Remarks of Karen Burns
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.