Maybe you’ve seen the guys in the bright yellow vests volunteering around Waynedale or have dropped off some used eye glasses to some of the collection boxes, but how much do you know about the Lions Club? Just over a year ago, I met some of the Waynedale Lions at the Waynedale Picnic, was greeted and handed a brochure. As your Waynedale Newspaper publisher, community advocate and volunteer, as well as someone who likes to think I have better than average knowledge about Waynedale, I thought the same thing, “what does it mean to be a Lion?”
After a few discussions soon thereafter with Lion Jim Springer, this group began to peak my interest and I decided to attend a meeting. The organization within the group and passion for service these guys displayed was incredible. This particular meeting hosted three clubs from around the area, Waynedale, Foster Park and McMillen; of which I now know meet quite regularly in addition to individual club meetings. It was soon after meeting the rest of the club members, I had learned that many of them have been involved since their mid 20’s who are now seniors. In my experience with service organizations, it is generally hard to keep members who volunteer from year to year, whereas the Lions Club had members spanning over 40 years! I could only think, they must be doing something right to find such passionate individuals.
As this organization is one that you are required to be sponsored by a current member to join, after the meeting Mr. Springer asked me what I had thought and offered to be my sponsor, which was great news because I was ready to learn more about “Lionism” and see how I might be able to fit-in to help and serve those in need. As the months went by, I began to sit in on all the meetings I could attend and become a part of their activities, sharing in stories and laughter alike. It began to occur to me that many of the things the Lions do by in large go unnoticed by the general public. And that their good works are just done for the sake of needing to be done to help local families locally or oversees, not necessarily advertised and somewhat under the radar. I believe this adds to some of the misconceptions and under education of the public, especially younger generations, about not only the local Waynedale Lions, but the international club as a whole.
Three things that I have found interesting about the club over the past year are: 1) The club is not solely a “boys club,” the club boasts active members, males and females alike. 2) 100% of the money raised via donations are given back to assist families in the community or toward other service projects. Members pay a membership fee and raise their own money and allocate it in a separate account for administrative, advertising and other “in-house” costs. 3) Lions International has clubs throughout the world, who solve problems ranging of health & quality of life, environmental betterment, community assistance, children & family aid and more.
I haven’t confirmed that this is where it comes from or maybe it’s just a coincidence, but what it means to me being a part of the Lion Club is being lionhearted. Which by loose definition, “to take every opportunity and constantly be challenged. Learning, developing and seeing beauty in all kinds of moments in life no matter how large or small. Like a lion you respect yourself and others, fighting for what you stand for.”
If you would like to learn more about working with the Lions Club or becoming a member, this is your official invitation to contact me. It only takes a few hours every month to truly reach out and volunteer your time to change a life. This is an organization for all ages, creeds, races and sexes, we ask inquiries only be of lionhearted people who want to lend a helping hand to those in need. Please stop by my office at 2505 Lower Huntington Road in Waynedale or call (260) 747-4535 and ask for Lion Alex.