Lions are among us, but who are the Lions?
Lions are ordinary people from all parts of the world who make a difference in the lives of their neighbors, especially those in need. There are nearly 1.5 million Lions in over 200 countries and geographic areas. Lions are men and women who serve their community here in Carroll County. Anyone 18 years of age can become a Lion. Prior to that, any student aged 12 to 17 can become a member of a Leo Club based in a local school.
In Carroll County, there are 16 Lions Clubs with 593 members and five Leo Clubs. The Lions Clubs are Harney, Hampstead, Deer Park, New Windsor, Lineboro-Manchester, Freedom District, Taneytown, Silver Run-Union Mills, Greater Carroll, Terra Rubra, Valley, Roaring Run, Union Bridge, Westminster, South Carroll and Taylorsville-Winfield. Leo Clubs can be found at Francis Scott Key High School, Century High School, Silver Oak Academy, Liberty High School and South Carroll High School.
What do Lions do?
Lions and Leos have five main global causes: diabetes, vision, the environment, hunger and childhood cancer. Lions and Leos are also on the frontlines in times of disaster helping those affected be hurricane, flood, fire, earthquake or any natural disaster.
Diabetes contributes to more than 5 million deaths a year, making it the eighth-leading cause of death in the world. Lions and Leos are confronting this global health emergency by raising awareness of diabetes through Strides events such as walks, runs or dances, expanding access to care through screening and treatment programs, and improving quality of life through diabetes camps and community recreational programs.
Lions and Leos save sight. Since Helen Keller challenged Lions to become “Knights of the Blind” in 1925, we have improved eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Today, 80 percent of vision impairments are preventable or curable, so our service is more important than ever. Lions screen vision, educate communities, build clinics and support the blind and visually impaired through assistive technology and vocational training programs. We work to preserve the precious gift of sight for the world.
Nearly 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night. That is why Lions and Leos work hard to address this global need by distributing food to school children, stocking local food banks, creating sustainable community gardens and leading community food drives to fight hunger.
The health of our planet is essential to life. The environment impacts the quality of our air and water, the availability of food and medicine, the health and beauty of our local communities, and the future of us all. Lions and Leos are meeting environmental challenges at the local and global level by planting millions of trees, organizing recycling programs, providing clean drinking water and cleaning up communities to help preserve our environment for generations to come. A healthy planet is fundamental to our well-being.
Every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer and less than half of the world’s children have access to effective care. Children who survive cancer are often left with debilitating effects that can impact their physical development and ability to learn. Lions and Leos are answering the call to expand access to life-saving treatment and support for children and their families. We are working to give children with cancer a second chance at life.
How can I become a Lion? Most Lions Clubs have websites and Facebook pages. Look for us there. You can also find a club using the club locator on the Lions International website: https://directory.lionsclubs.org/?language=EN. You can also call Lion Susan Bonura at 443-745-1281.
Susan Bonura is district governor of Lions Clubs District 22-W consisting of Carroll, Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties, and a member of the South Carroll Lioness Lions Club.