Lions are members of community service clubs, dedicated to the idea that the men and women who live in a community are in the best position to know who needs help and why. More than 46,000 strong, these local clubs are part of the world's largest such organization, with over 1.35 million members serving in more than 200 countries and areas. The association is both non-political and non-sectarian. Lions are now best known for their sight-related programs, including SightFirst, the world's largest blindness prevention program.
The world's largest service club association. Lions are men and women who volunteer their time to humanitarian causes. Founded in 1917, the association's motto is "We Serve".
Lions Clubs International is dedicated to helping those less fortunate in their communities and around the world. Cutting across all national, racial and cultural boundaries, activities have included sight conservation and work with the visually impaired, youth programs including drug education and prevention and volunteer programs, diabetes detection and research and work for international cooperation and understanding.
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.
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." They responded, and Lions are now best known for their sight-related programs, including SightFirst, the world's largest blindness prevention program.
District 4-L5 oversees about 42 Lions clubs in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, California. The district is divided into four regions (Desert, North Citrus, South Citrus, & Valley), each having 2 zones. The district provides expertise, training and assistance to ensure the success of all the clubs in the district and serves a communication nexus between the clubs and Lions International.
In 1990, Lions established SightFirst, a US$140 million global initiative to rid the world of preventable and reversible blindness. The unprecedented program joins leading blindness and prevention experts, blindness prevention organizations, governments and Lions volunteers in an effort to establish long-term solutions in eliminating preventable and reversible blindness.
Second only to the Lions' commitment to aiding the blind and visually impaired is a strong dedication to serving young people. The Lions Youth Outreach program challenges young people to learn, to achieve and to serve. By focusing on volunteerism, it steers young people away from harmful behaviors such as gang involvement, violence and substance abuse. The Leo Clubs Program, International Youth Exchange, International Youth Camps and the Lions International Peace Poster Contest are all youth activities sponsored by Lions Clubs International that promote international cooperation and understanding.
Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International (LCI). The foundation's mission is to support the efforts of Lions clubs around the world in serving their local and global communities by funding humanitarian service projects.