Lions have plenty of pride at stake with Legoland

by CHRISTINE MCKAY

Lions Club Lego contestDannevirke Lions are determined their 50th anniversary year will be a roaring success.

President Alan Holmes said the club was bucking the trend of dwindling numbers, with a resurgence of interest from people wanting to serve the community.

“We’ve got new Lions, left, right and centre, with a membership of 40 now and still growing,” he said.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a half–dozen new members in the past few months, along with some who have transferred from Wellington.”

But with an expanding membership, Mr Holmes has had to find projects for idle hands.

“I’ve got to come up with more community-orientated work for members now, – projects to keep them all busy – to make sure no one gets bored.”

Already Mr Holmes and his fellow Lions are busy planning for their second-ever Zone 3 Youth Talent Quest.

“This year, we’ve got seven Lions clubs throughout the zone keen to help with this project,” Mr Holmes said.

“I think everyone saw how successful the inaugural event was last year.” Norsewood and Dannevirke clubs will combine their resources, with Lions club members from Woodville, Pahiatua, Tararua, Takapau and Waipawa all on board.

After elimination rounds, the final of the talent quest will be held on May 19 in the Dannevirke Town Hall.

With the Dannevirke club’s ever-expanding membership, Mr Holmes has decided it’s time to really build on success by creating Dannevirke’s own Legoland.

“I contacted the president of the Lions Club in Billund, Denmark, who put me on to Lego executive Eric Maugein and I’ve floated the idea of a Legoland in our Scandinavian neck of the woods,” Mr Holmes said.

“After all, they’ve got them in Europe, the UK and the US, so why not here where we’ve got such strong Scandinavian connections?

“You know Lego is the biggest construction company in the world and also makes more tyres than all the world’s manufacturers, so I think they’d make a great partner for our Fantasy Cave.

“Perhaps they could buy the building the cave occupies.”

While he works on his plans, Mr Holmes has been in touch with Lego’s New Zealand chief executive, Hugh Campbell, to organise a Lego building competition.

“The competition will be open to everyone and, appropriately, entrants will be asked to build Lego lions and submit a photograph,” he said.

“Dannevirke Lions members will then select the 12 best, give them a barrow load of Lego bricks at the Town Hall and let them go for it.

“We could be on to a real winner.”

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.

Lions Clubs International Commemorative Coin Act Introduced

sandyspringlionsclubAs we approach the 100th anniversary of our organization in 2017, Lions are looking for ways to mark this milestone. The Sandy Spring Lions Club in Maryland proposed a commemorative U.S. Mint silver dollar as a way to celebrate our centennial. With the sponsorship of Representative Peter Roskam of Illinois, the club is one step closer to making the coin a reality after the introduction of H.R. 2139.

The Sandy Spring Lions Club proposed a commemorative coin to publicize LCI accomplishments and raise funds for the Lions Clubs International Foundation.

Commemorative coins must be authorized by acts of congress. The U.S. Mint produces only two commemorative coins per year. If H.R. 2139 garners the support of 290 U.S. House of Representative members and 67 sponsors in the U.S. Senate, it will go for review by the president. If the president signs the bill into law, the coins will be available for purchase throughout 2017. Without any cost to taxpayers, each coin sold would produce US$10 for the Lions Clubs International Foundation. The estimated US$8 million generated would further the causes of the visually impaired, disabled and youth, as well as those affected by major disasters.

For more information about this nonpartisan piece of legislation or to sign up for the waiting list to purchase the coin, visit the Lions Clubs International Web site.

Lions Providing Immediate Relief in Japan US$5 Million from Foundation Supporting Lions’ Efforts

In the case of disasters, Lions volunteers are often the first to respond, and continue to help for as long as it takes until all work is done. As volunteers of the world’s largest service club organization, Lions live in the affected communities, so they best know the needs of the community and are able to respond quickly and efficiently. They share a passion for rebuilding their communities.

Lions distribute food to elderly.With more 107,000 Lions in Japan, they are already mobilizing to provide immediate relief. Lions Clubs International Foundation is providig US$5 million to support Lions’ relief efforts. This includes grants as well as donations from Lions around the world.

The Foundation has established a designated fund for donations for disaster. Donations can be made in confidence, for 100 percent of every donation will go directly toward disaster relief. The Foundation has more than 40 years of experience in disaster relief, and all funds are administered by local Lions in the area.

“On behalf of all Lions of Japan, we wish to thank all of you for your support,” said Lions Clubs International Director Yasumasa Furo. Lions are appreciative of the immediate response of the Foundation and Lions’ worldwide.devastation in Hitachi

The Tohoku Region Pacific Ocean Coast Earthquake is the worst earthquake to hit Japan in over 100 years. Following the earthquake was a powerful tsunami and fires. The death toll continues to rise, and tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and many Lions have also been personally affected. March 14 members were finally able to make contact with some Lions in the hardest hit areas, but remain concerned for the health and safety of many. The electricity and communications finally returned to the area on March 17.

Already, Lions have established two relief command centers in the affected areas, as well as one in Tokyo at the Lions Office. The Kinomoto Lions Club drove a 10-ton-truck full of emergency supplies to Fukushima . The truck included 3,500 servings of instant noodles, 2,400 2-liter bottles of beverages, 5,000 diapers, 1,650 boxes and 1,000 pocket packs of Kleenex, 1,500 disposable hand warmers, 400 cans of food, 300 servings of instant miso soup, 12,000 pairs of disposable chop sticks, as well as buckets, blankets, kerosene and more.In devastated Miyagi, Lions served homemade stew to 100 elderly. These are just a few examples of the many stories of Lions’ exemplary service. Lions in Kobe are helping lead these relief efforts, utilizing their expertise in earthquake relief and recovery from the 1994 disaster. They have created a map to coordinate how Lions have been affected, as well as how they’re helping.

Staff spoke to Lions on March 15: “The damage differs from place to place. Lifelines are mostly restored, but there is a gas shortage. I can’t travel far in my car to assess the needs and damage,” said Lion Tsugumichi Hata, who lives in Sendai.”During the middle of the call, a 6.0 earthquake struck in Tokyo and was felt in Sendai. “This disaster hasn’t stopped; it’s still ongoing,” said Hata.

“I just returned from Christchurch, New Zealand, and I thought I had seen it all, but this is unbelievable. Looking to the extraordinary dimension of this earthquake and tsunami, Lions and our Foundation are committed to providing immediate and long-term relief. Lions of Japan are often the first to respond to other disasters, and I ask all Lions of the world to show their solidarity and help the Japanese Lions during their time of need,” said Eberhard J. Wirfs, Chairperson of Lions Clubs International Foundation.

LCIF Responds to Earthquake in Italy

Italy earthquakeOAK BROOK, IL USA, April 6, 2009 – More than 100,000 people are homeless and 100 dead following the devastating earthquake centered in the medieval city of L’Anquila, Italy the morning of April 6. The 6.3-magnitude quake occurred 60 miles northeast of Rome. In all, 26 towns and villages were damaged.

Lions throughout Italy are assisting in emergency response efforts. LCIF has already issued a US$10,000 Emergency Grant so that Lions in the affected areas can quickly help people get food, water and medicine. LCIF will continue to work with Lions to assess immediate and long-term needs.

Lions Clubs work together to send band to Rose Bowl

Ohio State marching band for the blindBy Scott Rawdon Buckeye Lake, Ohio – The Lions Club Foundation, including the Millersport Lions Club is raising $80,000 to send the Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band to march in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.

Millersport Lion Rondia Sexton said the OSU Blind Marching Band is the only one of its kind in the US, and being asked to perform in Pasadena is a great honor. The trip won’t be cheap.

A sighted person must join each band member during the parade and Sexton said the band’s uniforms are more than 20 years old and need to be replaced. “They’re not used to marching in a five mile long parade,” she said. Sexton said the Lions Club accepted the fundraising challenge because the OSU Blind Marching Band is very difficult positioneven though the band was asked to play in Pasadena, none of the members is allowed to solicit funds his or her self.

All donations are tax deductible through the Ohio Lions Foundation. Contact Ron Robbins at (614) 888-8773 or Sexton at (740) 405-9871.

Retailer donated 30,000 pairs of sunglasses and reading glasses to charity New Eyes for the Needy

S-based travel retailer Hudson Group has donated the sunglasses and reading glasses inventory from its New York and New Jersey airport, bus and rail terminal stores to charitable organisation New Eyes for the Needy, which recycles glasses for distribution to poor people in developing nations.

The 30,000 pairs of glasses were worth over $1m in retail and will be handed to medical missions that work in partnership with New Eyes. The charity also works with larger organisations such as Feed the Children, Physicians for Peace and the Tree-Land Foundation to provide glasses for eye clinics in developing countries.

Hudson Group president and CEO Joseph DiDomizio said: “Hudson was delighted to be in a position to aid this outstanding organisation in the marvellous work they do around the world. We also provided glasses to local chapters of Lions Clubs International across the US, which conducts a similar mission to improve the vision of needy people in the US and abroad.”

New Eyes for the Needy executive director Susan Dyckman added: “This incredible donation from Hudson Group will help New Eyes to answer 100% of the requests for glasses we will receive from medical missions this year. We are very grateful to Hudson Group for this generous humanitarian gesture that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of poor people around the world by allowing them to see clearly so that they can work and attend school, as well as protect their eyes from the harsh sun.”

Challenge to Change: Re-branding Lionism

Mahendra AmarasuriyaAs the International President for 2007 – 2008 of one of the world’s biggest NGOs, Lions Club International, Lion Mahendra Amarasuriya brought a singular honour to Sri Lanka as the first Sri Lankan to hold such an internationally recognized position.

During his leadership year, accompanied by his Lion Lady Kushlani, he was able to instill new thinking and a new sense of direction to the Lions worldwide. In a display of his strong leadership ability and a commitment to innovative thinking, Lion Amarasuriya introduced a novel programs titled “Challenge to Change” to the Lions, spread across 202 countries.

Given his background of steering some of Sri Lanka’s strongest blue chips towards success, Lion Amarasuriya’s concept of change resonated well with the current phase of thinking globally. Lion Amarasuriya strove to “re-brand” Lionism to be more relevant to the 21st century. He also stressed on inclusion of young people in the clubs “they are the future and the torch bearers of the Lions Club in the years to come” he noted.

From small beginnings in 1917 in Chicago, USA with the inspiration of Melvin Jones, its founder, Lions experienced a tremendous growth in the 20st century. In 1995, the global membership stood at 1.425 million.
From small beginnings in 1917 in Chicago, USA with the inspiration of Melvin Jones, its founder, Lions experienced a tremendous growth in the 20st century. In 1995, the global membership stood at 1.425 million. Although the leadership envisioned further growth to over 1.5 million, such an increase in membership did not re-place, with 2003-2004 being exceptions, the other years saw a decline

Although the leadership envisioned further growth to over 1.5 million, such an increase in membership did not re-place, with 2003-2004 being exceptions, the other years saw a decline.

It stood at 1,292,000 when Mahendra Amarasuriya took over the mantle of leadership in 2007. Under the slogan “Challenge to Change”, Lion Amarasuriya’s innovative proposals began to take effect across the world, among the Lions.

He encouraged the Lions to include new technology – use of e mails and internet and web based communication were actively encouraged. He also promoted Internet clubs and a special effort to bring in women into membership.

Women were first admitted to Lions Clubs in 1987. Under “Challenge to Change,” Lion Amarasuriya recommended that new clubs include one third women and one third young people in the membership. He also encouraged the Lions to plan and execute projects on a well planned basis rather than going into ad-hoc projects, thus enhancing the visibility and the success of the project.

Under the Core Programs, a list of challenges that needed to be achieved were included in the “Challenge to Change” program. Starting with a challenge to re-brand the Lions Clubs in order to bring them into alignment with the needs of the 21st century, the list covered many other aspects such as attracting a young membership.

A challenge to grow in terms of being a quality Lion and a challenge towards developing quality leadership, able to understand the dynamics of the 21st century, were among other goals.

Stressing on the need for sustainable projects, he encouraged a three year cycle and long term planning processes in order to ensure sustainable growth. He initiated a global team which he called the “20K team” which spear-headed the membership development programmes with a target of achieving a net group of 20,000 members. He targeted specific growth in membership in different regions – from the USA and Canada to Central and South America, The Caribbean, Europe, The Fast East, Australia, New Zealand and India, South Asia, Africa and Middle East region, known as ISAAME constitutional area.

During his leadership, Lion Amarasuriya visited over 50 countries, participating in various projects. Having instituted changes at a global level, he also made recommendations to clubs to initiate change at a local level. He required the clubs to have short interesting meetings on a novel platform – including music and karaoke. There would be better involvement and participation, it was envisaged, with such innovative changes.

With a target of achieving, 1,250 new clubs, under Amarasuriya’s leadership, an overwhelming response was seen in the formation of 1,718 clubs, a first ever in the history of Lionism the world over.

The challenge to include at least 25-30% membership of 40 years of less and to include a 25-30% women in the new clubs formed, saw the infusion of new blood into the clubs at the end of the year, a net growth of 15,800 members were achieved, a record in recent times.

A challenge to enhance the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) by increasing the number of Melvin Jones Fellowships to 350,000 was also planned. A donation of Us $ 1,000 to the LCIF recognises a Lion as a Melvin Jones Fellow and “Challenge to Change”, there was a rapid increase in Melvin Jones Fellowships thereby enhancing the ability of LCIF to fund projects in all parts of the world.

Challenge to Change also stressed on the flag ship project of the Lions worldwide, Sight First. Inspired by the famous Helen Keller to become the Knights of the Blind, back in the twenties, the Lions Sight First programmes worldwide have its thousands of lamps for those living in darkness.

The Challenge to Change plan included a challenge to raise Sight First funding to US $ 150 million a stretch target of US $ 200 million, a three year fund raising campaign which was successfully completed in 2007/08, during Lion Amarasuriya’s tenure as Lions International President, which brought in great honour to Sri Lanka.

Challenge to Change also included a “Challenge” to revive and develop the Leo Movement which is targeted at the youth, to achieve its maximum potential. In addition, a ‘Challenge’ to expand the Lions Quest Programme, a world renouncing youth development programme, to be extended to 50 countries, was also achieved.

Challenge to re-engineer the Lions PR effort globally was also focused, giving a fresh new commentum to the brand of Lionism. It also targeted bringing Lionism in line with modern thinking and innovation.

In all aspects, “the Challenge to Change” was indeed able to usher in fresh thinking into Lionism worldwide, motivating the Lions to reach new horizons, with fresh insights and opportunities. Challenge to Change inspired Lions to embrace change with a level of dynamism and motivation not achieved during the recent history of global Lionism.