MD N Fall Conference

20161028_192032_hdrYellow was the predominant color in all areas of the Greenwood Inn in Corner Brook over this past weekend, October 28-30, 2016.  Lions, from Multiple District N, dressed in their yellow vests, greeted and acquainted themselves with one another as the MD N Fall Conference came to a start.

With a jammed packed agenda the organizing committee ensured that there was plenty of time in between the business for fun and fellowship. From scenic boat rides around the Bay of Islands, to a meet and greet, of all sorts, as many dressed in their favorite Halloween costume competed for the prize and title of Best Costume. During the banquet, yellow vests were shed for white jackets, as Past and Present District Governors dressed in their formal regalia. 20161029_205240_hdr

Throughout the weekend, Lions from Newfoundland & Labrador and the Atlantic provinces, interacted and shared club successes and challenges. Reports were given on Lion signature projects such as Peace Poster, Dog Guides, Vision and Lions Quest.  Each were offered the opportunity to learn more from LCI  International Directors Rod Wright and Bill Phillipi.

Margie Lewis, Executive Director with NL Laubach Literacy Council educated the gathered group on the grim outlook on literacy in our province and the dire need for assistance in promoting literacy among all our citizens. She informed that in 2003, NL scored second highest for illiteracy in the country with 55% falling below Level 3, the level necessary to function daily. A decade later, it wasn’t much more promising, with “1 out of 5 aged 16-65 struggling to use written, technical, daily interpretation and basic numeracy skills.”  She went on to add that each year the provincial government continues to cut funding for literacy programs, resulting in 40% of our Canadian youth falling in Levels 1 &  2, possessing low literacy skills. Insomuch as threatening to close libraries in our province. Lion Dave Rex challenged everyone to save our libraries. He questioned, “With exceptional low literacy, where is the sense in closing our libraries?”

Ms. Lewis stressed that more needs to be done to ensure success for our youth. If we continue on this path, our youth will grow in an environment of low self esteem, mental health issues, high unemployment and high crime rates. Lions can help through financial support, partnerships or training and tutoring. Stephenville Lion Corinne Tulk, a tutor and tutor trainer with the BSG Literacy Council spoke of her own personal experience of working with youth who have been given a high school diploma but not able to read past a primary school level.

Dustin House and Paula Sheppard Thibeau with Habitat for Humanity NL shared their story and experience working as volunteers on a build happening presently in Corner Brook, NL. Mr. House, Volunteer Coordinator, congratulated the Lions on their work as humanitarians and encouraged them to join the team. ” Lions Clubs are a fantastic organization to be affiliated with and with volunteers being the backbone of the build, I hope you will go back to your clubs  and convey the message of Habitat for Humanity.”  Habitat for Humanity envisions a world where everyone has a safe place to live. As a volunteer run program, funds are raised at the national level, with 100% going to the project. This project offers modest homes to families who are able to secure a small mortgage, who otherwise may not have been able to purchase a home. To volunteer check out www.habitatnl.ca.

During the Bear Pit session, Lions were able to fire questions at ID Rod and Bill. Information regarding LCI’s first incoming female president, recruitment and membership, their travels and the food they eat (or don’t eat)…anything went.

At the banquet on Saturday evening, many presentations were made to Lions who have made an outstanding contribution to Lionism in their districts, province, country and world. 20161029_215755_hdrCongratulations to all who were honoured including Stephenville Lion Dave Rex, recipient of the International President’s Award and Pasadena Lion Frank Bonnell, recipient of a Leadership Award.

20161028_191340Farewells were made by new and old friends with promises to meet again.

 

Worth: All the Love a Dog Can Give!

From birth each of us grow with one objective in mind, to be independent. As a newborn we begin learning from our parents how to do things:  sit up, walk, run, feed and dress ourselves, read and write, think for ourselves, learn to ride a bike, drive a car, get a job…well I think you get the picture. We all want independence to be ourselves. But, what happens if something gets in the way of that independence? What happens if because of that something society treats us differently? Does that mean we shouldn’t be able to do all those things we strive to achieve? I don’t believe so. If we come to a wall, we look for a way around it? Right? Right!

In the 1980’s Lions Foundation of Canada, found a way around the wall. Service dogs enabled individuals who lived with a medical of physical disability be independent. Today, in addition to Canine Vision dogs, Hearing Ear, Service Dogs, Seizure Response, Autism Assistance and Diabetic Alert dogs assist Canadians with living their lives independently, mobile and safe.

Dog Guides are trained in Ontario at a cost of $25,000 each, yet are given to individuals at no charge. With no funding from the government, the Dog Guide Program relies solely on donations to train and provide these dogs to those in need.

That’s why on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 the Stephenville Lions Club held a Fall Craft Fair & Bake Sale, raising in excess of $2800. During the event, one such service dog was busy at work guiding his young companion around the many colorful tables.worth-and-cohen-3

Worth, is a three year old Autism Assistance Dog and for two years he has provided a “normal” lifestyle to 7 year old Cohen. When his vest is on Worth takes his job very seriously and is on the lookout to keep his young cohen-and-worthmaster safe. Prior to coming into his life, young Cohen was unable to participate much outside his home. Today, Worth and Cohen attend Grade 2 at St. Thomas Aquinas School, and takes regular family outings, such as the Fall Fair. Last year, the family, with the help of Worth, enjoyed a vacation in cohen-and-worth-1Disney World; Worth even got to enjoy the amusement rides.

Initially the red vest on Worth is an indicator that this dog is different from other family pets, and you’d be right…Worth is different, he works hard at keeping Cohen safe from harm. However, when the vest is off, he’s just a dog and his best friend.
Cohen is the son of Corey and Vanessa Ivany.

If you’d like more information about the Lions Foundation of Canada’s Dog Guide program or to donate, click here.

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