YOUR GUIDE TO THE GREAT WORK WE’RE DOING AROUND THE WORLD 1 EUROPE ENGLAND Lions Find a Lair in Book Den Patrons of the Book Den in Burgess Hill say a planned fiveminute visit there often turns into an hour-long browsing and ends at the cashier with a pile of books bought for a bargain price. The second-hand book shop sells 1,700 books per week. Whether it’s cooking, gardening, history, biographies or sports, the Book Den has shelf after shelf of a wide range of books. Burgess Hill District Lions in England began selling books 20 years ago at a couple of tables set up in a shopping mall. Business boomed, and Lions opened the current location in the town center three years ago. “Selling books in the beginning we found what the public wanted was value for money. At the same time they wanted to support a charity that supports its local community,” says Lion Tony Parris. All the books are donated; some are donated back after being bought and read. The shop displays about 3,500 books and stocks another 4,500 in the back room or in storage. The club estimates it needs about 300,000 books to take it through the end of its lease in five years. Occasionally, the club comes across a first edition such as Leslie Charteris’ “The Adventure of a Saint” or a James Bond book. Another good find was a fourth edition of Volume I of Samuel Johnson’s “Dictionary of the English Language.” The club sells its rare books through a book dealer, eBay or by auction. Running a book store is labor intensive. Lions staff the shop for 38 hours weekly Monday through Saturday. The annual profit is about $60,000, which the club has used to provide a greenhouse for a day center and a soccer field for disadvantaged children and to aid Help for Heroes, devoted to wounded military men and women. 2 EUROPE IRELAND 501 Special Guests at Dinner Irish Lions not only host a festive annual dinner for hundreds of homeless people, but they also persuade the president of Ireland to attend and mingle with the guests. The Dublin Lions Club has staged the dinner since 1960. The event is called Eric’s Party in honor of Eric Webb, the club president who initiated the project. This year Michael D. Higgins, who became Ireland’s ninth president last November, spent 40 minutes chatting with some of the 500 homeless diners at the Irish Life Centre. A poet, sociologist, author and broadcaster, Higgins also spoke of the need to better meet the needs of the less fortunate. “Transformation will have to take place,” he said. Higgins followed in the footsteps of former Irish President Mary McAleese, who attended the event for several years. The guests were drawn from the 30 or so day shelters in Dublin. The shelters have seen a dramatic rise in the use of their services over the past two years. Farid Assouad, club president, said the homeless dinner was Higgins’ first major charity event since becoming president. “President Higgins’ attendance at Eric’s Party reaffirmed the presidential commitment to inclusiveness in a very meaningful way,” says Assouad. Ireland’s oldest Lions club, the 30-member Dublin club was chartered in 1955. Lions deliver tickets to the shelters two weeks prior to the dinner. But no one without a ticket is turned away. 3 ASIA JAPAN Lions, Children Wade into Conservation The Chigusa River in Japan winds its way for 40 miles through tidy towns, meadows of wild flowers and groves of stately trees. The Japanese selected it as among the country’s 100 greatest bodies of water. Since 1973, Lions who live nearby have monitored its water quality and enlisted schoolchildren to protect it from deterioration. Sayou Lions began checking the water quality in 1973, just four years after being chartered. The population along the river had surged in the 1960s, and household wastewater polluted the river. In 1975, four other Lions clubs along the river joined Sayou Lions in staving off pollution. Today, six clubs are working with thousands of schoolchildren to conduct research at 63 spots along the river. Instead of checking the quality of water itself, the Lions and children check the number, types and living space of organisms within the water. Guided by Lions, the children first measure the water’s temperature, speed and other variables. Using nets and tweezers, they capture all living creatures within a 50-centimeter square. The samples are treated with alcohol, labeled, put in film cases and then sent to researchers. A few years ago the Lions discovered that well-maintained woodlands in the upper river area are critical for the quality of water as well as to prevent flooding. The clubs created a “Lions woods” by planting 2,500 trees with roots that spread wide and deep and help retain water. 4 ASIA CHINA City Children Take In Wonders of the Sea It was a day of wonder and learning for children of migrant workers in Beijing. Lions escorted 140 schoolchildren to the spectacular Beijing Aquarium, the world’s largest inland aquarium. Students from Mingyuan School in Beijing’s Daxing District saw the dolphin and whale exhibitions and received small gifts from Lions. Nearly one in three Beijing residents is a migrant, who often are unable to access healthcare, education and housing. Lions sponsored the aquarium visit to expand the students’ horizons. THE ANKARA EMEK LIONS AND LEOS IN TURKEY PLANTED 4,000 TREES. THE TORREVIEJA COSTA LIONS CLUB IN SPAIN PARTNERED WITH AN OPTICIANS GROUP TO COLLECT 1,000 PAIRS OF EYEGLASSES AT A SPECIAL EVENT. TO RECOGNIZE INDIA INDEPENDENCE DAY EACH YEAR, THE BANGALORE AISHWARYA LIONS CLUB HOLDS A BLOOD DRIVE EVENT. IN ENGLAND, THE HENLEY ON THAMES LIONS CLUB DONATED COMPUTERS, CHAIRS AND OTHER EQUIPMENT TO A CHILDREN’S LEARNING CENTER. THE BAYBAY CRYSTAL LIONS CLUB IN THE PHILIPPINES PLANTED 1,700 MANGROVE TREES IN A MARINE SANCTUARY.
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