Lions Clubs Make A Big Impact With Service Project Story Walking for Family Fun Every picture may tell a story, but every page of a book brings families together in Chambers burg, Pennsylvania. Sparked by Lion Merrilynn Kessler, the 22-member Chambers burg Evening Lions Club sponsored a unique reading event in conjunction with a community ice festival. “StoryWalk® is a trademarked concept originated by Anne Ferguson in Montpelier, Vermont,” explains Kessler, a retired librarian. “A picture book is placed, page by page, onto signs along a planned outdoor route. Children and adults make their way from page to page reading the book.” She adds, “Lions borrowed a book from the Franklin County Library System and installed the first page of the walk in an ice chest outside downtown’s Coyle Free Library.” The ice chest also contained a brochure explaining the walk’s origin and brief information about both the county library system and the Chambers burg Evening Lions Club. “The Berenstain Bears Blaze a Trail,” its pages laminated and placed in 17 downtown store windows facing Main Street, was the chosen story. Lions had specific aims when they decided to adapt this project for use in their community. “In addition to bringing reading and family time to our IceFest audience, another of our goals was to have as many club members as possible participating,” Kessler says. Illness didn’t stop Lions from volunteering. One member helped design the promotional brochure while another, recovering from the flu, “badly wanted a job,” Kessler says. She helped by folding 200 brochures for distribution. Other Lions served as walking guides during scheduled times or families read and strolled at their own pace on self guided tours. There was some built-in playtime. “If a group was small enough, a stop was made for children to try out the working ice slide between pages 10 and 11,” Kessler adds. A free hot cocoa stand helped warm kids and parents as they read and browsed the 65 different ice sculptures on display. Kessler says Lions plan to sponsor a second walk next year in conjunction with the ice festival. “We know that on our Lions-led tours we had children sprinting ahead to locate the next page. Adults were asking them to wait for reading until they could catch up,” she points out. “Children who were too young to read had fun with the story and helping to find storefront street numbers. We had young and old listening and imagining what might happen, as we made our way from page to page, reading aloud, sharing a book.” Lions Honored in a Big Way What says “thank you” more than having your good deeds immortalized in paint? Members of the Vandenberg Village and Lompoc Host Lions clubs in California can now view the artful appreciation of their own commitment to community service. Lions are featured prominently on a 20-foot by 40-foot mural on the side of a local business for everyone to see. The Santa Barbara Foundation recognized Lions along with three other groups for their valuable community service. “The Lompoc Mural Society agreed to head up the project and arrange for the design and execution. The artists made the story come to life with their talent and vision,” says Vandenberg Village Lion Ann McCarty. Two of the mural’s scenes illustrate Lions’ activities—a child being fitted with a pair of eyeglasses and a Lion assisting a blind golfer. Both scenes are identified with the Lions Clubs International logo. The mural was completed by 24 artists in a single day. “Vandenberg Village Lions have been helping with the California Classic Blind Golf Tournament for many years,” explains McCarty. “The Lompoc Host Lions Club has been instrumental in helping hundreds of individuals have access to much-needed vision exams and glasses. Both clubs cover a service area with a population of more than 60,000, encompassing the city of Lompoc, the unincorporated area of Vandenberg and Vandenberg Air Force Base.” McCarty says, “Being immortalized with such prominence in the community has both clubs beaming with pride. The mural is on a main thoroughfare heading into downtown Lompoc. All of us have a lot to be proud of when we look upon that wall and see the strength of all of our clubs in the Lions Clubs International logo.” Mapping Out the Playground School children in Darlington, Wisconsin, may not realize it, but they’re learning as they play. It would be hard not to absorb a geography lesson since a map of the United States is right there at their fingertips—or more correctly, feet. The 16- by 28-foot map was painted on the playground of the Darlington Middle School, which is attended by kindergarten through eighth-graders. “The project was the idea of club president Brent Erickson,” explains Rodney Lindell. “It cost $150 for a stencil kit, and approximately $175 was spent for five gallons of paint and painting supplies. On a Saturday morning at 8 a.m. sharp, seven Lions with the help of three spouses laid out the stencil, connected the dots and painted in the states. “We were finishing cleaning up by 1 p.m.” Lindell says. Lindell, 72, is modest about the club’s speedy accomplishment. “The weather cooperated. But it was getting warm near the end, and the water-based paint would dry quite quickly,” he explains. “I think just about everyone had knee pads for kneeling.” Children aren’t the only ones enjoying the colorful playground map. Second-grade teacher Lori Allendorf calls it “a wonderful resource. The second graders take great pride showing off their skills during our map unit on ‘The Peaceful Playground. They love combining movement with learning.”
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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