It’s a charming library, and certainly it’s well-loved,” Eubank said. “But really it has ceased to provide everything that the Goshen/Prospect area needs.”

The new branch likely will be adjacent to U.S. 42 on the park property and will provide a meeting area for that part of the county, she said.

“That is something we desperately need in the Goshen area,” Clark said.

It also will likely have an area for people with visual disabilities in honor of the Lions Clubs’ work in this area. This will include a special bank of computers and several books on tape and in Braille, Eubank said.

The branch also will include lots of light and “some of the newest and more exciting features that libraries are being built with now,” like movable shelves and a self check-out, she said.

The branch likely will cost $5.2 million to $5.4 million. Eubank has applied for a state library construction grant, which also helped officials build the main branch.

But the grants require a state budget appropriation of $2 million next fiscal year and $4 million the following year. Without the grant, Eubank said she doesn’t know if the library can be built.

“There are a lot of people in that area who are really, really excited about this library,” she said.

New county park

Parks officials intend for the park to remain “passive,” meaning that the focus will be on the open space and enjoying nature, such as through bike and walking trails.

But just because it’s passive, that doesn’t mean that changes won’t be made, said Tim Curtis, parks director.

One of the first tasks to tackle with the park, which will be the seventh for the county, will be completing a master plan, identifying possible additions and areas for improvement, he said.

He would like to pave the walking trail and upgrade and add more playground equipment.

“There are a lot of things we can do to spruce it up, really,” he said.

Curtis hopes that the Goshen and Prospect area takes ownership of the park.

“That side of the county has been where we’re mainly lacking” in park land, he said. “It should be a nice asset for the people of the county.”

What’s next

Oldham Fiscal Court unanimously voted Dec. 20 for Voegele to sign the closing documents to transfer of the property to the county.

Fletcher hopes to have the property turned over by the end of January.

Shortly thereafter, residents will likely notice the park being mowed more often, Curtis said. Mowing was a task the Lions Club struggled with completing on a regular basis, Clark said.

The parks department likely will wait until July, when next fiscal year’s budget starts, before making large purchases. But new playground equipment should be added in 2012, Curtis said.

Voegele and Curtis also intend to reach out to the community, asking groups to donate money for equipment, and include plaques, identifying donors, next to each piece.

Building a new library branch will take longer.

At the earliest and if funding is secured, construction could start in spring 2013 with the branch opening by the end of that year, Eubank said.

In the meantime, the Lions Club will identify new local charities to support, Fletcher said.

“We’ll be able to function as a thriving Lions Club and do more charitable giving,” she said. “In order for us to remain viable, it’s really important for us to have the support of the community.”

Laurel Lions clawing to keep up fundraising efforts

by Holly Nunn, Staff Writer

laurel LionsThe 525 trees in the parking lot of Laurel Mall represent 525 families’ holiday cheer, said Phil Ault, a member of the Laurel Lions Club.

“When I sell a tree, that’s someone’s Christmas,” Ault said. “It’s the thing that’s going to make their Christmas happy.”

But the trees also represent the biggest source of income for the service club, which donates to causes like high school scholarships, medical bill assistance, and eye care and food for the homeless. The amount of money the club raises from the sale has significantly decreased in recent years, losing out to the economy and the appeal of artificial trees, said Ault of North Laurel.

The Laurel Lions Club has been raising funds for the community for almost 80 years, and selling trees, shipped from Pennsylvania and Canada, for 54 years.

“Back in the day, we used to order 1,200 trees. We’d make up to $40,000,” Ault said. “We keep decreasing the amount of trees we order. But last year we still had 30 surplus trees.”

Ault said this year the club ordered 525 trees, down from 675 last year. Ault said that with the economy, they felt that was all they could sell. The lot opened Nov. 26 and by the weekend of Dec. 10, the club had raised $6,000. Ault said the club hopes to make about $5,000 more with the 100 trees left.

Prices on the fir, spruce and pine trees, which are sold in the Laurel Mall parking lot, range from $29 to $45, with a few 9- to 13-foot trees at $85. The club has held its prices steady over the last few years, Ault said, to continue to make a profit.

On Saturday, Ault helped West Laurel residents Nancy and Wilson Shaffer tie a 7-foot Fraser fir to the top of their van. The Shaffers have been coming to the Laurel Lions for their Christmas tree for more than 20 years, Nancy said, and they don’t mind paying a little extra for a good cause.

“They do so much for the community, and they’re so nice and helpful,” she said.

The Laurel Lions Club is one of 46,000 local clubs that make up Lions Clubs International, a service organization founded by Chicago businessmen in 1917. The clubs, which include men and women interested in community service, focus on raising funds and donating community improvement efforts.

The money from the fundraiser, supplemented by other fundraisers the club holds, including a car show in September, goes toward efforts like this year’s Santa with a Badge event, a shopping trip with police for students in need; support of clinical and research work with The Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins; and Lions Club Camp Merrick in Charles County.

The camp, which is not affiliated with the club outside of funding, is an independent nonprofit for blind, deaf or diabetic children, and since 1979 has been supported primarily through donations from Lions Clubs in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. It has been hit hard in recent years by reduced fundraising, camp President Wayne Magoon said.

“A lot of our issues are recession-based,” Magoon said. “People just can’t donate like they used to.”

Laurel’s club isn’t alone in its service struggles.

Getting more people to volunteer is the biggest problem facing College Park’s Lions Club, club President Ronald Seibel said. He said they stopped selling trees about 10 years ago, because members are older and can’t handle the trees anymore.

“Membership is a constant problem,” said Seibel of Adelphi, who worked for 30 years at the University of Maryland, College Park. “We’re having trouble securing new members from the younger generation. I think it’s the time commitment.”

Seibel’s 31-member club has only five members who are still in the work force.

Laurel’s club still has about 40 dues-paying members, and 90 percent still are working, but only about 20 actively volunteer, Ault said.

Ault’s father, Donald Ault, was a lifetime Lions member, and Phil Ault said he grew up going to Lions events.

“Back then, it was a privilege to be in the Lions. You had to be invited,” Ault said. “Now, we have to recruit people.”

The club has tried lowering dues and easing up on traditionally stringent rules that required attendance at meetings to try to lure more members. The Laurel club has held membership dinners, inviting people to see what the club is about and encouraging them to join — but to no avail, the club presidents said.

Both Ault and Seibel said they have to spread out their funds more than they used to, giving less to each of the efforts they support.

“I think we do a tremendous amount of service for what we have to work with,” Seibel said. “But if we get to the point where we can’t give to the community, well, there’s a whole lot of resources that won’t be there.”

The Los Angeles Maharlika Lions Club: Bringing a brighter future to Kababayans in the PH

By: Cynthia De Castro | AJPress Los Angeles

Los Angeles Maharlika Lions Club: Bringing a brighter future to Kababayans in the PH In 1917, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader named Melvin Jones asked a simple and world-changing question—what if people put their talents to work improving their communities?  He then challenged other business leaders to serve their community and founded the Lions Club. Today, almost 100 years later, Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.35 million members in more than 45,000 clubs serving in over 206 countries and geographic areas.

Lions Club is best known for fighting blindness—it’s part of its history as well as its work today. This came about when in its early years, the Lions Clubs invited famous blind author and speaker Helen Keller to address their International Convention. She challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” Since then, Lions Clubs around the world have worked tirelessly to aid the blind and visually impaired. In 1990, it launched SightFirst, a program that is restoring sight and preventing blindness on a global scale.

But Lions did not limit its help to the blind. It has volunteered for many different kinds of community projects—including caring for the environment, feeding the hungry, aiding seniors and the disabled, supporting children and young people through scholarships, recreation and mentoring and helping communities following natural disasters by providing for immediate needs such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies—and aiding in long-term reconstruction.

One of the most active Lions Clubs is the Los Angeles Maharlika Lions Club, made up of our kababayans in LA.

Chartered in 1999, the Los Angeles Maharlika Lions Club was organized by Charter President and now District Governor Joel Pastor, Charter Secretary and Past President Dr. Teri Pastor, Past President Dr. Kirk Dizon, Chit Dizon, Cynthia Briones, and Butch Bandong.

The club had 40 Charter Members and held its first Installation of Officers and Induction of Members at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles in 1999.

In line with the Lions Club’s vision of helping eradicate blindness, LA Maharlika Lions Club’s main focus is to organize and send medical missions to the Philippines concentrating on conducting vision screenings, delivering free cataract surgeries with intraocular lens implants and giving prescription eyeglasses to our impoverished kababayans.

Like many new organizations, the LA Maharlika Lions Club went through the usual growing pains in its early years. But because of the perseverance and tenacity of the leaders and the members, the club achieved one of the highest accolades that a Lions Club can achieve.

Through the past few years, there was a boost in the membership. Dynamic, new leaders joined the club, eager to be one in serving our community both here and back home in the Philippines.

The current President of the Club is another dynamic leader, Boy Lizaso, who took on the office last July 1, 2011. For the past 40 years, Boy Lizaso has been a respected figure in the LA fashion and entertainment industry, being a successful producer and director of many special shows and events and a well-known fashion designer.

During his term as president, Lizaso has been able to lead the LA Maharlika Lions Club into the number 1 slot in the Southern California District (District 4L3). “We are proud to say that currently, during my presidency, we are no. 1 among 65 Lion Clubs in the district.  In the entire state of California, we have the biggest number of membership growth and the highest amount of funds raised during our induction ball,” said Boy.

The other officers of the Club currently serving along with Lizaso are 1st Vice President  Marvin Baroquillo,2nd VP Wilder Ynoquio,  3rd VP Joe Lagman, Lion Secretary Marissa Dela Fuente-Du, Lion Treasurer Ellen Abejuela M.D., Lion Auditor Susan Aquino M.D.,

Lion Tamer Dado Fabro, Lion Twister Ruben Lagman, Membership Chairwoman Teri Pastor M.D., Immediate Past President Sam Aquino M.D.,Membership Board Irene Igual  M.D. and Membership Board Lisa Santos-Cadano.

The current District Governor is Joel Pastor who is the Charter Founder along with his wife, Past President Teri Pastor, MD. The district secretary is Normajean  Eustaquio.

The LA Maharlika has sent Medical Missions to the various regions of the Philippines such as Batangas, Romblon, Tarlac, Pampanga, Ilocos Norte and Bacolod.

Every year, the club has sent between 8,000 to 10,000 pairs of eyeglasses for people of all ages back home. This year, 15,000 pairs of eyeglasses were sent to Batangas and Cavite for distribution.

The very first Eye Center in Southern Luzon will be constructed in Batangas City through the generosity of Atty. Tony Pastor, the uncle of District Governor Joel Pastor. This was after Atty. Pastor saw his nephew Joel’s dedication to the Lions’ goal of eliminating preventable blindness worldwide.

The club has conducted the following service programs: the Annual Eye Medical Mission to Indigent Areas in Philippines, Feed the Homeless and Adopt a School thru ABS-CBN Foundation Kapamilya Program.

“It has been said that whenever a Lions Club gets together, problems get smaller. And communities get better. That’s because we help where help is needed—in our own communities and around the world—with unmatched integrity and energy,” said LA Maharlika Lions Club Founder Joel Pastor.

President Boy Lizaso definitely agrees as he reiterates, “The motto of LCI is “We Serve.” And that’s why we are doing our best to help our kababayans, and we will continue to do so for as long as there is a need. My own personal motto for my presidency is to “serve with style,” said Boy, the famous fashion designer who has truly done everything with style.

Lions Club organises free eye screening, surgery at Idi-Ayunre

Written by Seye Adeniyi

Lions Club organises free eye screening, surgery at Idi-Ayunre Over 3,000 people in Idi-Ayunre community in Oluyole Local Government Area of Oyo State, recently benefitted from the free eye test carried out by the International Association of Lions Club, District 404B Nigeria, while over 5,000 people from nearby communities also converged at Idi-Ayunre to participate in the eye screening and the distribution of eye glasses to people with sight problem in the community.

The beneficiaries have, however, tasked Community News to encourage other humanitarian organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to borrow a leaf from the kind gesture of the Lions Club International, stressing that other organisations should join hands with the government to bring succour to the people who are in need or are looking for solution to their health problems because government alone cannot shoulder the needs of the entire members of the public.

The two-day eye screening and surgery exercise  took place at Idi-Ayunre community on the 13th and 14th October, 2011, and was organised by the International Association of Lions Clubs, District 404B Nigeria in partnership with the management of the Oluyole Local Government Area, Oyo State.

In his speech, the District Governor, Lions Club International, District 404B Nigeria, Lion (Professor) Ayoade Adesokan, explained that the association decided to embark on the health to assist people with sight problem get solution to their problem, adding that it was observed that many people in the society, especially those with health problem, could not afford the increasing cost of medical treatment and as such, many of them have defect in their sight.

In his words, “there are many downtrodden in the society who could not afford the cost of simple medical treatment. In fact, many people in the society today are going blind because of poverty. Therefore, Lions Club decided to help them by embarking on this core project,” he stated.

Ayoade Adesokan also disclosed that such a free eye screening exercise had been carried out in states like Ekiti and Osun by the club, stressing that they were happy that the caretaker chairman of Oluyole Local Government Council, Prince Ayodeji Abass Aleshinloye was quick to identify with the free eye screening and distribution of eye glasses exercise.

However, over 45 Nigerians with serious visual impairment also benefitted from the free cataract surgery co-sponsored by Lion Club International, District 404B Nigeria and Oluyole Local Government in a joint collaboration with the Opthalmological Society of Nigeria, (OSN), South-West zone.

National White Cane Safety Day

White Cane DayThe Greencastle Lions and Lioness Clubs will team up Friday, Oct. 14 to raise funds for local sight projects through the White Cane Project. Members will be located at Tower Bank, Sunnyway Foods, Sunnyway Diner, Family Restaurant and Mikie’s Ice Cream throughout the day and evening.
The White Cane concept began with James Biggs, a photographer from Bristol, England.  In 1921, he became blind following an accident.  Because he was uncomfortable with the amount of traffic around his home, he painted his walking stick white to be more easily visible.  In 1930, George Bonham, president of the Peoria Lions Club in Illinois, introduced the idea of a white cane with a red band as a means of assisting the blind in independent mobility.  The Peoria Lions approved the idea.  White canes were made and distributed.  The Peoria City Council adopted an ordinance giving the bearers the right of way to cross the street.
News of the club’s activity spread quickly to other Lions Clubs throughout the United States.  Their friends, with visual handicaps, experimented with  the white canes. Overwhelming acceptance of the white cane idea by individuals, blind and sighted alike, quickly gave cane users a unique method of identifying their special needs for travel considerations among their sighted counterparts.
Today, White Cane Laws are on the books of every state in the US and many other countries, providing a person who is blind a legal status in traffic.  The white cane now universally acknowledges that the bearer is blind.
To make the American people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and the need for mororists to exercise special care for the person who carries it, on Oct. 6, 1964, the US Congress approved a resolution authorizing the President of the US to annually issue a proclamation designating Oct. 15 as National White Cane Safety Day.
The Greencastle Lions and Lioness clubs look forward to community support of this fundraiser. All donations received will be used toward local sight projects.

Blindness Awareness Month and World Sight Day, is Today Oct. 13

world-sight-dayThe Little Rock Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children who are blind or visually impaired initiated a bill into law establishing October as “Blindness Awareness Month.” Last year, Mayor Barnett proclaimed October as Blindness Awareness Month. Studies indicate that over 14,000 persons in Collier County live with blindness or significant vision loss. Although blindness and vision loss largely affects senior citizen; accident, disease, genetics and other causes can cause vision loss to persons of whatever age.

Those persons living with blindness or vision loss and their caregivers residing in Collier County and the City of Naples may now receive education, assistive technology, mobility and adaptive independent living training and a myriad of other support services locally from the only full service center in Collier County; namely –Lighthouse of Collier.

World Sight Day (WSD) is an international day of awareness, held annually on the second Thursday of October to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. World Sight Day is a day of awareness and urges the local community to observe personal eye health care and that the services of Lighthouse of Collier be made known for the assistance of the blind, vision impaired and their caregivers within Collier County and the City of Naples.

The mission of the Lighthouse of Collier is to promote the development, implementation and on-going evaluation of programs and services which foster independence and enhance the quality of life for the blind, visually impaired and their caregivers. To learn more about the Lighthouse of Collier please visit www.lighthouseofcollier.org or call 239-430-EYE4 (3934).

The Ventnor Margate Lions Club hope car show drives interest

Ventnor Car ShowVENTNOR, NJ – The local Lions Club is inviting the public to set its sights on some classic cars in order to help the visually impaired.

The Ventnor Margate Lions Club is holding its first car show noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23 in front of the Auto Zone at the Ventnor Shopping Plaza where car clubs, collectors and dealers are invited to display their vehicles.

Those showing off their rides are asked to pay a $10 donation with proceeds benefiting projects for the blind and visually impaired.

“We would like to invite anyone who has a classic or custom or just plain cool car to be a part of this show,” said King Lion Mark Hills of Ventnor. “We hope to see a lot of locals and some really great cars at the event.”

He said the cars don’t have to be new or antique to be on display, and he’s looking for owners that are willing to chat about the unique features of their ride.

Hills said the car show gives people a chance to socialize and share stories about cars and history.

“To me, that’s a big part of what goes on in these shows; passing history down, telling history of a car, telling history or having someone remember riding in one,” Hills said.

Among the cars on display will be a 1949 Chrysler Windsor convertible, which has been in the family of John Campbell of Margate since it was bought new by his uncle.

When he was 16 years old with a Pennsylvania driver’s license, Campbell, now 84, drove a 1929 Ford Model A, which was popular for a while. He said after he got out of high school, that car fell out of fashion in favor of the curves and style that followed World War II.

He said it was tough to get a new car and potential buyers would often have to entice car dealers in order to get their names put on a list. He did just that, in 1948, and put his name on a list for a new car, but after awhile he forgot about it.

At the time, Campbell worked at Haverty’s Service Station, owned by his uncles, on the corner of Franklin and Ventnor avenues.

“One day my uncle came in and said to me, ‘Hey John, you’re car’s out front.’ I said, ‘My car, what car?’ and out front was a Chrysler convertible,” said Campbell Friday, Oct. 7. “The guy said, ‘Here’s the car you ordered.’ But I didn’t have the money for it.”

He said three days later, his uncle came into the shop and asked him to check out his new 1949 Chrysler Windsor convertible, the same car that was almost Campbell’s.

“He got the car; I got drafted in the Korean War,” Campbell said with a hearty laugh.

Campbell said the car was garage kept for most of the time it was owned by his uncle until 1969 when he inherited the prized automobile.

“I used it when I was married, and on special occasions,” Campbell said of the car’s modern-day use.

Without power steering, he said it’s a bear to drive, but he was happy to take Miss New Jersey Jennifer Farrell for a victory lap around town.

Campbell’s classic is among the many that are expected to be on display in the Auto Zone parking lot of Ventnor Shopping Plaza.

The Ventnor Margate Lions Club collects eye glasses and distributes books on CDs to the visually impaired and has also raised funds for cornea transplants. The group meets the first and third Monday of each month at Fedeli’s Restaurant, 9403 Ventnor Ave., Margate.