You’ve probably been asked: “When did you join Lions?” Easy to answer.
A more relevant question is: “When did you BECOME a Lion?”
There’s a difference.
I joined the Amarillo Downtown Lions in 1979, a fresh-faced business recruit getting used to the titles and acronyms of that excitable group of men (remember, it was 1979), who had a wide variety of community and vision-related projects under way. It was kind of overwhelming.
One of the projects was driving specially-equipped vans to transport disabled children, adults and seniors to Friday night socials at various sites in Amarillo, where these folks could get a change of venue from the homes where they were virtually stuck during the week. I figured that (now Lion) Tia and I could do that – easy! Well, sometimes not so easy! The lift on those things could be quite temperamental, but we nearly always got them to work, eventually. But our guests were always good-humored about our travails, and came to rely on Tia and me and the other Lion drivers for their weekly social encounters. We became part of a sort of extended family that appreciated and depended on our weekly efforts to provide mobility. Their warmth and appreciation really struck us and touched a deep emotion within us. That’s when we BECAME Lions.
The point of all this is to emphasize that we need to give our Lions the opportunity to do hands-on work with our publics. Fund raising in all its manifestations is necessary and greases our financial wheels, but the true and meaningful realization of Lionism really comes from personal contact with our recipients.
What projects does your club do that puts you face to face with someone we’re helping? President Madden’s Reading Action Program is a great way to get up close and personal with a child in your town who can use your help improving their reading skills and literacy.