BIG IMPACT WITH LIONS CLUB SERVICE PROJECTS Bicycle Built for Two Doubles the Fun Erin Scala, of Baldwinsville, New York, doesn’t let being legally blind slow her down. Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at four, she has since lost her sight but continues to go at life full speed. When she wanted to participate in an AIDS Ride for Life event, she turned to the Baldwinsville Lions Club for help in obtaining a tandem bicycle. She explained to Lions that she and her guide, Megan Mack-Nicholson, wanted to participate in the 100-mile ride around Cayuga Lake, but needed a bike. Lions located a used bicycle built for two and purchased it for her. “I was literally the happiest person in the world when I received the call that they purchased one for me,” says Scala, 25. “I never thought that the Lions club was going to find me a bike, not because they didn’t want to, but just because they’re so expensive and hard to find. I was hoping for maybe $50 toward a bike, but when they told me they bought me a bike, it was unbelievable!” The bike was presented to her at the Lions Community Park with Lions and supporters cheering her on as she immediately hopped on and went for a spin with her father, John. “I’ve probably ridden the bike with either my dad or friends every day since it was given to me. I can’t sit still too often,” she says, only half-joking. In addition to bike riding, Scala snowboards, runs and practices martial arts. Baldwinsville Lions have been active in the community for 60 years, says Ron Schmidt. “When the club was young, it was instrumental in securing what became 45 acres of land along the Seneca River. Lions were allowed to take an old fishing shanty and convert it into their clubhouse. What started as a shabby old building with about 800 square feet has become a 2,000-square-foot modern facility. Members have done the majority of the construction, renovation and repair to the building.” The village maintains much of the grounds, which include a boat launch, picnic and play areas and two softball fields, but Lions also pitch in with labor. In addition to purchasing Scala’s tandem bike, Lions donate scholarships, provide vision care and support Lions Camp Hickory, a day camp for diabetic children. Painting Project Covers Graffiti A concrete park barrier that sustained significant graffiti by vandals was covered with a new coating by members of the Latte Stone Lions Club in Guam. Repainting the wall in a bright sky blue matching the horizon, Lions from the 23-member club worked all day to cover the damaged wall in the popular Mata’pang Beach park. Lions purchased 25 gallons of paint and other materials to finish the project in only five hours. The park is a landmark in Tuman, one of only two in the area with covered pavilions. “It’s used by beachgoers for barbecuing or just to get some shade from the hot tropical sun,” says Lion Cecelia Cadag. “We know that we’re making Guam a better place not only for ourselves and our families, but also for the thousands of visitors and tourists who come to enjoy and cherish this part of the island.” Tourist Town Umbrellas are Tops The port community of Prince Rupert in British Columbia, Canada, is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the area. To the north is the majestic Mount Morse, and the port has become a hub for land, sea and air travel. For that reason, Prince Rupert Lions have chosen a signature project that is geared toward the many people who visit their community of more than 12,000 every year. Since 2004 when a new cruise ship dock opened in the bay, Lions have strived to make their unique community a global destination for travelers. “We’ve engineered and built large umbrella ‘coffee bars,’ placing them throughout the community in strategic tourist and gathering locations,” says Lion Linda Wong. Several have been placed in the cruise ship public access area, and most of the red and white umbrellas, which have small attached tables, feature a prominent Lions logo. A big hit with the community, however, is a specially-designed, black-and-white “cow-bay”- themed umbrella that was recently installed. The club provides annual scholarships to students to pursue traditional and non-traditional careers and educational pursuits, built playgrounds and collects food and provides services at a local soup kitchen. Another ongoing project is providing medical equipment and expenses for travel and accommodations to residents in need. A winter Coho fishing derby helps raise funds to keep projects going. Another unique approach to fundraising is that Lions are trained to help out at the many conventions and tourist gatherings, and have been licensed in first aid and security services in order to participate and host a wide variety of events.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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