Lions Paint the Town Red— and Yellow, Too Marlin, Texas, may be located in Falls County, the 10th poorest county in the state, but it’s rich in community spirit. A Lions club has existed in Marlin (pop. 6,000) since 1935, and while the area may have fallen on hard times, the 35- member club is still going strong. David Lawson has lived in the city for 10 years and says, “Marlin doesn’t have the money to maintain all the things that it needs to, such as parks, playgrounds, painting and such, so we as a club wanted to do something in our community to help the city and county ‘feel’ better about itself.” The Marlin Noon Lions stepped up with paint in hand and a project in mind. “After looking at Marlin, we decided to start with the courthouse because it is the center of our community [and the county seat].” The city donated five gallons of paint and Lions got to work painting entrances around the courthouse square. “We didn’t realize how much we had to paint,” he says now. County Judge Karen Meyer, who has since joined the Noon Lions Club, volunteered to find donated paint and people to help. “Through her, we’ve started a ‘One Day, One Block’ program that uses community service people—high school students, cheerleaders, clubs and any volunteer we can find—to target an area in town,” Lawson says. “And then one Saturday a month, we paint, pick up trash, clean windows and anything else we can do to beautify our town. We just believe if you have something to be proud of, you will take better care of it.” Groesbeck Lions Jim and Jan Bohls were part of the painting crew, which was a tough job on a hot day. “We painted about five blocks of curbs before the heat got to us,” Jan Bohls admits. No matter how high the thermometer registers, Lions intend to keep painting the town red. Or yellow. “The plan is to completely cover the entire town in a year or less and then expand into the county,” emphasizes Lawson. Dance Troupe Inspires Volunteer Spirit The Cherry Hill-Pennsauken Korean Lions Club in New Jersey knows that it can always count on some younger members of the community. Dressed in traditional Korean attire, the 16 junior high and high school performers of the Saebit Korean Dance Troupe volunteer their talents freely when needed. They help Lions and other service-minded community groups raise money while also promoting Korean dance. “Our club is constantly looking for partnerships beneficial to both parties,” explains Lion Min Elders. “The young members of the dance troupe provide a beautiful image of what volunteering in a venue that interests them can produce,” she says. “The dancers feel a personal sense of accomplishment and the audience experiences a cultural connection with their heritage. We want to attract the young members of that audience to volunteer and join the Lions so that they, too, can take part in experiencing personal accomplishment and spread the good word of Lions further in the community.” Lions stay highly visible in the area, collecting and recycling eyeglasses, cell phones, stamps, batteries and ink cartridges. They’ve donated a laptop computer to the Camden Eye Center, donated to Indonesian tsunami victims and regularly award scholarships to graduating seniors. One of those scholarships was given to a member of the dance troupe. Elders says she believes that community recognition and support is critical to membership growth. Not only does she hope that both the young men and women who perform will eventually become Lions, she’s already found a new member. The troupe’s director, Sun Young Park, plans to join the club. Warwick Lions in New York know that human need doesn’t speak just one language. For that reason, when they organized their annual holiday party for disadvantaged children, Santa (a bilingual Lion) happily chatted with youngsters in both English and Spanish. Lion Lon Tytell says that many of the youngsters are from migrant working families. Flyers in both languages explained that children ages 6 to 12 were invited to the event and were distributed at local agencies helping low-income families. They were also placed into the backpacks of children participating in a program that feeds them on weekends. Sponsored by local businesses and individuals, the youngsters were allowed to shop at no charge for holiday gifts for their families. Volunteers helped children wrap gifts and they played games and made crafts. The club has been sponsoring the party for children since the 1960s, and Tytell says it’s the largest club project and the one that receives the most support from the community.
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