Sunday, April 9, 2017

Remarks by DG

Remarks of Karen Burns
District Governor
Work Session ASD Board
April 24, 2017 

My name is Karen Burns I have the honor of being the current District Governor for 42 Lions Clubs in Southeast, Southwest and Southcentral Alaska. This is the Centennial year for Lions International. Founded by a Chicago Insurance executive, Melvin Jones in 1917, we have grown to become the world largest service organization with 1.4 million members in 214 countries and regions. Lions were  the first service club to admit women into full membership and leadership roles. Our motto is  “We Serve.”

A bit of history. You know us best for our work in sight conservation. Early in our history Helen Keller challenged Lions to be the “Knights of the Blind”. Our response has been to help restore  sight to 30 million people world-wide. We fund research and have established eye hospitals throughout the world.

We are Lions International. We have a special relationship with the UN?  Melvin Jones was one of the first national leaders to stand with Eleanor Roosevelt in her fight for the Declaration of Human  Rights when the UN was founded.

In Alaska each year we provide vision screening for thousands of school children and our clubs work with school nurses to provide glasses for low income children and youth. This year local lions clubs have provided 5 therapy dogs for veterans and others suffering from emotional distress and PTSD.

Our Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) partners with clubs on major projects: we furnished  the recovery room at the new Alaska blood bank and provided disaster relief for those impacted by  the 2014 Willow wildfire.  Our largest gift in Alaska was $1 million in 1965 (real money then) to relocate villages on Kodiak Island from the Tsunami that had claimed 50 lives in ’64 quake to the new community is now known as Port Lions. 

In this centennial year we are celebrating our tradition of service with the phrase “Where There is a  need, There is a Lion.”  The Anchorage School District has a need for a quality SEL curriculum.  We are proud to fill this need  though the Lions Quest Program. 

Lions Quest Making a Difference

By Karen Burns, District Governor

Lions of Alaska received a grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation for $100,000 in February.  Northrim Bank has partnered and is in support with your local Lions by providing a monetary support in the amount of $30,000.

For the past 30 years Lions have made a major commitment to children and youth through this specialized K-12 Curriculum Lions Quest (LQ). It is now being used in over 70 countries by 13 million children and youth. It has been translated in over 30 languages. This curriculum was completely revised in 2015 and was ranked in the top 9 among 380 programs that were reviewed by CASEL (the collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning). LQ deals with the specific themes of:
  1. A connection to school;
  2. Promote positive behavior; 
  3. Teach character education; 
  4. Teach anti-bullying techniques; 
  5. Teach drug and alcohol awareness; and 
  6. Teach service learning so children are taught at an early again about service to their community.
It is designed to be taught in a 30-45 minute session once each week.  Once in place LQ will be part of the ASD middle school curriculum for at least five years.

The Anchorage School District (ASD).  ASD has had a SEL curriculum in place for over 30 years. The State School Board mandates that a SEL curriculum be in place in each district. The current SEL curriculum in place is over a decade old and not as comprehensive as LQ. Our LQ team has built on the good work and contacts made by PDG Diana Cummings and other Lions in past years that opened doors for this effort. Supt. Dr. Deena Paramo and senior staff have reviewed LQ and asked for its placement starting in the 2017-18 academic year targeting the ten comprehensive middle schools (7th and 8th grade).

This will serve some 7,500 students. In the 2017-18 academic year the curriculum will be introduced to the students of Central, Clark, Golden View, Gruening, Henshew, Mears and Miirror Lake. In the 2018-19 the program will expand to include Begich, Romig and Wendler.  The program will also serve 6th grade students in the three schools where they are included in the Middle school design (Clark, Mirror Lake and Begich).  Dr. Paramo has agreed to make a number of public and media appearances to thank Lions and affirm the value of LQ.

The ASD research department indicates that 52 languages are spoken by the the youth of these ten schools that will participate in Lions Quest. 49% of these students are identified as low-income.  ASD leadership feel that this quality curriculum will have a positive and measurable impact in helping the District meet its 90% graduation rate by 2020.

The clubs of our district matched the LCIF grant with designated contributions of $33,333 and had these funds in hand by February 28, 2017.  So that $65,000 of the LCIF grant can be released for year one. The LQ leadership team proposed that the 49A Foundation meet one half of the district match from its funds.  That request was voted on at our local cabinet meeting. 

We will need to make a huge curriculum order this spring. The Northrim gift of $30,000 will be made in 2017 through the State of Alaska Education Tax credit program and used for curriculum.  LQ will further enhance our relationship to ASD and build on our work with Peace Posters vision screening, and direct support to a number of schools. Key Lions will attend the one day training session, clubs will adopt middle schools, observe LQ sessions and be involved in an aggressive PR campaign including new TV Spots and signage in schools.

49A Leadership Team for the LQ grant are: DG Karen Burns (grant administrator),  Lion Walt Hays (project Administrator), PCC Ev Burk (fiscal officer) and senior advisors ID Lewis Quinn, IVDG Jeannine Morse, 2VDG Hal V. Smalley and Lion Jim LaBau.

This is a first step in a long-term strategy; success with ASD will give us credibility and a template so that LQ can be expanded to other school districts in future years.

Your local Lions are committed to the education of our youth.  They hope youth,  the community will become as excited as we are about bringing this program to your children.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lions Clubs Centennial Trivia

Here's a fun game you can play at one of your meetings to see how much your members really know about this great organization they are a part of:

Question 1:  Who is the founder of Lions Clubs International?

Question 2:  What famous woman challenged Lions to be "Knights of the Blind" in 1925?

Question 3:  What is the Lions' motto?

Question 4:  How many people have Lions pledged to help through the Centennial Service Challenge?

Question 5:  True or False -- All Lions can earn special awards for inviting new members through the Centennial Celebration Membership Awards?

Question 6:  In what year will Lions Clubs International officially celebrate its 100th anniversary?

Question 7:  What is the name of Lions' global blindness prevention program?

Question 8:  Finish this sentence.... The Centennial slogan is:  "Where there's a need, there's a _____."

Question 9:  True or False -- Many of the eye banks around the world were founded by Lions.

Question 10:  What is the name of Lions International art contest for children ages 11-13?

Question 11:  True or False -- There are Lions clubs in more than 200 countries and geographic areas around the world?

Question 12:  Lions Clubs became international in 1920 by chartering a club in which country?

Question 13:  What is the name of the youth program that Lions launched in 1957 to encourage young people to serve their communities?

Question 14:  True or False -- Women are now the fastest growing segment of new members in Lions Clubs?

Question 15:  True or False -- Mother Teresa received the Lions Humanitarian Award in 1986.

Question 16:  True or False -- Lions have pledged $30 million for vaccines to help save children from measles?

Question 17:  Which former president of the United States has been an active Lion for over 50 years?

And the answers are:
A1:  Melvin Jones
A2:  Helen Keller
A3:  We Serve
A4:  100 million plus
A5:  True
A6:  2017
A7:  SightFirst.
A8:  Lion
A9:  True
A10: Lions International Peace Poster Contest or Peace Poster
A11: True.  Lions are in over 210 countries and geographic areas.
A12: Canada
A13: Leo Clubs
A14: True.  40% of new Lions are women
A15: True
A16: True
A17: Jimmy Carter

Monday, March 27, 2017

100 Years of Lions

The following article was published in the 71st Gold Medal Basketball Tournament program honoring our 100 Years of Lions:

100 Years of Lions
The distinguished history of the Lions Clubs International forms the foundation for nearly everything Lions clubs do today.  From our humble beginnings to our commitment to sight initiatives, there is a significant basis for all our humanitarian services.  Knowing and understanding our history gives us perspective and helps us keep our dedication and community thriving.

Lions have been helping people since 1917.  That year, Melvin Jones, a Chicago businessman, encouraged his club, the Chicago Business Circle, to go beyond promoting good business practices.  He convinced the members that selfless service to others would create a better community -- a better world -- for all.

Melvin Jones also saw that a network of clubs working together could do much more than individual clubs acting alone.  He invited similar groups from around the United States to a meeting on June 7, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.  There, the Association of Lions Clubs was born.  Later that year, a convention was held in Dallas, Texas, USA to formally adopt a constitution, by-laws and a code of ethics.  The fledgling group became the International Association of Lions Clubs just three years later in 1920 when a new Lions club was formed in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Perhaps the single event having the greatest impact on the association's service commitment occurred in 1925, when Helen Keller addressed the Lions at the international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA.  It was there that she challenged the Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness."

Broadening its role in international understanding, the association was one of the first nongovernmental organizations invited to assist in the drafting of the United Nations Charter in 1945 and has supported the work of the UN ever since.

In 1957, the Leo Program was created to provide the youth of the world with an opportunity for personal development through volunteering.

In 1968, the Lions Clubs International Foundation was established to assist Lions with global and large-scale local humanitarian projects.  Through our Foundation, Lions meet the needs of their local and global communities.

In 1987, Lions Clubs International became the first major service club to admit women as members.

In 1990, Lions launched their most aggressive sight preservation effort to date, SightFirst.  The program strives to rid the world of preventable and reversible blindness by closing the gap between existing health care services and those that remain desperately needed.

In the 100 years since its founding, the association -- usually called Lions Clubs International (LCI) -- has spread to all corners of the globe, where Lions are welcomed and respected for their vision, integrity, and dedication to our official motto:  "We Serve."

On July 17, 1917, at the invitation of Melvin Jones, delegates met in Chicago.  The only point of contention was the selection of a name for the new organization.  Melvin Jones researched the idea of calling the new organization Lions.  The name Lions was chosen on a secret ballot over several others because the lion stood for strength, courage, fidelity and vital action.  The official name of the association is "The International Association of Lions Clubs" or simply "Lions Clubs International."

The Lions emblem (or logo) is a recognized and respected symbol all around the world.  Although it has been modified and modernized, the basic design dates back to 1919.  It consists of a gold "L" on a blue field surrounded by a gold circle.  On either side of the circle is the profile of a lion's head, one looking back upon a proud past and the other looking optimistically toward the future.

Various forms of the emblem may be downloaded for member and club use from the LCI website.  You should know, however, that the emblem is a registered trademark in most countries and should only be used in accordance with the Lions Club International Trademark Policies, which may be found on the LCI website.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Alaska Centennial Honorarium

The following was presented to District Governor Karen Burns by the Alaska Legislature:

*Honoring the Lions Club Centennial*
The Thirtieth Alaska State Legislature joins the Lions in celebrating their hundredth year of service. From their humble beginnings as a club to improve the community in Chicago to their administration of over 10,000 grants, the Lions Club’s impact can be seen wherever members focus their efforts.

The Lions Club was started in 1917 when Melvin Jones told members of his local business they ought to focus not only on business issues, but to the betterment of their communities and the world. The group took on the name of the “Association of Lions Clubs”, and before the year’s end had adopted a constitution, bylaws, objectives, and a code of ethics.

As the organization grew, it continued working towards the goal of the betterment of the world. The first international growth of the Lions happened with the chartering of a club in Canada in 1920, and just over a decade later the first international convention outside of the U.S. took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Lions took on the challenge of blindness with Helen Keller’s charging of them to be “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness”. To this end, in 1930 the Lions introduced the iconic white cane with a red band as a means of assisting the blind in independent mobility—an idea that went on the become statute in every state in the U.S. and numerous other countries. The club’s fight against blindness continues to this day alongside the numerous other efforts of the club.

In 1968 the Lions Clubs International Foundation was established to support the humanitarian work of the Lions. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed over $826 million in grants to support humanitarian efforts from floods in South Dakota in 1972, to eliminating river blindness in Colombia in 2013.

Alaska Lions carry on the club’s mission in the state with their contributions to vision screening, eyeglass recycling, and the Joint Sight Committee. They provide glasses to the needy, assistance for the visually impaired, and financial assistance to those who are unable to purchase eyeglasses for themselves. The Aurora Borealis Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center has recycled approximately 40,000 pairs of eyeglasses per year, sending roughly 30,000 to eye care missions.

Emphasizing the club’s dedication to bettering their communities, one of the Alaska Lions’ most remarkable contributions was their pivotal role in housing inhabitants from Ag’waneq and Port Wakefield. After the villages were destroyed in the Good Friday earthquake in 1964, the Lions were instrumental in having housing built for the displaced Alaskans, issuing a grant of $1 million dollars to fund the creation of Port Lions.

The Lions Club has contributed in countless ways to improving their communities and the world, demonstrating the value of individuals coming together to make meaningful change. The members of the Thirtieth Alaska State Legislature are honored to celebrate the Lions Club’s 100th year of service, and look forward to their future accomplishments.

PCC Neil Atkinson with Lions Donna Hurley, Sasha Soboleff, and District Governor Karen Burns


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

February Centennial Service Activities

Winter is here and it seems we slow down a little and enjoy the slower pace.  Here's a list of Centennial Service Activities that were reported into MyLCI for the month of February:

Sharing the Vision:

  • Copper River Basin provided vision screening to Glennallen Elementary.  They screened 7 children.  
  • Girdwood Turnagain Arm provided vision screening at Chinook Elementary School.  Screened 518 students and made 8 referrals.  
Engaging our Youth:
  • Anchorage Mt.  McKinley donated $2,000 for the Lions Quest 49A Project.  Funds will be used to start the program in the Anchorage School District.
Relieving the Hunger:
  • Anchorage Mt. McKinley delivered food boxes to Anchorage residents for FISH.
  • Anchorage Mabuhay volunteered to serve lunch at Bean's Cafe.  
  • Juneau Mendenhall Flying Lions assisted in a weekly distribution of food from Helping Hands.  
Ten clubs have completed all four Centennial Service Activity categories:
  1. Anchorage
  2. Kenai
  3. Kodiak
  4. Soldotna
  5. Spenard
  6. Copper River Basin
  7. Juneau Mendenhall Flying Lions
  8. Anchorage Mabuhay
  9. Eagle River Sleeping Lady  Mt.
  10. Wasilla
Way to serve 49A!   #Lions100 

Monday, February 6, 2017

January Centennial Service Activities

Clubs were busy in January completing Centennial Service Projects.  Here's what was reported:

Relieving the Hunger:

  • Anchorage Mabuhay served lunch at Bean's Cafe.
  • Juneau Mendenhall Flying Lions prepared and served lunch for 54 patrons at The Glory Hole, a shelter for the homeless and other needy residents.
  • Mountain View collected food to feed children over the weekend.
  • Anchorage Mabuhay served meals at Kids Kitchen, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing nutritious meals for children at no cost.
  • Anchorage Mt. McKinley delivered food boxes to Anchorage residents for FISH.
  • Soldnota supported the Kenai Peninsula  Food Bank and presented a check for $1,200.  This project began on August 27, 2016, when the Soldotna Lions worked with the Kenai Lions at the annual food bank soup supper selling split the pot tickets. Proceeds from the tickets resulted in $500.00 for the food bank.
Sharing the Vision:
  • Girdwood Turnagain Arm screened 250 children at Chugach Optional School with 11 referrals.  Anchorage Mabuhay assisted.  Girdwood screened 223 children at Northwood School.
  • Anchorage Lions assisted with vision screening at Tudor Elementary and Ptarmigan Elementary.  
  • Soldotna donated 154 pair of eyeglasses to Aurora Borealis.  
  • Kodiak screened 138 with 32 referrals and collected eyeglasses.
  • Kenai Lions helped at the Homeless Connect Project and screened 51 patrons with 27 referrals.  
Engaging Our Youth:
  • Anchorage Mt. McKinley presented awards for peace poster contest.
Protecting Our Environment:
  • Kodiak Lions and Anchorage Mt. McKinley made donations to the District Water Project in memory of Lion Diana Cummings.  
We Serve