DOWNEY - After an eight-year absence, Lions Clubs International is returning to Downey, pledging to promote service and volunteerism, while supporting local projects in the community."We're excited to be back in Downey," said Larry Dicus, District Governor for 48 Lions clubs stretching from Long Beach to Pasadena to Covina. "We're here to help you - we want you to know that you're joining an organization that's a solid organization in the area." Inside Café 'N Stuff restaurant, surrounded by a dozen community members, Dicus explained the purpose of Lions Clubs International and urged those in attendance to consider taking on leadership roles in the club. "We have over 46,000 clubs in more than 202 countries and nearly 1.3 million members," said Dicus, a member since 1996. "In 1925, Helen Keller asked us to be nice to the blind and since then we've provided over $300 million for eye care." In addition to their sight first program, dedicated to fighting blindness, Lions Clubs International has also provided resources to youth programs, disaster relief and humanitarian aid. "We bring a lot of benefits to the community," said Dicus. "We work hand in hand and 100 percent of the money we raise goes back into the community." Before joining the Lions club of Bellflower, Ted Edmiston was a faithful member of the original Downey chapter. "I had perfect attendance, if I remember right," said Edmiston with a laugh. "I've been a member for 33 years and my father was a Lion before me." Edmiston, who sits on the Board of Trustees at Cerritos College, attributes one main factor for the closure of the Downey club. "We got old," he said. "The base of the community started changing and we weren't good at change." Dicus said the group has collected the names of 16 people interested in joining, but hopes to have 20 by the beginning of the year. "We encourage people to invite their friends," he said. "Once they see our enthusiasm about serving our community, we hope they will join us." Several local cities have Lions clubs including Norwalk, Bell Gardens, Pico Rivera, Paramount, Bellflower and Lakewood.
********** Published: November 20, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 31