By Susan DeRemer

July 1 always marks a new year for Lions everywhere, but this is a special year. This year we begin our 100th year, which will culminate in our founding city of Chicago in June, at our international convention.

This year at our international convention in Japan, our new International President, Bob Corlew, announced that our Lions theme for this centennial year is “New Mountains to Climb.” This represents new challenges and new opportunities for Lions Clubs to meet the changing needs of the world and our local communities. As Santa Monica Lions we are more committed than ever to helping our Santa Monica/Westside community through protecting our environment, feeding the hungry, helping our youth and of course saving vision.

However, as Lions we can’t do it alone, we need your help. Please consider joining us for any of our service projects this year. You can join us as individuals, with a group of friends or as a corporate volunteer project.  This year the community service projects we will be working on include, helping out at the Westside Family Health Services, ringing bells for the Salvation Army, delivering meals for Meals On Wheels West, providing service to Military Women In Need, cleaning beaches for Heal the Bay, planting trees in Santa Monica, helping the Santa Monica Public Library and providing free eye screenings and other vision related services through our 3rd Annual Lions Eyes Across California project.

In addition to the service projects we have planned this year, we will also be hosting our 62nd Annual Pancake Breakfast on Sept. 17 at the Boys & Girls Club and spending the afternoon at the races with our 2nd Annual Kentucky Derby Day on May 6. These events raise money that goes directly to nonprofit organizations that provide invaluable services to our local community. New this year will be a Lions Eyes Walk on March 18th that will coincide with our Lions Eyes screening.  Funds raised from the walk will be used to match a Lions International grant for vision education and support groups throughout Los Angeles County. Your help as a volunteer for any of these fundraising events would also be greatly appreciated.

And if, as you look at all we hope to do this next year to make our Santa Monica/Westside community a better place, it sounds like a great way to give back or make some new friends, consider becoming a Lion. We only meet twice a month for a quick lunch, from 12:15-1:30, on the first and third Thursday of each month at the Best Western Gateway on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and 20th Street.

For more information about our projects please check out our Facebook page or contact Susan DeRemer at 310-442-9513 or santamonicalion@gmail.com

For more information about the Lions Club, visit www.facebook.com/smlions, http://e-clubhouse.org/sites/santamonica, call 310-623-4499 or reach them at P.O. Box 3435, Santa Monica, CA 90408.

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