Volunteer Corner | SierraSun.com

Volunteer Corner

Amy Edgett/Sierra SunDon Casler

Thirty-six years. We go back a long way.

Where I lived in Southern California I was active politically. The mayor of town (West Covina) was a past president of the Lions Club and told me he thought it was time I gave back to the community. I was very successful and the Lions Club was a fantastic organization.

Our ability to help those less fortunate in the community and in the world.

Fundraisers, work parties and clubs get together to make profits that we then donate to the community. We contribute to a fund called “Sight First,” in concert with the World Health Organization, to rid the world of preventable blindness. We have raised $200 million, especially for Third World countries. There is a disease, “river blindness,” caused by a parasite in rivers where there is no sanitation. People bathe, wash clothes and swim in that environment where river blindness is prevalent. The Lions Club has put forth $100 million to prevent this disease and $50 million to combat emerging threats. It’s great to be part of the largest service organization in the world.

As of April 2007, Lions Club International had 1,312,016 members in 45,053 clubs and 757 districts in 200 countries and geographical locations.

In 1917 Melvin Jones, a Chicago businessman, believed organizations should be concerned about the betterment of their communities as well as their bottom line. In 1925, Helen Keller asked the Lions to take up the cause of the visually impaired by becoming “Knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” The Truckee Lions Club charter began in 1932. We’ve been around as an organization for 75 years, and are involved in more than our notable programs for sight.

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We are very proud of the Lions Quest in schools, and our club has spent approximately $40,000 in the community training teachers for the drug awareness program. Another Lions project is Camp Dat So La Lee, where we sponsor fourth-grade students from financially underprivileged families to attend a summer camp in the Ruby Mountains near Elko, Nev. Lions from around the world contributed to Hurricane Katrina relief. Another project helps with affordable hearing aids.

The annual community rummage sale, concerts in the park, pancake breakfasts where we team up with the Optimists Club. One of the biggest events this summer was the Ziggy Marley concert. We have a cook trailer and sold beer and other beverages. There was standing room only.

Yes. We had a young girl in the community who was cross-eyed. We determined the problem could be fixed through surgery, sent her to our facility in the Bay Area, and she returned with her vision corrected ” a girl with a different future and huge self-esteem. You’ve never seen a bigger smile in your life. Ask me why I’m a Lion and this is just one of the reasons.

Anyone 18 or older should visit http://www.lionsclubs.org, or call me at 587-3657.