Community Services of Ventura Downtown Lions
It is especially hard to capture all the community the Ventura Downtown Lions Club provides by simply providing list after list. However, lists do tell our service story about this year.
The motto of Lions International is “We Serve”. We serve our city, county, state, country, and the world.
Service in our City and County
- We distributed food baskets to the needy for Thanksgiving.
- Through our Sight and Hearing Committee we provided for eye exams and glasses for needy youngsters in our community.
- We helped the City purchase new American flags for display on the promenade. Members display flags on the Promenade for Memorial Day, July 4 and Veterans Day.
- We were co-sponsors of the Backpack for Students Project.
- We were co-sponsors of the third annual High School Career Day.
- We provide financial assistance to our club sponsored Boy Scout troop 119.
- Our members support providing maintenance to our unique and wonderful Cottage Home. This home provides a place for foster children. It is especially important as one of the few facilities in the county to provide a place for siblings who would otherwise have to be separated into different foster homes.
- Our members participated in the Salvation Army Bellringer program.
- We host Student Speaker contest each year.
Our club members supported our club winner who went on to win the Zone and Region contests and participated in the District contest allowing the club winner to win additional scholarship monies.
- We held the annual Ventura County East-West All Star High School Football game and, as a prelude, we sponsored the All Star Football banquet for the players and their families prior to that. We awarded more than $4,000 in scholarships.
- We annually host a golf tournament.
Some of the other organizations benefiting from our charities this year:
- American Cancer Society
- Anacapa Middle School (for field trips)
- Camp Teresita Pines
- Canine Companions for Independence
- City of Hope (Renovation of the Family Center)
- Dudley House Barbecue
- Flag Day at a local elementary school
- Food Share
- Fred W. Smith Foundation (scholarships for college)
- Habitat for Humanity
- Lions Clubs International Foundation (disaster relief & much more)
- Lions Eyes Across California and Lions in Sight (eyeglass recycling)
- Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation
- Lions Wilderness Camp (hearing disabled kids)
- Peace poster contest
- Project Understanding
- Salvation Army (in addition to our Bellringer service)
- Lions District MD4 Student Speakers Foundation
- Teen Challenge
- Ventura County Coaches Association
- Ventura YMCA
- Youth exchange (in over 60 host countries)
WHAT WE DID IN ORDER TO SERVE
Some of what we did involved the giving of money. As we all know, that doesn’t grow on trees. So how did we do it?
We spent time doing work
Our members spent time, effort and skills to the many endeavors of this club:
- The annual Ventura County East-West All Star High School Football game and the preceding banquet for the families and players is also a fund-raiser. All tolled, well over 200 hours are spent in planning and running these two activities.
- Hundreds of hours (maybe closer to thousands of hours) were spent on the annual Crab Feast, serving 680 people. This event nets over $50,000. From this, we provided donations to Teen Challenge and the Ventura County Medical Center, Diabetes clinic.
- At the Spaghetti Dinner, members put in roughly 100 hours (not to mention all of the planning time) to hold a very successful community evening. More than a fund-raiser, this is a real social event for us, with everyone pitching in and “getting their hands dirty”. It is a time when members get to know each other, by working side by side.
- We hold our Annual Golf Tournament and along with the award dinner contributing over 100 hours of work – another fundraiser that is a real social event.
- We also reached out to the community and continually serving the needs of other non-profit.
We were involved with Lions International:
Some of the things we did require the existence of an organization beyond our club level. That is where Lions International plays a role. But, just as the service to our community cannot take place without the active involvement of our members, Lions International cannot provide the avenues for service, without committed individuals willing to serve in the broader organization. Our members were actively involved in the District, from the “top down” serving as Officers and committee chairs, participating at the USA-Canada Forum as well as state convention.
We devoted resources to leadership training
This club has been dedicating assets and time to the providing of leadership training to our members for a number of years. The year was no different. Besides our District leadership training we sent members to the USA-Canada Forum, the Lions California Leadership Institute and Leadership Ventura, (the Chamber of Commerce Training Program)
The training pays off. Our members served as both Officers and committee chairs at the District level. These are difficult times for service clubs because of the loss in membership and interest. It takes dynamic leadership to fight that tide, and make the club and district successful.
WHAT WE EXPERIENCED ALONG THE WAY
Being a Lion isn’t all work. We have some good times together. Some fun is centered around our activities to raise money, or provide service. Some of the fun is just for the heck of it.
- We held a White Cane Day. In addition to raising awareness of Lions, we donate to Sight and Hearing causes.
- We had our regular Thursday meetings with a variety of interesting speakers and programs. We had fun, our Tail Twister comes up with great fines and the member’s “happy bucks.”
- We had a great “time and treasure” auction fund-raiser.
- We visit other Lions clubs in the district. Many were visited on multiple occasions. Visitations are a way of cross-polarization between Lions organizations. They are a way of making friends. They are a way of learning that we are not alone in wanting to serve our communities, wanting to be there for those in need right here in our own cities and towns, wanting to be effective in making the world a better, and more peaceful place.
THE BIG PICTURE
This past year alone, the Ventura Downtown Lions Club members performed over a thousand hours of service, through all the activities listed above. The spirit of service is alive and well. Cumulatively, the Ventura Downtown Lions Club raised a significant amount in “Welfare Funds” and granted or distributed approximately over $100,000 back out to our community and beyond. And so many Lions contributed in so many ways.
But it is important to reflect on the impact of this Club year after year, after year in our community and world. Performance of service has been at its root since its beginning some 94 years ago. In the past 25 years alone we have raised over a million for welfare causes. In that time, we have spent well over a million. For many years, we have tried to balance our “in town” expenditures to the “outside the county” donations in a ratio of about 3 to one. This means that over one half million dollars has been donated by this club back to this community in the past quarter century. That is service.**
We have a lot to be grateful for, a lot to be proud of and a lot to celebrate.
Lions Code of Ethics
TO SHOW my faith in the worthiness of my vocation by industrious application to the end that I may merit a reputation for quality of service.
TO SEEK success and to demand all fair remunerations or profit as my just due, but to accept no profit or success at the price of my own self-respect lost because of unfair advantage taken or because of questionable acts on my part.
TO REMEMBER that in building up my business it is not necessary to tear down another’s; to be loyal to my clients or customers and true to myself.
WHENEVER a doubt arises as to the right or ethics of my position or action towards my fellow men, to resolve such doubt against myself.
TO HOLD friendship as an end not a means. To hold that true friendship exists, not on account of the service performed by one to another, but that true friendship demands nothing but accepts service in the spirit in which it is given.
ALWAYS bear in mind my obligations as a citizen to my nation, my state and my community, and to give them my unswerving loyalty in word, act and deed. To give them freely of my time, labor and means.
TO AID my fellow men by giving my sympathy to those in distress, my aid to the weak, and my substance to the needy.
TO BE CAREFUL with my criticism and liberal with my praise; to build up and not destroy.