Crosby Lions, Leos organize Rebuilding Together Houston project

By STEPHEN THOMAS

Crosby Lions, Leos organize Rebuilding Together Houston projectEvery time that Tracee Jackson leaves and returns to her Crosby home, she sees the difference that Lionism makes.

Through the Rebuilding Together Houston program, the Lions and Leos of the Crosby Lions Club coalesced dozens of volunteers who on Saturday, Oct. 15, refurbished Jackson’s Melville Drive home.

Volunteers scraped the loose green paint and replaced it with a beige coat complemented by white newly attached trim and fresh paint under the roof overhang. They also secured or replaced siding as necessary, caulked voids to seal the structure from the elements, and built a wooden front porch, complete with railings.

The team performed interior roof repairs and renovated a bathroom to make it handicapped-accessible.

This is not an exhaustive account of the post-Hurricane Ike renovation.

A 20-year resident, Jackson was away during some of the volunteers’ work, which was carried out under the auspices of the Rebuilding program, a community outreach organization that repairs and renovates homes at no cost to the qualifying need-based homeowners.

When the homeowner returned, she picked up a paint brush and helped.

Having worked side-by-side with volunteers, Jackson insisted that she be called upon to volunteer on the next project, which would improve someone else’s home.

She could not believe the impact of Lionism and the broader display of community service. Upon examining the work, all Jackson knew was that these volunteers were good people; they were her kind of people.

“It overwhelmed me for them to show that much love toward someone that they didn’t know,” Jackson said. “Even though they didn’t know me, we did have common ground, and that was with Jesus.

“I know they had the love of God in them, for them to do something like that for a person they didn’t know — to sacrifice the time that they could have been spending with their families. To come and help me, a person in need, was very overwhelming.”

Volunteers were practically coming out of the woodwork, so to speak. Lions and Leos were joined by members of Crosby Boy Scout Troop 1411, the values-based citizenship of which is consistent with the 1917 founding humanitarian pillar of Lions and Leos.

Lions Clubs are known for their eyesight conservation initiatives and aid to people who suffer from vision loss. They sponsor eye exams, to include preschool vision screening, and collect recyclable eyeglasses strictly for overseas distribution.

Leo is a Lions Clubs community service organization focused on providing “leadership, experience and opportunity” to its youth and young adult membership.

The East Harris County Empowerment Council also was among the organizations represented.

The scope of volunteerism impressed and encouraged organizers.

“You always take a shot in the dark and hopefully everybody says, ‘Yes,’” Crosby Lions Club President Marcus Narvaez said, during the volunteers’ work day. “You hope for the best. Everybody can’t always make it. But this was a great turnout. Some of the people I didn’t even expect to come.

“I think it is fun to do this. To see all the people here gives you more fuel to just keep on working on the house.”

Lions and Leos praised the exemplary team spirit.

“My gosh, it’s awesome,” said Brenda Quintanilla, sponsor of the Crosby Leo Club at Crosby High School, who was painting under the roof overhang on the home’s east side. “Everybody is working together. If you walk around the house, you can see that so much work is getting done because we have so many people who came to volunteer. The Boy Scouts showed up! They are all helping, and it is really a great effort. We’re doing a great job, I think.”

Lionism is an everlasting doctrine, which is a reason Crosby Lions and Leos, whose Facebook page is www.facebook.com/crosbylionsclub, plan to continue helping people and improving neighborhood aesthetics through the Rebuilding program.

“We would like to do more Rebuilding projects,” Quintanilla said. “We are always looking for houses that we can help folks with. One of the biggest challenges that we found, so far, is finding people who would like our help. Sometimes folks don’t really want to step up and say, ‘I need the help.’

“So, if there is anybody out there who would like us to come by with Rebuilding Houston — there are some qualifications they have to meet — we would love to do more jobs like this.”

Jackson was an ideal choice for the project.

“I’ve met her,” Narvaez said. “She is well-deserving.”

Volunteers have been very proud to sacrifice a Saturday for Rebuilding Together Houston.

“I feel good about us fixing the old ladies’ houses,” said Boy Scout Jonathan Bliek, a member of Crosby Troop 1411. “I feel good for painting all of the fences; make her feel better.”

While Jackson was away, Troop 1411 Boy Scout Jacob Peña said that he had hoped the homeowner would return and be “surprised and happy that we helped her with her house.”

Crosby Lions Club internationally recognized, welcomes public to attend meetings and to join

By STEPHEN THOMAS

Crosby Lions ClubDedicated to accomplishing a humanitarian agenda through community service, the Crosby Lions Club has earned recognition from Lions Clubs International. The international organization has planned for the November edition of its worldwide magazine a feature on Crosby Lions Club’s exemplary use of social media.

The international recognition coincides with the Crosby group’s concerted effort to attract more members and thus to spread Lionism, the organization’s 1917 founding doctrine, which principally entails eyesight conservation and aid to people who suffer from vision loss. Sponsoring eye exams, to include preschool vision screening, and collecting recyclable eyeglasses strictly for overseas distribution, are aspects of the mission.

The international organization’s magazine will focus on the Crosby Lions Club’s ideally trend-setting Facebook page — www.facebook.com/crosbylionsclub — a digital seedbed for broader community service and perhaps for recruiting additional Crosby Lions and Leos. The latter is a Lions Clubs community service organization that is centered on providing for its youth and young adult members “leadership, experience and opportunity.”

“In a short number of months, the number of our friends on Facebook went from maybe around a thousand to like 8,000 to 9,000, and that was just a matter of using social networking … and I think it was just [by] befriending people,” Crosby Lions Club President Marcus Narvaez said, adding that the club has developed a global following. “We’ve had a tremendous amount of response from friends. Somebody recognized that we had a lot of increase in friends on Facebook. That was the story, using a social network to spread the word of Lionism.

“We are a fairly new club. So we use [Facebook] as an easy way to do it, a free way to do it, just to reach out there and see how many members we can reach in our community.”

Ultimately, Narvaez said, Facebook will help the club to inform residents “that we are a mainstay, and we are here for the community. We are there to help the community out.”

Its volunteer projects enumerated on its Facebook page and on its web site — www.e-clubhouse.org/sites/crosbytx — the Crosby Lions Club has been helping the community since it was chartered on Nov. 19, 2007. Its outreach includes individuals, not solely neighborhoods or broader regions. Indeed the president, whose wife, Julie, is also a member, was about to call a friend in need when The Observer called.

“I’m going to call an elderly lady who is having problems with her glasses,” Narvaez said. “I am going to call her to help her out and see what we can do for her, either get her new glasses or actually get her eye exams or whatever. I don’t know the extent of the help she needs from our club, but we are going to try to help her as much as we can.”

The Crosby Lions Club welcomes into its ranks, prospective Leos included, anyone who wants an opportunity to give back, no matter number of hours that can be donated through volunteerism. Although there is information about the club online, there is a face-to-face way to learn more about how Lionism makes a difference and how one may become a part of the team.

The club traditionally meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month at the Crosby Independent School District Operations Building, which is located across from Crosby High School at 14703 FM 2100. The meetings are open to the public. Oct. 4 and Oct. 18 are the dates of the next scheduled meetings that one may feel free to attend.