Christopher Bunch 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Steps to Success with Lions Quest The world is changing. So is the way schools educate children. Instruction in reading, writing and arithmetic remains pivotal. But educators also are increasingly recognizing the importance of creating a safe, supportive learning environment where students are taught critical life skills and positive, healthy behaviors are encouraged. Lions Quest has been doing just that for nearly 30 years. The school based youth development program reinforces positive behaviors and teaches life skills related to character education, service-learning, bullying and substance- abuse prevention. The curriculum is divided into three levels: Skills for Growing for elementary students, Skills for Adolescence for middle school students and Skills for Action for high school students. Lions Quest is currently taught in 72 countries, with curriculum translated into 35 languages. “The Lions Quest program gives students self-confidence. They learn how to appreciate each other’s differences, self-respect and listening skills,” says Anne Marie Francis, character education coordinator for Cranford Public Schools in New Jersey. Learn about Lions Quest The first and most important step a Lion can take is to learn about the program. The Lions Quest website (www.lions-quest.org) offers program overviews, videos and downloadable brochures to help introduce the program to Lions. “You can’t do it alone,” says Jim Johnke, Lions Quest chair of District 37-S in Montana. Gaining the support of fellow Lions is essential to implementing Lions Quest. Lions youth advocates, educators or professionals with connections to the education community are great partners who can help organize and promote the program. Reach Out to Schools The program can’t help young people if schools aren’t using it–or even aware of it. Lions Quest relies on Lions to connect with schools. Clubs can invite educators to attend a meeting to introduce Lions and Lions Quest, or Lions can contact schools to request time for a presentation. The Lions Quest website offers resources to help with program presentations. When approaching schools, some Lions think globally: Arkansas Lions received a $100,000 LCIF grant and partnered with the Arkansas Service Commission to expand Lions Quest statewide. Other Lions think locally: Lions Quest Chair Lisa Jenkins knocked on the door of the school she knew best—her own. Murphy Elementary- Middle School in Detroit is now benefiting from the program Support Workshops Before educators can implement Lions Quest, they must attend a one- or two-day training workshop. Training helps educators implement Lions Quest effectively to ensure students receive the maximum benefits of the program. Attending educators receive Lions Quest curricula, which is used in classrooms. Workshops and curricula represent the primary costs associated with Lions Quest. Secure Funding Funding is often a barrier for schools. To help overcome this, LCIF offers matching and non-matching grants to help fund Lions Quest activities around the world. Many Lions conduct their own fundraising for Lions Quest. Lions in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, hosted a barbecue. Other clubs seek funding through district foundations. In Norway, fundraising has truly blossomed. Lions of Norway have an annual tulip campaign to raise funds for their youth programs. All clubs take to the streets to sell tulips in support of the one-day campaign, which sold 884,650 tulips and raised 3.5 million NOK (more than US$600,000) last year. Provide Ongoing Support Finally, maintaining relationships with schools is essential. Lions can provide ongoing support by generating publicity; recognizing teachers, students and Lions; and providing funding assistance to train new teachers, purchase student materials and expand Lions Quest to new schools. Also, increasing the visibility of Lions among educators and in the community can help increase membership. “Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” says Hilary Kumnick, Lions Quest chair of District 23 C in Connecticut. Implementing Lions Quest is a process. So is changing the world.
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