Last year I bought my Dad a digital frame for Father’s Day and loaded it with old family photos. Since then I’ve been updating it regularly. A few weeks ago, I stumbled onto an old picture our local newspaper ran with me standing next to a table full of donated eyeglasses. I’d completely forgotten about that old photo which was taken at my family’s business. Dad was a member of the Lion’s Club in my hometown and our business became a collection point for the Lion’s Club Eyeglass Recycling Program. Of course, curiosity got the best of me and I had to see if that program was still in existence.
And I’m happy to report it is alive and well. In fact, when areas of Sri Lanka were devastated by the tsunami of 2004, the Lion’s donated 100,000 pairs of eyeglasses to those displaced by the tragedy so they could see to carry on with their daily lives. (See my blog on Soles4Souls.) According to The World Health Organization, 153 million people have uncorrected refractive errors (near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism). Most of these vision impairments are quickly diagnosed and easy to treat with corrective lenses. However, millions of people in developing nations are pushed deeper into poverty simply because they don’t have glasses. They can’t learn, because reading is difficult. They can’t work to the best of their ability, because they can’t see clearly.
Small business owners understand the importance of staying true to your company’s mission. Lion’s Club members are business and community leaders and throughout the years, they have remained true to their commitment of service to their communities. Today there are 45,000 Lion’s Clubs and 1.3 million members internationally, according to the club’s web site. And while the Lion’s Clubs continue to meet face-to-face as they did when my dad was a member, they have evolved with time. There are cyber clubs that meet online and special interest clubs, as well.
In our world of instant social networking and rapid fire media, it’s nice to step back in time and find some of the traditional organizations with their own style of networking around the world continue to be effective today. Members of the Lion’s Club help the world see a better tomorrow, and we should all say thank you for their commitment to tradition.