More than 73 years ago, three Lions from Detroit, Mich. had a dream that they could build a school to train dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired. Lions from all over the world helped this dream come true. Over 14,500 people have left Leader Dog, walking proudly, safely and independently with a Leader Dog harness in their left hand full of Lion love in the form of a guide dog.
Time seems to fly by faster each year. It seems like yesterday we were playing baseball and football, hosting a rodeo, having family picnics and getting together to celebrate our independence at the Eagle River Lions Park.
World Diabetes Day is held on November 14 each year. The day aims to increase an awareness of the effects of diabetes and its complications amongst the general population and professionals in a range of sectors. It is also hoped that the increased awareness will lead to more resources to fight the causes of diabetes and help fund research into improved treatment options.
Thanksgiving will come early this year to the wounded warriors stationed in the Wounded Warriors Transition Barracks at JEBR. Over five years ago the Chugiak Lions asked their commander what the club could do for our local heroes. To the Lions’ surprise, the answer was a “home cooked meal.” This started an annual tradition of providing the wounded warriors a Thanksgiving Dinner and another dinner at Easter.
I write this fresh off the USA/Canada Forum training, and it’s hard to appreciate how fun and exciting a forum is unless you are there. Some 1,500 plus Lions packed the beautiful San Juan Convention Center. They roared with gusto when speakers rhetorically asked “Can we do it?” or “Are we up to the challenge?” The power of a crowd, of a group of people with a shared purpose, is inspiring. I am confident each Lion at the forum is now willing and able to serve more capably and enthusiastically.
World Sight Day is celebrated worldwide on Oct. 9. Lions International Officially marks Lions World Sight Day in Reykjavik, Iceland on Oct. 14.
Imagine you bring your child to a routine eye appointment and the doctor turns to you and says there is a problem with your child’s eyesight. Not just any problem; she is blind in one eye, known as “lazy eye.” This is a personal experience for myself and daughter. I was devastated. Being uninformed, I was worried how my child would be able to function, how would she be able to learn and function in school. Hence, the development of my passion for being a Lion and screening as many children as possible throughout the year.
For nearly 100 years, Lions have served their communities with dedication and contributed to the development and well-being of millions of people around the world. As we look toward our centennial celebration in 2017, Lions are encouraged to help reach the Centennial Service Challenge goal of serving 100 million people by December 2017 through participation in the Global Service Action Campaigns. Lions clubs locally and around the state will be participating in this program by sponsoring Leo clubs, holding vision screenings, collecting eye glasses, helping feed the hungry or cleaning up our parks. Each month we are challenged by the Lion’s president. Here’s a summary of our challenges.
Each year the Lions International Youth Camp and Lions International Exchange Program introduce young people to life in other cultures by helping them travel abroad. Each Youth Camp and Exchange program include an extended stay hosted by one of our many international clubs. The Youths are from 13 countries across Europe and the middle east; Italy, Belgium, Germany, Poland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Israel, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
One of the many passions of Lions District 49A is Camp K, which is a diabetes camp for youth ages 7-17 located in Cooper Landing. Lions clubs throughout Alaska are asked to provide a scholarship and “adopt” one youth to send to camp each year. We have also encouraged our Leos to participate in the program and support one of their peers living with diabetes. Each year Lions and Leos step up to the challenge to provide scholarships in the amount of $400 per youth.