Summer is upon us and the Santa Monica Lions Club is excited to announce they will be resuming monthly in-person meetings on Wednesday, July 14, at the Elks Lodge 906, located at 1040 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. We will be having dinner meetings now, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month. For the first meeting on the 14th, we are happy to have Councilman Phil Brock speaking about what is happening in Santa Monica. If you are interested in attending, please contact Yoriko Fisher at yorikofisher@gmail.com or 443-883-1101. Several potential new members have already reached out and are coming – do you want to join us too?

For our last general membership meeting via Zoom (board meetings will continue to meet on Zoom) we were fortunate to have our three Young Leaders In Service Award recipients join us and share the community service projects they worked on during the pandemic. These awards recognize middle and high school students who complete either 50 or 100 hours of community service over a twelve month period. A silver award is presented to those with a minimum of 50 hours and a gold award is given to those students that complete at least 100 hours. Two of the students, Arden Brown and Siddhartha Shendrikar, both from New Roads School, received silver awards. Alyssa Dean, a student at Palisades Hight School, received the gold award.

Arden primarily worked as a Teen Talk volunteer, providing support for teens with social and mental health issues via the Teen Talk texting app. She was also a judge for the middle school debate tournament and picked up produce for the Karsh Center food program. She is going to be a senior next year, and not surprisingly, hopes to study and become a therapist.

Siddhartha primarily worked in the healthcare sector as his mother is a doctor. He was a Covid-19 screener for Providence St. John’s urgent care and worked at a vaccination clinic for the South Asian Network. He also served as a judge for the middle school debate tournament, while helping with food delivery for the Westside Food Bank and the South Asian Network. He is going to be a senior next year.

Alyssa’s primary project was started with her friend Julia, whose brother has special needs. With schools closed, he and his schoolmates found it difficult to learn and manage the disruption to their schedules. To help fulfill the needed individualized interaction, Friend & Me was created to work one-on-one via Zoom with each child, helping with them classwork, having conversations and playing games. In addition Alyssa was an ambassador for the Yallwest Book Festival, part of the Sages & Seekers program to create dialogues and breakdown stereotypes between teens and seniors and writing letters to children in other countries to teach them English. Alyssa will also be a senior next year.

Lions members were impressed with the ingenuity and commitment these students showed during one of the most difficult times in our history. We hope they will continue the work they do and we hear from them again next year. To learn more about the Young Leaders In Service Program, please check out the Santa Monica Lions club website, https://e-clubhouse.org/sites/santamonica/index.php.