The Anza Lions Club dinner meeting, held Monday, Oct. 16, entertained special guests Mike Jones, the Lions district governor for District 4-L5, Riverside and San Bernardino counties; Bill Hannon, first vice district governor for District 4-L5; Ronald Charleston, second vice district governor for District 4L5 and their cabinet. Anza Lions Club is one of 47 clubs in the district.
The meeting began in typical fashion with the local Lions discussing plans for upcoming events. President Mimi Brown reported on the progress of certain projects and revealed the successes of current activities, such as the group’s successful “Paint & Sip” art painting fundraiser and the ever popular gymkhanas.
Plans were made outlining the last gymkhana of the year; prizes and buckles will be awarded to the high point earners of the 2017 season. The event will feature a vet clinic, grooming clinic, first aid for horses, a farrier clinic and raffles, as well as the buckle awards.
Brown added that the Lions will be assisting the Anza Civic Improvement League with their coat drive and Russell Kitchen of KOA with his toy collection events.
A lasagna dinner was served with salad, bread and desserts.
The district governor and his cabinet were introduced. They represented Lions clubs from Temecula, Apple Valley, Yucaipa, Spring Valley and Jurupa. In total, there are 47 Lions clubs that make up Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Jones spoke of his project, “Canine Companions for Independence,” an organization that strives to give one specially trained service dog to a deserving person every day of the year. Recipients of these dogs are people with post-traumatic stress disorder, people with hearing disabilities, diabetics and children and adults with autism.
Jones also educated the group about a pilot program, “Lions Diabetes Camp,” which is a getaway camp for teens 13 through 16 years old with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. They and their families get diabetes education and take part in fun camping activities. The Lions Camps at Wrightwood and Teresita Pines offer a campfire area, archery range, volleyball, basketball, hiking, swimming, a climbing wall and a gaga ball pit.
Hannon talked about his inspiring time at the Lions Club International USA Canada Leadership Forum in Portland, Oregon. Over 2,500 Lions attended and participated in leadership training and motivational lectures by special guests. He described the emotional reaction that he and the audience had while listening to author and speaker Jen Bricker, although severely disabled and orphaned, still went on to be a successful, ambitious and well-adjusted person. She travels worldwide giving motivational speeches.
Hannon said that 40 years ago, there were no women Lions, but today, women make up about 44 percent of the membership of the club. He joked that this change is great because women get things done, while men can become easily distracted.
Charleston concluded the presentations talking about new members, membership drives and the Lions Club International’s accomplishments, history and the plans for the Lions Centennial celebration next year.
The Lions Club International is one of the best-rated charities in the world with zero administrative costs, unlike other organizations that take a percentage of the money donated for salaries and other operating costs, he stressed.
The Lions Clubs were initially formed in 1917 to help people in need. In 1925 Helen Keller challenged the Lions Clubs International to become “Knights for the Blind,” which the Lions Clubs accepted. The clubs are now known worldwide for providing services for blind individuals by providing free glasses, vision screenings for adults and through the KidSight USA program, which screens children from six months through 6 years of age. However, there are many other things that Lions Clubs are or have been involved in through the years, include eradicating river blindness in Central America, measles throughout the world, at-risk youth programs, disaster relief anywhere in the world as needed, diabetes, pediatric cancer, environmental programs, student speaker programs, international peace poster, just to name a few.
The Lions Clubs International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, meaning any money collected from the public goes back to the public. No administrative or fundraising fees are taken out of any donations.
Lions Clubs International has been nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize twice, and there have been at least two former presidents of the United States who were and are members of Lions Clubs: President Gerald Ford and President Jimmy Carter. Lions Clubs International also holds a seat at the United Nations, and Lions founder Melvin Jones was part of the group of people that were instrumental in the formation of the United Nations.
Charleston went over the plans for the 2018 Centennial celebrations, including a huge float in the Rose Parade, and encouraged the Anza Lions to become involved in the process. He also showed off some new Lions apparel, such as T-shirts, hoodies and bags imprinted with colorful artwork.
“The Lions motto is ‘We Serve,’ and you have in Anza a dedicated group of individuals that are examples of what Lions Clubs believe in through their many projects to help make your community a better place to live. If you ever need any help with the needs of your community, I urge you to contact the Anza Lions Club,” he said.
For information on the Lions Club Diabetes Camp, visit www.lionsdiabetescamp.org.