By Susan DeRemer

When I tell people that I belong to the Santa Monica Lions Club I am often met with a simple question – What’s the Lions Club?  Upon replying it is a service club, the next question is – What’s a service club?

Ninety-five years ago, the Santa Monica Lions Club was formed by business leaders that worked and lived in Santa Monica.  They wanted a chance to network and give back to the community. They met weekly for lunch, found projects that helped others and had fundraising events to cover the costs.  Membership grew and the Lions, along with other service clubs, such as Rotary and Kiwanis, became the cornerstones of the community.

As time progressed, our lifestyles changed, our community grew and evolved, and the SM Lions transitioned to reflect these changes.  In 1987 when women could join Lions Clubs, Carol Ann Emmitt, along with Dot Gelvin, became the first women in the Santa Monica Club that same year. With the advent of technology work schedules altered, traffic increased and communications changed.  Lions meetings shifted to two lunch meetings a month with monthly board meetings in the evening. But through it all, the concept of community service remained a constant.

This year members from our SM Lions Club have participated in a diabetes screening and education program, prepared dinner for families at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, provided an opportunity for high school student to develop their speaking skills while earning up to $21,000 in scholarship support, and received grant applications from local nonprofits requesting funding.

On March 16 we will present our 5th Annual Lions Eyes Across California event at Virginia Avenue Park from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.  We will be offering our first children’s eye screening, as well as our first diabetes screening. We will continue collecting used eyeglasses and hearing aids, checking adult eyes and offering free reading glasses.  

The tradition of service continues to be a priority for Lions.  As our motto states, we serve. Would you like to be part of building a better community?  Please consider joining us for any of the projects we have each month that include, helping the environment, serving our veterans, promoting healthy lifestyles, etc.  If you are interested, please contact Susan at 310-442-9513.

To learn more about the Santa Monica Lions, you are welcome to attend a lunch meeting on the 1st or 3rd Thursday of each month. Please contact to Marilyn at santamonicalion@gmail.com to RSVP for lunch. Our meetings are held at the Elks Lodge at 1040 Pico, Santa Monica from 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.

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