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Courtesy of International Association of Lions Clubs

The History
The International Association of Lions Clubs began as the dream of Chicago businessman Melvin Jones. He believed that local business clubs should expand their horizons from purely professional concerns to the betterment of their communities and the world at large.
Jones' own group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed. After contacting similar groups around the country, an organizational meeting was held on June 7, 1917, at the LaSalle Hotel in Chicago. The new group took the name of one of the groups invited, the "Association of Lions Clubs," and a national convention was held in Dallas in October of that year. A constitution, by-laws, objects and code of ethics were approved.
Among the official objects adopted in those early years was one which read, "No club shall hold out the financial betterment of its members as its object." This object has remained one of the association's main tenets ever since.
Just three years after its formation, the organization became international when the first club in Canada was established in 1920. Major international expansion continued as clubs were established, particularly throughout Europe, Asia and Africa during the 1950s and 60s.
Perhaps the single event having the greatest impact on the association's service commitment occurred in 1925 when Helen Keller addressed the Lions at their international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio USA. It was there that she challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness."
In 1990 Lions launched their most aggressive sight preservation effort to date, SightFirst. The more than US$130 million-plus 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.
Broadening its role in international understanding, the association helped the United Nations form the Non-Governmental Organizations sections in 1945, and continues to hold consultative status today. Each year, during The Lions Day With The United Nations ceremonies, an award is presented to the grand prize winner of the Lions International Peace Poster Contest.
Since those first years, the association has grown to include 1.4 million men and women in more than 44,000 clubs located in approximately 185 countries and geographical areas.
 
The Name
The proper name of the association is "The International Association of Lions Clubs." Many Lions, however, prefer the use of the shorter form of "Lions Clubs International."
 
The Emblem
Throughout the world, Lions are recognized by the emblem they wear on their lapels. It
consists of a gold letter "L" on a circular purple field. Bordering this is a circular gold area with two lion profiles at either side facing away from the center. The word "Lions" appears at the top, and "International" at the bottom. Symbolically, the lions face both past and future -- proud of the past and confident of the future. Lions wear their emblem with pride.
 
The Motto
The motto of every Lion is simply "We Serve." What better way to express the true mission of Lionism?
 
The Slogan
The slogan of the association is "Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nation's Safety (LIONS).
 
The Official Colors
The royal colors of purple and gold were selected as the official colors when the association was organized in 1917. Purple stands for loyalty to friends and to one's self, and for integrity of mind and heart. Gold symbolizes sincerity of purpose, liberality in judgement, purity in life and generosity in mind, heart and purpose toward humanity.
 
Leadership for the Future
Since 1917, local Lions clubs have offered people just like you the opportunity to give something back to their communities. From involving members in projects as local as cleaning up an area park or as far-reaching as bringing sight to the world's blind, Lions clubs have always embraced those committed to building a brighter future for their community. The world has changed...and so have we.
Today, with more than 1.4 million men and women members in more than 180 countries, Lions have expanded their focus to help meet the ever-increasing needs of our global community.
 

 
We provide millions of dollars of support to an extensive international program dedicated to eradicating preventable blindness; we finance vocational training to help the world's underprivileged and disabled gain economic independence; we sponsor drug awareness and education programs for youths around the world; and more.
Our faces and our programs may have changed to meet new needs and greater demands, but our mission has never wavered: "We Serve."
And, we continue to serve in ways that have made us a global leader in humanitarian assistance, community welfare and promotion of international understanding.
 
The Individual Achievement ... United in Purpose
As individuals, Lions are people of tireless drive, uncommon spirit and ambitious goals. United in efforts through more than 44,000 individual clubs around the world, Lions Clubs International is a strong organization with a proud history of accomplishment.
But our efforts and our future ability to serve the growing population of those in need in our own communities, across our country and around the world depend on the involvement of a new generation of Lions. A generation of individuals committed as we are to eradicating reversible blindness, preserving the environment and building self-esteem in young people. A generation that knows that we can accomplish great things if we work together.
 
The Outstanding Programs
As Lions, our goal is to make a difference--and we have--over and over again with programs that succeed.
Service to people who are blind and who are visually-impaired has always been one of our most significant programs. Today, the Lions SightFirst program is dedicated to eradicating preventable and reversible blindness worldwide. Lions operate the vast majority of eye banks throughout the world and have donated hundreds of millions of dollars toward research, training and rehabilitation for people who are blind..
The Lions Youth Outreach program focuses on volunteerism and steers young people away from harmful behaviors such as gang involvement, violence and substance abuse. Lions award thousands of academic scholarships every year and literacy and vocational training in underprivileged areas are also high on Lions clubs' service agenda.
Through participation in Lion-guided Leo clubs, youths worldwide learn leadership skills and the importance of community service. Lions also sponsor International Youth Camps and youth exchanges, bringing together young people from around the world to share their cultures and friendships. The Lions International Peace Poster Contest helps educate children about the importance of world peace and international cooperation.
 
New Dimensions
For all of us, personal time is a valuable commodity. How you choose to spend your time is an important consideration. Volunteering as a Lion can make a difference for you too.
We believe that time invested with a Lions club yields an invaluable return: an added dimension to your personal and professional life. While providing the framework for you to serve your community, a Lions club also offers opportunities for individual growth.
Leadership Ability--Whether you lead a meeting, spearhead a fund raising effort or organize a project, Lions clubs provide opportunities to learn the skills that get the job done. Increased self-confidence and self-esteem flow naturally from making things happen when you work with your Lions club.
Business Skills---You can improve your public speaking and presentation skills while you communicate with others on important social issues. First-hand experience in budgeting projects, planning activities and motivating others in your Lions club can also enhance your professional abilities.
Networking--Interact with other professionals who have come together through Lions clubs to work toward common goals and to have a meaningful impact on your community.
 
Service
More than ever, people with vision problems, our senior community, our youth and the disadvantaged around the world need your help.
Our commitment to serve holds strong. You can help.
By participating in a local Lions club, you can help meet pressing needs in your own community and have a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of people around the world.


 Copyright 2004-17 Centerville Lions Club