“You can delegate authority, but not responsibility.” Stephen W. Comiskey
Lions Clubs? No, that is not a misspelling for Lion Cubs, something you may see at a local zoo. So which type of Lion am I referring too? I am referring to someone that is a member of Lions Clubs International. These people share a common bond for community service and lending a helping hand to humanity all over the world. These Lions have been around since 1917 when Melvin Jones, a Chicago area businessman, was inspired to expand the scope of his local businesmen's club. Melvin expanded the club's purpose to activities to improve conditions in his community and the world at large.
|These billboards, like Lionism, are worldwide.|
So why did they choose to call themselves lions? Well, the lion has been an icon for humanity for thousands of years, appearing in ancient cultures across Europe, Asia, and Africa. The lion has been a popular symbol of royalty, bravery, and nobleness so its only fitting that someone that is going to exemplify bravery and nobleness through a fight for humanity would call themselves lions.
Lions across globe currently account for over 45,000 clubs from 200 countries including more than 1.3 million volunteers (both men and women) in over 200 countries working toward the goals of Lionism. In the late 1950s, Lions created the Leo Program to provide the youth of the world with an opportunity for personal development through volunteering.
So how am I involved? I am the President of the Downtown Columbus Lions Club in Columbus, Ohio. The Downtown Columbus Lions Club is a diverse group of local men and women who strive to make a difference in the lives of others. Members range in age and experience from new college graduates to those who are established in their careers. Many members (but not all) live or work in the Downtown area and have a vested interest in the future of not only the Downtown area, but also the Columbus Metropolitan Area as a whole.
Our club is only about two years old, but we are 30 members strong and continue to find innovative ways to lend a helping hand. We team up with local not-for-profits to do just about anything: donating money, landscaping, painting, cooking, providing supplies for health fairs, providing eyeglasses for the needy, and the list goes on. The most recent large events we played a role in, include teaming up with the Memorial Tournament (Jack Nicklaus' golf tournament) and the Columbus Marathon to provide volunteers to both of those notable events.
Thanks to our current Ohio District 13-F Governor, Dave Risen, and Past District Governor, Barry Brandt, I came to Brazil bearing gifts. I brought with me two bags of Ohio Lions club pins, enough for each member of the Clube Alto Dos Pinheiros. After another great Brazilian dinner, a meeting, and some conversation, I was surprised with a few tokens of Brazilian hospitality. Daniel Cubas presented me with a pin and a tie clip, Joao Carlos Belda, who works at city hall, presented me with a bag of Sao Paulo books and picture, and the club's President, Mario Unti Jr presented me with the official Clube Alto Dos Pinheiros pin (and enough for each member of the Downtown Columbus Lions Club). After the meeting adjournment, we exchanged pleasantries and I was given a ride back to the hotel by Sandra and Mario. I was there about 3 hours but I took with me strong images of service and purpose 5,000 miles away from home.
|Sandra and Mario Presenting me with gifts|
|The Clube Alto Dos Pinheiros|
|Receiving gifts from Sao Paulo|
|DG Daniel Cubas and I|
A great music video for the trademark Lions' volunteering vest was made approximately one month ago. I wanted to share this because it's a funny video, but you can understand the greater purpose and the fun loving character of the Lions.