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Lions Club

 

Lions Club

Lions Clubs International
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Lions Clubs International Logo
Motto "We Serve"
Formation June 7, 1917
Founder(s) Melvin Jones
Type Secular service club
Headquarters Oak Brook, Illinois, USA
Membership 1,368,683
Founder Melvin Jones
Website http://www.lionsclubs.org

Lions Clubs International (LCI) is a secular service organization with over 45,500 clubs and more than 1,368,683 members in 205 countries around the world founded by Melvin Jones in 1917.[1] Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, United States, the organization aims to meet the needs of communities on a local and global scale.

History


Lions Clubs International, a service membership organization of 1,368,683 members world-wide, was founded in the United States on June 7, 1917, by Melvin Jones,[2] a Chicago businessman. Jones asked, with regard to his colleagues, "What if these men who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities?" Jones' personal code, "You can't get very far until you start doing something for somebody else," reminds many Lions of the importance of community service.[3]

The Lions motto is “We Serve.” Focal Lions Club programs include sight conservation, hearing and speech conservation, diabetes awareness, youth outreach, international relations, environmental issues, and other programs.[4]

Purpose

The stated purposes of Lions Clubs International are:

  • To Organize, charter and supervise service clubs to be known as Lions clubs.
  • To Coordinate the activities and standardize the administration of Lions clubs.
  • To Create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world.
  • To Promote the principles of good government and good citizenship.
  • To Take an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community.
  • To Unite the clubs in the bonds of friendship, good fellowship and mutual understanding.
  • To Provide a forum for the open discussion of all matters of public interest; provided, however, that partisan politics and sectarian religion shall not be debated by club members.
  • To Encourage service-minded people to serve their community without personal financial reward, and to encourage efficiency and promote high ethical standards in commerce, industry, professions, public works and private endeavors.[4]

Charitable work

Much of the focus of Lions Clubs International work as a service club organization is to raise money for worthy causes. All funds raised by Lions Clubs from the general public are used for charitable purposes, and administrative costs are kept strictly separate and paid for by members. Some of the money raised for a club’s charity account goes toward projects that benefit the local community of an individual club.

Service projects

Lions Clubs plan and participate in a wide variety of service projects that meet the international goals of Lions Clubs International as well as the needs of their local communities. Examples include donations to hospices,[5] or community campaigns such as Message in a bottle, a United Kingdom initiative which places a plastic bottle with critical medical information inside the refrigerators of vulnerable people.[6] Money is also raised for international purposes. Some of this is donated in reaction to events such as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Other money is used to support international campaigns, coordinated by the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), such as Sight First and Lions World Sight Day, which was launched in 1998 to draw world media attention to the plight of sight loss in the third world.[7] Lions take on all sorts of various fundraisers to fund these projects. For example, the Dublin, Virginia Lions Club host two flea markets a year, and sell their famous Lion Dog, a fresh prepared variation of a corn dog.[8]

Lions focus on work for the blind and visually impaired began when Helen Keller addressed the International Convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, on 30 June 1925 and charged Lions to be Knights of the Blind.

Lions also have a strong commitment to community hearing- and cancer-screening projects. In Perth, Western Australia, they have conducted hearing screening for over 30 years and provided seed funding for the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute established September 9, 2001, a center of excellence in the diagnosis, management, and research of ear and hearing disorders.[9] In Perth, Lions have also been instrumental in the establishment of the Lions Eye Institute. In Brisbane, Queensland, the Lions Medical Research Foundation provides funding to a number of researchers. Ian Frazer's initial work, leading to the development of a HPV vaccine for the human papillomavirus which could lead to cervical cancer, was funded by the Lions Medical Research Foundation.

Lions Clubs International has supported the work of the United Nations since that organization's inception in 1945, when it was one of the non-governmental organizations invited to assist in the drafting of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, California.


Lions Clubs International Foundation

Lions Clubs International Foundation is “Lions helping Lions serve the world”.[10] Donations provide funding in the form of grants to financially assist Lions districts with large-scale humanitarian projects that are too expansive and costly for Lions to finance on their own.[11] The Foundation aids Lions in making a greater impact in their local communities, as well as around the world. Through LCIF, Lions ease pain and suffering and bring healing and hope to people worldwide. Major initiatives of the foundation include the following:

  • SightFirst programs
    • Childhood Blindness Project
    • Lions Eye Health Program (LEHP, pronounced "leap")
    • River Blindness/Trachoma
    • SightFirst China Action
    • Sight for Kids
  • Other sight programs
    • Core 4 Preschool
    • Vision Screening
  • Disability programs
    • Lions World Services for the Blind [1]
    • Diabetes Prevention/Treatment
    • Habitat for Humanity Partnership
    • Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project
    • Low Vision
    • Special Olympics Opening Eyes
  • Youth Programs
    • LEO Clubs
    • Lions Quest [12]
    • Lion Cubs [13]

SightFirst

Upon endorsing the biggest ever collaborative disease eradication programme called the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases launched on 30 January 2012 in London, the organisation has implemented SightFirst programme by which it aims to eradicate blindness due to trachoma, one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases. It has allocated over US$11 million in 10 countries for eye surgeries, medical training, distribution of Zithromax and tetracycline, and sanitary services. It has also announced US$6.9 million funding to support the Government of China for the same cause.[14][15]

Membership

Membership is by invitation, though individuals are rarely turned away, and attendance at meetings is encouraged on a monthly or fortnightly basis. Due to the hierarchical nature of Lions Clubs International, members have the opportunity to advance from a local club to an office at the zone, multiple district, and international levels.

In 1986 the constitution of Lions Clubs International was amended to allow for women to become members. Despite this setback the club is now flourishing with 19 members, 7 of whom are women. Women's membership numbers continue to grow throughout the association.

Spread of Lionism


Lions Clubs around the world

The organization became international on 12 March 1920, when the first club in Canada was established in Windsor, Ontario. Lions Clubs have since spread across the globe and have a current membership roster of 1,368,683 members worldwide. Listed below are the dates of entry for some countries and regions.

Extensions of the Lions family

In addition to adult Lions Clubs, the Lions family includes Lioness Clubs, Leo Clubs, and Campus Lions Clubs and Lion Cubs. These divisions are important parts of Lions Clubs International. They allow service-minded individuals the opportunity to build better communities at the high school and college or university level.

Lioness Clubs

Lioness Club Membership is generally for service-minded women, with exceptions of men also becoming Lioness members nowadays. They are formed under a parent Lions Club. The Lions Club thus becomes the Parent Club for the Lioness Club. Naming of the Club is also like that of the Lions Club—e.g., Lions Club of Vadodara (Race Course Circle) Dist 323F-1 forming and sponsoring a Lioness Club of Vadodara (Race Course Circle) Dist 323F-1. In many areas, particularly the United States, Lioness clubs have disbanded and merged into their parent clubs to make a more effective club as a whole.

Leo Clubs

Main article: Leo clubs

Leo Clubs are an extension of the Lions service organization which aims to encourage community service and involvement from a young age. Leo Clubs much like Lioness Clubs are sponsored by a parent Lions Club. Leo Clubs are a common school-based organization with members between the ages of 12 and 18 from the same school, these are commonly referred to as Alpha Leo Clubs. Community based clubs also exist, these generally cater for 18- to 30-year-olds and are referred to as Omega Leo Clubs. Leo Clubs are required to have a Leo Club Advisor, a member of the sponsoring Lions Club who attends meetings and provides general advice to the club. Lions International includes more than 144,000 Leo club members in 139 countries.[23]

Campus Lions Clubs

Many Leos join a Campus Lions Club if they attend a university or college after high school graduation. There are more than 125 Campus Lions clubs in the world including nearly 2,500 members on college and university campuses in

Lion Cubs

The Lion Cubs first year had 179 charter members.

International Convention

An international convention is held annually in cities across the globe for members to meet other Lions, elect the coming year's officers, and partake in the many activities planned. At the convention, Lions can participate in elections and parades, display and discuss fundraisers and service projects, and trade pins and other souvenirs. The first convention was held in 1917, the first year of the club’s existence, in Dallas, Texas. The 2006 convention was due to be held in New Orleans, but damage sustained during Hurricane Katrina meant that the convention had to be relocated to Boston.[25]

Past conventions

Past convention locations include the following:

Upcoming conventions

References

External links

  • Lions International Stamp Club - keyed in by Lion Ajoy VU2JHM
  • Lions Clubs International Amateur (Ham) Radio Club Station custodian Lion Ajoy VU2JHM
  • DMOZ
  • Lions Clubs International History The history of Lions Clubs International
  • Helen Keller's Speech The full text of Helen Keller's speech at the 1925 International Convention
  • Lions Club Nossebro Sweden Homepage of Lions Club Nossebro Sweden
  • SightFirst Program The Lions Clubs International program SightFirst
  • Lions Eye Institute The Lions Eye Institute in Perth, Western Australia
  • Ear Science Institute Australia The Ear Science Institute Australia (formerly the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute) in Perth, Western Australia
  • Lions Medical Research Foundation The Lions Medical Research Foundation in Brisbane, Queensland
  • Bridlington Lions Club UK Based Lions Club
  • Bonnieres Lions Club France Based Lions Club
  • e-clubhouse.org free websites for Lions Clubs
  • LionsBase All-in-one management solution for Lions Clubs (members, committee, social activities, events and website for each club based on TYPO3)
  • The French LEO
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