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Section - Q2.15. Lions

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     The International Association of Lions Clubs was created in 1917
by a Chicago businessman named Melvin Jones.  The International
Association of Lions Clubs is today the largest service organization
in the world with over 1.4 million members in more than 42,000 clubs
in 178 countries and geographical regions.  Lions clubs may also
sponsor Leo clubs which are clubs for young people aged 16-28,
however, some individuals in their twenties do join Lions Clubs.  The
objects of Leo clubs are the same as Lions Clubs.  Anyone can become a
Lion/Leo, the only qualifications are that members be honest and
respectable members of the community who are willing to work to
achieve the charitable goals of the Association.

     Lions clubs are not social clubs, although there are social
benefits to membership.  Lions clubs members give their time, skills
and resourses to raise funds for charitable giving both in their
communities and internationally.  The major focus of Lions fund
raising activities is sight conservation, although other projects are
pursued such as drug awareness programs in high schools, diabetes
awareness programs and other programs that are specific to individual
clubs and districts.  For example, Massachusetts Lions created an eye
research fund that gives research grants to Massachusetts Universities
and hospitals and have given over $12,000,000 in research grants since
it's inception, the Kentucky Lions have built and financially support
an eye hospital.  Lions took up sight conservation as their major goal
after a speech given by Helen Keller at the Lions International
Convention held at Cedar Point, Ohio, in 1925.

     Lions work in the area of sight conservation is carried out at
many levels.  Individual clubs sponsor free eye screening programs
using mobile eye clinics.  In many countries clubs sponsor eye surgery
camps where cataract surgeries are performed at no charge for those
those that can't afford medical.  Many clubs in the U.S.A. collect old
eye glasses for distribution to the needy in other countries.  The
International Association of Lions Clubs is the largest
non-governmental organization associated with the United Nations and
was called upon by the United Nations and the world health
organization to raise funds for an International program of sight
conservation through it's Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF).
It has been estimated that 40 million cases of curable and preventable
blindness exist on this planet today, with out intervention this is
projected to become 80 million by the end of the decade.  The
International Association of Lions Clubs began a program of fund
raising that they called "SightFirst" in order to cure/prevent 40
million cases of blindness worldwide.  Over $130,000,000 has been
raised by Lions all over the world for this program.  Sight First has
already improved the quality of life for millions of people.  Through
LCIF/Sight First-funded projects, more than 650,000 cataract surgeries
have been performed with over 5 million patients screened for eye
diseases.  Forty-two eye hospitals and clinics with more than 920 new
beds have been built or are under construction in areas where there
were no eye health care facilities.  SightFirst is also addressing the
need for more ophthalmic personnel in developing countries by funding
the training of 1,150 ophthalmic assistants, nurses and public eye
health workers over a five-year period.

     Lions services to humanity range from purchasing eyeglass for a
child who's parents can't afford them to multimillion dollar programs
to cure blindness on a worldwide scale.  The Lions International
Headquarters is in Oak Brook, Illinois, U.S.A.

You can contact Lions Clubs International as follows:

Lions Clubs International          Telephone: (708) 571-5466
300 22nd Street                    Cable: LIONSINTL
Oak Brook, IL 60521-8842           Telex No: 397236 LION UR
U.S.A.                             Fax: (708) 571-8890

[Source: (Ramesh Nayak), Arlington Lions Club,
Massachusetts, USA.]

Charles Levitt <> works at the international
headquarters and is willing to ferry messages and questions to the
appropriate departments.

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Previous Document: Q2.14. Kiwanis (also: What is Keys, What is Builders Club)
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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM