LIONS RISK LIVES FOR REFUGEES Lions Leif and Nilgün Erdem Niord traveled to the southeast tip of Turkey with a truckload of food for 500 trapped Yazidis, a religious minority in Iraq who fled the persecution of ISIS. But fighting between the police and Kurdish nationalists forced them to flee. “It was tear gas all around,” says Niord, a peace activist who lives in both Turkey and Sweden. Sympathetic Turks later distributed the Lions’ aid. Three times previously Niord, her husband Leif, and Turkish Lion Fadime Demirci traveled to small villages in Turkey near the Syria border to bring food, beds, blankets and toys to 1,000 refugee families. Swedish and Turkish Lions supported the aid. Lions worldwide have been raising funds and donating supplies for the Syrian and Iraqi refugees. LCIF approved a US$200,000 grant to assist refugees, and our foundation has received from Lions more than another $312,000 for refugees. An LCI/LCIF Refugee Steering Committee was formed to coordinate assistance. The refugees are in dire need, says Nilgun Niord. “The refugees escaped with nothing. They carried the elderly on their backs and babies in their arms,” she says. “Many children look traumatized. The mothers looked desperate and helpless.” PEACH BOWL AND LIONS UNITE ONCE MORE Ready for some college football? Lions Club International is sponsoring the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade, restoring Lions’ association with the Peach Bowl. The Peach Bowl is noon (EST) on Dec. 31 in Atlanta. Part of the national championship playoff, the Peach Bowl will host a national semifinal in 2016 and the national championship in 2017-18. Founded in 1968 by the late Past International Director George Crumbley as the nation’s first charity bowl, the Peach Bowl raised more than $1 million for the visually impaired in Georgia for Lions until 1985. For the sponsorship fee of $50,000, Lions will receive publicity in numerous ways: pregame events, advertising, the parade, the game day program, websites and social media campaigns. Lions also will be highlighted in a video board feature during the game. Lions will be in the Georgia Dome promoting Lions, and fans will be encouraged to donate eyeglasses. Lions also will do eye screenings for children at the FanFest the morning of the game and vision screenings at schools in partnership with Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl’s Play it Smart Program. SURVEY SAYS … This month Lions Clubs International is emailing a survey to Lions to gather input on the future direction of the association. Occasioned in part by the impending centennial of Lions, the survey will allow Lions to help direct the future goals, focus and service impact of Lions. The survey will be sent to all Lions whose email is known to LCI. LCI has also solicited feedback from Lions, partners and other global opinion leaders through focus groups, in-person and phone interviews and webinars worldwide. The LCI board recently approved a five-year strategic plan called LCI Forward. The primary goal is to dramatically improve service by 2020-21. LCI also aims to become the world’s best known brand for voluntary service, achieve best-in-class services to members, clubs and districts, develop innovative ways to engage more people in Lions’ humanitarian service and enhance the value of being a Lion by expanding member benefits, leadership training and member services. Overheard “I always tell my audience—one day I will reach the stars I can’t see.” –Khodr Farhat, 21, who was born blind in Lebanon and received a college scholarship in Michigan, where he now lives, from the Birmingham Lions Club. From the Macomb Daily. “I’m not going to let one or two incidents change 24 years of our lovefest between the Lions club and this community.” –Joe Gaffigan, a past international director and member of the Suburban Lions Club in Maryland, after a generator used to power the lights on the Lions’ Christmas tree lot was stolen. From WJLA.com. “It was the most fun I’ve had in an outhouse in three months.” –Kevin Laidler of the Lake Orion Lions Club in Michigan after his team finished second in the Outhouse Races at the Lake Orion Winter Carnival. From the Clarkston News. SERVICE WEEK TO FIGHT HUNGER NEARS More than 800 million people in the world don’t have enough to eat. Lions are called to do something about it: Jan. 10-16 is our Worldwide Week of Service to Fight Hunger and Poverty. The service both honors the birthday of Lions’ founder Melvin Jones (Jan. 13) and contributes to the “Relieving the Hunger” component of the Centennial Service Challenge to serve 100 million people. Lions are asked to complete a small project such as organizing a food drive or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Or Lions can do a medium-sized project such as developing a weekend backpack meal program for schoolchildren or starting a community garden. Clubs also are encouraged to undertake a major project such as establishing a food bank. Clubs need to report the service on the online MyLCI Service Activity Report for the project to count toward the Centennial Service Challenge and to earn a Centennial Banner Patch. Digital LION Watch two short videos by Japanese Lions and headquarters staff wishing Melvin Jones a Happy Birthday at lionmagazine.org. CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY FOR SICK BOY In late October residents of St. George in Ontario strung up Christmas lights on their houses, marveled at the snow created by a special effects company at the home of a terminally ill 7-year-old boy and then turned out by the thousands to cheer the boy as he rode with Santa in a special holiday parade. The small Canadian town gave Evan Leversage, battling an inoperable brain tumor, the gift of a final Christmas. Evan’s cousin, Shelly Wellwood, got the idea to celebrate Christmas early, and the St. George Lions Club helped get the word out. “Our emotions kicked in, and our members got excited about it,” says President Wayne Branchaud. “[Lion] Ross Ilett got on the phone with the local volunteer fire department, and the parade was born.” Lions had one of the 25 floats in the parade. “It was a great moment for our community. It shows that a community can come together when it counts,” adds Branchaud. After extensive media coverage, Evan received messages from around the world. “Many times I have told people [that] Evan is my inspiration,” his mother, Nicole Wellwood, told CBC News. “The whole wide world became my inspiration last night.” By the Numbers HUGS AND KISSES—IN BRAILLE If it’s the thought that counts, the line of greeting cards from the Chicago Lighthouse—including a Valentine’s Day card—richly exemplifies care and concern for the blind. The messages of the colorful cards are in Braille as well as in regular text. Participants in the Lighthouse’s programs package the cards, and proceeds from card sales benefit other people like them who are blind or visually impaired. Besides Valentine’s Day, the cards are for birthdays, the holidays, all occasions (a package of Thinking of You, Happy Birthday, Congratulations, Thank You and Sympathy) and “Tikkun Olam” (Repair the World). Artist Alisa Singer, a retired corporate attorney, designed the cards last year for the Lighthouse, a fixture in Chicago for 109 years. Available online and in the Lighthouse store, a package of five cards (the all-occasion set) sells for $22. $1,000 Dollars given for each year of its existence to local groups by the Mystic Lions Club in Connecticut in celebration of its 65th anniversary. 167 Students at Hooverville Elementary School entertained by a magician, thanks to Rouzerville Lions in Pennsylvania. 0 Tagged fish that were caught in the 30th annual Freeland Walleye Festival held by Freeland Lions in Michigan. One of the 10 tagged fish, if one of the first three tagged fish caught, was worth $10,000 and the others would have brought $250. 100+ Homeless men and women given a hot meal at Father Bill’s homeless shelter, thanks to Sharon Lions in Pennsylvania. 15 Students at Ocean Crest Elementary School given prizes in the monthly “Caught You Being Good” program supported by Bandon Lions in Oregon. 3 Service clubs in an Ohio town—the Port Clinton Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis clubs—that are collaborating on a playground for all ages and abilities. 35 Cases of turkey legs that Rockport Lions in Texas grilled and sold as a fundraiser. THE FUTURE STILL BELONGS TO LIONS Great Scott! “Back to the Future” day—Oct. 21, 2015—has come and gone. That’s the date Marty McFly and Doc Brown time-travel to in “Back to the Future Part II.” No, the Cubs did not win the World Series that year, as the movie predicted. But other futuristic technologies presented in the film have come to fruition: personal drones, video chats (Skype) and video glasses (Google Glass). Lions will especially appreciate the filmmakers’ depiction of the enduring presence of service clubs such as Lions. When Marty jumps forward to 2015 he sees a futuristic hovering town welcome sign that includes the Lions logo. Yet, as Marty surely realizes, the more things change, the more they remain the same. In the first “Back to the Future” Marty time travels to 1955 and ambles past a welcome sign with the familiar Lions emblem. 45 Years Ago in the LION JANUARY 1971 International President Dr. Robert McCullough (second from right) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, gathers with other Lions to dedicate a plaque at the burial place of humorist Will Rogers in Claremore, Oklahoma. The plaque reads: “A man who possessed a great depth of human understanding and helped a troubled world smile.” The dedication was held on Oct. 8, 1970, as part of World Lions Service Day. Digital LION Read about the many ways clubs marked World Lions Service Day in 1971 at lionmagazine.org.
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