Initially, in the early 1900s, a group of community leaders looked around their communities and saw needs that were unattended. They met, brainstormed and discussed not only what the problems of their times were, but also answered the question “What can we do?” And they took action.
Today, there are Lions Clubs in more than 200 countries with more than 1.4 million members worldwide performing community service. There are currently two chartered Lions Clubs in Scioto County.
Now, more than 100 years later, the concept of taking actions and answering the question “What can we do about the most urgent needs of our day?” is at the heart of a Lions Club. It’s one thing to join together for social interactions, and Lions do — it’s kind of like catching up on the local gossip at the beauty parlor or the barber shop or attending a church social. It feels good, but there is no action component.
I believe every citizen of our communities attempts to help others they encounter in distress daily. However, many of us have our own problems, limited resources, lack the vision or the energy to tackle the causes of the most serious issue of the day. You may feel you need help yourself just getting through the day.
There is more of a need for service clubs and working together today than in our previous history. The focus and needs have changed from merely being simple tasks to being more complex. Major issues such as drugs abuse, homelessness, hunger, under- or unemployment, obesity, terrorism, youth development, and the list goes on, which require getting to the causes for long-term solutions, not just working on the symptoms.
Re-organize the Portsmouth Lions Club and/or chartering a new club in the community will be nothing more than joining together, discussing current needs and taking action. However, you will have the support of the world’s largest service organization. What issue is in your heart that you are willing to contribute to solutions. Perhaps loneliness, hunger, homelessness, drugs or the developing self-reliant youth.
Our most pressing issues today may be more than the brief issues listed above and may include competent leaders with the ability to cope with ambiguity, fragmentation of rapidly changing conditions, the less-than-stellar performance of our schools, repercussion of excessive drug use and the failures of parenting for a large percentage of our youth. However, a big issue with many of the younger generations and perhaps elderly might very well be the lack of HOPE. Where is the vision and the expectation for a better tomorrow, where is the hope that tomorrow will be better than today?
When citizens gather, share their concerns, and make the effort to improve the vision and expectations for tomorrow, new concepts, thoughts and hopes are aroused. In general, most may believe acts of kindness benefit the recipient most. However, I believe the giver of the service benefits the most. Giving back by helping others may only serve as an example, but the warm feelings of accomplishment will change your life.
The reasons for reviving the Portsmouth Lions Club and offering other Scioto County communities the opportunity to form a new Lions Club is to set an example for others to emulate and to provide needed service. But most of all, for the members to personally grow in developing hope in their community and beyond. Perhaps existing clubs need to review why they exist today.
A meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m,. May 22 at Giovanni’s, 1925 11th Street in Portsmouth. All community-minded citizens are encouraged to see what Lions are doing and can do.