Lions: The club is busy with its projects but wants to recruit more people to help. Courtesy photo

It is 2023 and this is the year the Santa Monica Pacific Palisades Lions Club is celebrating 100 years of service to the Westside. With this special year, we are not just looking back at what we have done, but more importantly looking forward to the many things we would like to do.

One of our top priorities is finding passionate younger people to help us expand beyond who we are today, finding new service projects, fun activities and creating a new way forward. It is not often there is a chance to bring new ideas and passions to an established organization with strong worldwide recognition, a well-known local presence a desire to evolve into a more dynamic forward-thinking organization.

What would inspire you this year? Making a difference in the lives of others? Building new connections and sharing your passions? Using combined efforts to make more impact? How could you use your skills and creativity to inspire others? Think about becoming a Lion and help make the difference you want to see in your community.

To start the year off, we are hosting the annual Lions Student Speaker Contest on Wednesday, February 8th at 6 pm at the Elks Lodge in Santa Monica. The topic this year is – Social Media: Connects Us or Isolates Us? This contest is a great chance for high school student to add to their college resumes while earning scholarship money from the Lions Student Speaker Foundation. The winner of the first level of competition receives $100, with the amount increasing as you progress through each level, eventually resulting in a total of $21,500 for your educational expenses. There is still time to register, contact Carole at smpplionssclub@gmail.com.

The SMPP Lions are busy working on the Lions Eyes Across California, which will be returning to Virginia Avenue Park on March 18thfrom 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. As before, free vision screening for both children and adults will be offered, along with free reading glasses and diabetes screenings.

This winter/spring we are resuming our Lions Grants program with money raised from our first annual Godfather of All Spaghetti Dinner. Unfortunately, we will only be able to offer grants on a limited basis, asking a select group of past recipients to apply by March 1st. The dinner was a big hit and will be returning this fall, so we hope to you will join us for a fun evening of entertainment and great food. It is our only fundraising event of the year and your participation will increase the amount of grant funding available next year.

Also coming later this year are the Santa Monica Juneteenth celebration, the SM Arts & Literacy Festival, baking for Veterans and of course – our 100th Anniversary celebration.

If you have ideas of service projects based on your passions, or fundraising activities that would appeal to your peers, please consider becoming a Lion. Better yet, bring some of your friends along with you for more fun. If you are interested in being our guest at dinner meeting the second Wednesday of each month at the Elks Lodge, please contact Yoriko Fisher, at smpplionsclub@gmail.com or Kingsley Fife at 310-454-2960. They can tell you more about being a Lion and share our speaker schedule.