On Oct. 2 the White House Champion of Change panel will recognize Lions Clubs as agents of change, honoring everyday Americans doing extraordinary things in their community.
There will be an event at the White House which will bring Lions and government administrators and agencies together to discuss areas of mutual interest and priority, including reading/literacy, health services and more.
There are 1.35 million Lion members in 46,000 clubs in 207 countries and geographic areas. The Dexter Lions Club is just a small part of this organization, but they have a core belief with every Lions Club in the world—our community is what we make it. They strive to make problems smaller and the community better by giving help where help is needed, with unmatched integrity and energy. Their motto is “We Serve.”
In 1925 Helen Keller addressed the Lions Club International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio and challenged the Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." Since Aug. 20, 1953, when the Dexter Lions Club was founded, it has worked tirelessly to fulfill Keller's challenge to aid the blind and visually impaired.
Locally, Dexter Lions provide eye screenings and purchase glasses for low income community members and they support eye screening for grades K-12 in the Dexter Community Schools.
Members collect used eyeglasses that are cleaned, read and made available to deprived countries and Native American nations.
The Dexter Lions support Leader Dogs for the Blind, where blind individuals may be sent to Rochester where they are provided with room, board, a Leader Dog and training at no cost.
The Lions also support the Michigan Eye Bank, an organization that collects, evaluates, and prepares human corneas (front part of the eye) for shipment to eye surgeons for transplantation, restoring sight to over 900 Michigan citizens each year. Donations from the Dexter Lions allow the continuation of several critical eye research projects each year.
Dexter Lions support the Michigan Braille Transcribing Fund, producing the best Braille materials essential for the educational needs for sight impaired students and individuals.
They donated funds to purchase a special camera for Project KidSight which effectively detects a potential serious vision problem of a very young and non-verbal child.
Penrickton Center for the Blind, a unique non-profit agency, provides five-day residential, day care, and consultation/evaluation services to blind, multi-disabled children ages 1-12. Each program is individually designed to promote independence in all aspects of daily living. Dexter Lion’s donations help this project.
They provide funding and participation in a project called “Winter Camp for the Blind” a three-day winter experience for the blind which includes many supervised outdoor activities held at the Outdoor Center of the Battle Creek school system.
Although Lions Clubs are known for their involvement with blind programs, the Dexter Lions don’t limit themselves to that.
The Dexter Lions support transportation for seniors by donating to the Washtenaw Area Value Express shuttle program.
One fundraiser is specific to a local program, between Nov. 23 and Dec. 23, the Dexter Lions sponsor the annual tree and wreath sale. All proceeds support Dexter area community services and charities.
Everywhere they work, Lions make friends, with children who need eyeglasses, with seniors who don’t have enough to eat or struggle with transportation, and with people we may never meet.
As the economic downturn puts more Americans at risk and increases the strong demand and momentum of social services, the government is hoping that nonprofit volunteer groups can increase their ability to shoulder more responsibility.
Dexter is blessed with many dedicated people who volunteer their time willingly in various organizations to improve our community. The Lions Club organization is one that has risen to the challenge and is proud to be recognized as a “Champion of Change."
If you’re interested in volunteering, leading projects, networking and having fun – you can do all of this and more as a Lions club member. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call President Jim Warden at 734-426-3854.