When I started this blog several years ago, I chose the Bear as my guide. I sited the characteristics of introspection, new beginnings, and protecting what we believe in as powerful tools for writing and reading this blog. In fact, the title of my very first post was “Be A Bear.” Now I would like to say, “Be A Lion.”
A little over a year ago I joined the local Lions Club. I remember hearing someone say during my induction, “Today you have joined the Lions Club, and someday you will become a Lion.” At the time, I really didn’t understand the true meaning of that statement. Now I do. I have actually become a Lion.
Lions Clubs International was founded in1917 by a Chicago businessman named Melvin Jones. Mr. Jones saw not only the importance of going beyond promoting good business practices and creating an organization based on selfless service to others, he also saw the importance of a network of such organizations, and the increased impact they could have on their community. He invited members from several different organizations to a meeting where the organization as we know it was established.
Lions live and survive in groups called prides. Appropriately, pride is what I feel when I talk about being a Lion. Through my association and service within the local and district organizations, I have experienced excitement and satisfaction beyond my wildest dreams.
Lions Clubs International is the largest service organization in the world. That’s what I said – largest in the world. We have over 45,000 clubs around the world in over 200 countries and geographic areas. Our membership exceeds 1.4 million worldwide. I’m not sure Mr. Jones foresaw these kinds of numbers in 1917, but he certainly had the right idea about an expanding network of people.
At the International Convention on June 30, 1925, Helen Keller addressed the attendees and offered this challenge, “Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness…Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?” Since that day, the men and women of Lions Clubs have embraced that challenge through numerous activities, striving to prevent and alleviate vision problems.
Along with vision, we also participate in programs for youth, disaster preparedness and relief, environmental issues, international relations, and a multitude of service activities within our own communities.
I could go on and on about the enormous impact Lions are making around the world, but suffice it to say, if you are interested in making a difference in your community, find your local Lions Club and join the fun. Our slogan is, “Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion.” Our promise is, “We Serve.”