Representing New Haven & Fairfield Counties
Lions Clubs International the world’s largest service organization made up of 1,457,000 members dedicated to serving their fellow man in 210 countries throughout the world. Lions Club members work to improve the lives of citizens in over 46,000 communities throughout the world. In District 23a representing New Haven and Fairfield counties there are 49 clubs working to help their towns. Connecticut has over 150 Lions Clubs.
Lions International is in its 104th year. Lions began in June of 1917 when a young Chicago Insurance agent, Melvin Jones, proposed to combine his and other business clubs, to create one strong, influential club with the goal of helping the community and serving humanity without regards to politics, religion, race, or in any way, the personal interests of the members. Over the next few years Lions expanded to other cities and into Canada. In 1925 at its first Convention the keynote speaker was Helen Keller who threw down the gauntlet for Lions to become Knights of the Blind. Lions took up the cause and became the leader in helping the lives of the blind and visually impaired. Many of the things we connect with the blind, such as the white cane, came from Lions. Over the years the followed Lions expanded to countries all over the world. After WWII, as a non-political organization, Lions was one of the founders of the UN where it still holds a seat. Lions continued to expand to more countries and services throughout the world. Today we are in 210 countries, more than are in the UN. If there is a disaster anywhere in the world Lions immediately send aid which is directed through our members in those countries. Lion’s larger focus has expanded beyond helping the visually impaired to a variety of causes. Today in addition to vision our four other major targets are hunger, childhood cancer, the environment and diabetes.
Statewide we have many services including the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation has funded many eye research projects at UConn, Yale and through-out the State and the KidSight eye screening program in which we use high-tech equipment to screen young children’s vision.
District-wise we have many services for the needy. These include our Lions Low Vision Centers supply equipment to maximize the remaining vision for legally blind citizens. Lion Club’s work in their towns to do what is needed to improve their communities and reach out to help those citizens in need. Our entire worldwide membership all striving to follow the Lions Motto: We Serve.