April is special time where Lions around the world are planning events to bring families and friends to learn, serve and celebrate in your local communities. Organize a service project, plan an open house, or host a lunch or picnic—you decide how to introduce your family and friends to the club you love.
As you begin your spring cleaning think about donating your used eyeglasses (prescription and non-prescription) as part of a unique recycling program. We need everyone to donate their used eyeglasses. The collected glasses will be cleaned and prepared for distribution in Alaska and developing countries where eye care is often unaffordable and inaccessible. In most developing countries, an eye exam can cost as much as one month’s wages and a single eye doctor may serve a community of hundreds of thousands of people.
The local Lions Clubs throughout the Chugiak-Eagle River area have coordinated or assisted multiple community service projects and events for over 50 years. Beginning with the Eagle River Lions Club and now including the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions, Chugiak Lions and our local teen Lions, the Bear Mountain Leos, volunteers have hosted and coordinated great community and family events including the children’s ice fishing derby, Independence Day celebration, Tree of Giving, free Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners, charity food baskets, vision screening, community Easter egg hunt, and even a fantastic full blown rodeo, just to name a few.
As graduation time nears so do thoughts of going to college. How am I going to pay for it, is a discussion that many kids are having with their parents. One way to off set the growing cost of college is to apply for scholarships. There are numerous non-profit organizations, such as the Elks Club, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, VFW, Women in Business and a number of others. These organizations offer scholarships to those attending high school in our area. Whether you attend Chugiak or Eagle River High School, private high schools or are home schooled, you are eligible to be recipients of these scholarships. Many groups are going to the high schools within the next couple of weeks to review these folder, so the sooner that you submit your scholarship folder the more organizations are able to take a look at them.
Boy it is hard to catch your breath with all the fun activities during Fun Rondy. Now we have the annual Eagle River Lions Kids Fishing Derby, which will be held noon-3 p.m. March 15 at Finger Lake in Palmer.
Many of you may not know about the Fisher House. It is a comfortable “home away from home” for service members, veterans, and their family members located on JBER. It provides a warm and compassionate environment for families to heal and support each other while receiving treatment at local hospitals.
Lions are committed to their community in many ways. One way is developing our youth through leadership. Through our Leos program we mentor youth 13 to18 years old to assist them in making good choices and building their future.
Lions of Alaska District 49A, Spenard Lions Club, has donated $10,000 to the 2014 camp and is challenging all other local Lions and volunteers to meet that challenge.
There’s no better way to start the year than by saving sight and supporting youth. I am always impressed by the commitment and dedication Lions show in their project ideas towards helping their communities through vision screening.
Aren’t we fortunate as Alaskans to be able to plan on a Permanent Fund Dividend check again this year? As you apply for your PFD between now and the March 31 deadline, remember that you can choose to give some of it to the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and more than 300 other charities serving our neighbors.