Helping community through Lions ClubPublished 8:55am Saturday, February 16, 2013
I am a female, and I am a member of the Clanton Lions Club.
Does this surprise you? If so, you might not know that the club began welcoming female members last year and now has five, in addition to its 25-plus male membership base.
I officially joined in November 2012 and have since attended numerous lunch meetings and the annual banquet held in December.
Nearly every Friday, I meet my fellow Lions at Clara’s Country Café in Clanton for our weekly lunch meeting, and most weeks, we enjoy fellowship with each other before listening to guest speakers from groups and organizations in Chilton County and beyond.
Our most recent speaker was Mary Beth Wyatt, executive director of the Chilton County YMCA, who first shared her childhood memories of playing youth sports at the Y and then talked about how the organization not only helps children find friends and faith, but also how it enhances parents’ lives and touches the entire community.
Something else you might not know about Clanton’s chapter of the Lions Club is that it has been in existence for 65 years and is one of 46,000 clubs that comprise Lion’s Club International, the world’s largest service club organization supporting sight, health and youth volunteer programs.
For instance, members all over the world work on projects such as Sight for Kids to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eye health and eye care for millions of children through free eye screenings, glasses and treatments.
In the short time I have been privileged to say I belong to the Clanton Lions Club, I have learned it is and should be more than just having lunch with friends once and week and relaxing while someone else tells me what they are doing to help others.
Being a member of a civic club is an ongoing chance to find some way to help somebody somewhere by serving.
I was a member of my high school’s Leo Club, a branch of Lions Club specifically for youth, and I remember walking around the football stadium on Friday nights asking fans if they wanted to purchase rolls of LifeSaver-type candy to benefit the Alabama Sight Foundation.
As an adult member of the Lions Club, I need to apply that same effort now in aiding those in need locally and globally while remembering it’s not about me. It’s about what I can do to help.
–Emily Beckett is a staff writer for The Clanton Advertiser. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.