Rockin’ for Good Causes Five German Lions have combined their love of rock music with their passion for service. The band Löwenherz fills halls with fans of rock classics while donating all proceeds to their Lions club in northern Germany. Lions Andreas Bettin (guitar, vocals), Peter Gesser (guitar, harp, vocals) and Horst Lehn (bass) started the band in 2006 and two years later drummer Andreas Wagner and keyboardist Dr. Ludgerus Kahlen joined. The five belong to the Marl-im- Revier Lions Club. “Our musical tastes span a very broad spectrum, ranging from Stefan Stoppok to Pink Floyd, from U2 to Wolfgang Ambros and from Grönemeyer to R.E.M.,” Gesser says. Adds Bettin, “German rock ballads about the Ruhr area are at the core of our three-hour concerts, and then we throw in rock classics–some popular, some surprising, but always fun.” “Löwenherz” means Lion’s heart, a nod to the band’s charitable purpose. Recent performances have funded Recklinghause, an outpatient children’s hospice; a youth project in Marl; and a Lions elementary school project called Class 2000. Suicide Prevention in Ireland More people in Ireland die each year from suicide than from car accidents and many of these are younger than 25. The nearly 120 Lions clubs in Ireland are working on a suicide prevention program aimed at young people. District leaders are planning a conference on the issue as well as asking clubs to appoint a suicide prevention officer. Clubs already have coordinated suicide prevention programs at schools such as the National University of Ireland at Maynooth and at the Institute of Technology in Carlow. At the latter, the Carlow Campus Lions Club sponsored a Beat the Blues Week that included a session on Laughter Yoga and a talk by Dr. Tony Bates, an official with the National Centre for Youth Mental Health and a columnist for the Irish Times. Bates told the students that at any given time 20 percent of adolescents and young adults experience serious emotional distress and only a small number seek help. Mental health professionals can offer vital support and something as simple as a chat with a friend or classmate also can make a big difference. Mountain Men for a Day Lucius Dürr, president of the Zürich Lions Club, admits that residents of his sophisticated, well-educated city sometimes can shy away from interaction with others. “Zürich can be a little aloof at times, you know,” he acknowledges. But members of his Lions club rolled up their sleeves and shattered the stereotype in helping a small struggling mountain village that dates from the 12th century. Nestled on the the north slope of the Schanfigg mountain, Calfreisen was once a prosperous farming village. But its young people moved away to find work and its population shrank to less than 60. Town leaders sought to preserve the town by improving its water system, which included wooded water channels that ran down the mountainside. Nearly two dozen Lions, town council members and others spent a day replacing the water channels and cleaning up the mountainside. The clubs wanted to do more than just donate money. “We don’t want to be elitist, and our members think it’s great,” says Dürr. “This kind of community clean-up helps foster a sense of community in Switzerland.”
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