YOUR GUIDE TO THE GREAT WORK WE’RE DOING AROUND THE WORLD Carefree Camp for Kids Counters Illness Romanian Lions call it the Wonderful Children’s Camp. The young campers with diabetes, who normally feel stigmatized because their disease is little understood, wholeheartedly agree. Camp is an escape, a haven, an interlude of feeling accepted. The youths swim, dance, make crafts and make friends at the camp. The Oradea 22 Lions Club began the camp five years ago. Founded in the 12th century, Oradea is an elegant city of 183,000. Diabetes in Romania, as elsewhere, is becoming ever more prevalent. The Lions’ camp provides 15 children with gentle instruction on how to manage their disease amid a “relaxing holiday atmosphere,” says Past District Governor Rodica Dacin, charter president of the club. “It’s a climate in which children feel like they are a part of a family, where they are understood, trained, educated and loved.” The club raises funds for the camp through charity concerts and an annual Lions Ball. Members also sell jewelry, some of it homemade, at a bazaar in the city. Oradea 22 Lions partner with Oradea Lions to raise awareness of the disease by illuminating in blue (the symbolic color of diabetes) historic buildings such as the City Hall and Queen Mary Theatre. Smart Shopping in Hungary Lions in Hungary seeking support for guide dogs targeted a segment of the population likely to be sympathetic to the cause: pet owners. Members of two clubs in Miskolc, a bustling city of 170,000, brought guide dogs to a popular pet store to explain the role of the dogs and to ask for backing. Instead of asking for cash, Lions asked pet store patrons to buy dog food, supplies and tools and deposit them in a shopping cart. In six hours close to US$2,000 in goods was donated. The guide dog school in Miskolc supported by the clubs trains half of all guide dogs in Hungary. The additional Lions’ support was especially welcome because the government decided to no longer fund the school, and the wait time for a new guide dog has increased to 2 1/2 years. The all-male Miskolc Lions Club has 28 members, and the all-female Miskolci Deborah Lions Club has 12. Peter Koleszar, secretary of the Miskolc club, says he was “infected with the Lions-fever by my father.” His father, Lajos, and other Lions helped protect the city against flooding years ago. That memory helped prompt him to join. “I realized I have to remember the ‘We Serve’ family,” says Koleszar, 40, a high-tech entrepreneur whose wife, Helga, also is a Lion. Nothing Bigger of Its Kind The second-hand book market run by Oslo Lions is so large that books are stored in a two-story former bomb shelter in the mountains, and orchestrating the nine-day event takes “military discipline,” according to a member. The Oslo Berg Lions Club has run the sale, the largest used book sale in Norway, since 1976. Forty-five thousand books, separated in 30 categories, are offered for sale. Thousands of book lovers and professional collectors, searching for overlooked gems, browse the stacks. Many customers return year after year, such as Odd Holter, a retired auto shop manager. He walked away with books on cars and motorcycles but did not find the Hardy Boys books needed to complete his collection. Lions pulled books from their own bookshelves in the first year of the market. Now they rely on regular donors, email campaigns and stories in the media. The government provides the storage facility in the mountains at no cost with the club picking up utility expenses and maintenance. Proceeds support many causes: guide dogs, Scouts, youth sports, outings for senior citizens, a drug-sniffing dog for federal agents, schools and orphanages in Ghana, and nutrition, health care and female entrepreneurs in Mali.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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