I was born in 1917. The International Charter is my birth certificate; the blood lines of the world run through my veins. I am many things and many people.
I remember communities where service to one’s fellowman was unknown; when the challenge came, I answered in community after community until today I am over 43,000 clubs. I am over 1.4 million living souls and the ghosts of thousands who have lived and died for me. I am big; I sprawl to all corners of the world; 185 nations and geographic locations embrace my banner.
I am parts of the world throbbing with industry; I represent farms, forests, mountains and deserts; I am in quiet villages and cities that never sleep; you can look at me and see the Golden Rule. You can see me in the lights of Christmas and appreciate my holiday baskets for the needy; I am a leader dog; a pair of glasses or an operation for the near blind… Sight conservation is uppermost in my mind
I am greatly interested in the schools and colleges in this great nation of yours and mine; in the many churches where my people worship God as they think best; I am a ballot box, the roar of a crowd in a stadium and the voice of a choir in a Cathedral; I am an editorial in a newspaper and a letter to a Congressman, because….
My slogan is: Liberty, Intelligence and Our Nation’s Safety.
Yes I am a Lion, and these things that I am; I was conceived in Freedom and God willing, in Freedom I will spend the rest of my days.
May I possess always the integrity, the courage, and the strength to keep Lionism unshackled, to remain a citadel of freedom, of service, and a beacon of hope to all parts of the world for my motto is: WE SERVE
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 43,000 clubs in 701 Districts covering 182 countries and geographic areas. Lions Clubs are not social clubs, although there are social benefits to membership. Lions Club members give their time, skills and resources to raise funds for charity 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. 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. At that time, Helen Keller challenged the Lions to become “Knights of the Blind”, a challenge that has become a rallying cry for Lions projects around the world.
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 that can’t afford this medical care. Many clubs 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. It has been estimated that 40 million cases of curable and preventable blindness exist on this planet today. Without 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 “Campaign Sight First” in order to cure/prevent 40 million cases of blindness worldwide. Over $148,600,000 has been raised by Lions all over the world for this program. Eye hospitals are being built in the places that most need them. In India alone, over 300,000 cataract surgeries have been performed and that number is rapidly growing. Lions services to humanity range from purchasing eyeglasses for a child who’s parents can’t afford them to multimillion dollar programs to cure blindness on a worldwide scale.