Lions Club International was established in 1917 to create an organization for the betterment of our communities and the world at large.
Helen Keller addressed the 1925 Lions Clubs International convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA and challenged Lions to become “Knights of the Blind in the crusade against darkness”. Since then we have worked tirelessly to aid the blind and visually impaired.
In 1944 the Guelph Lions Club was formed and ever since our charter night we have strived to fulfill Helen Keller’s dream. More than ten years ago when the Ophthalmology department was located at St. Marys Hospital, our Lions Club fully equipped it. Since the move to the General Hospital we have purchased two lasers used in eye surgery for a total of over $100,000.00. The second laser, due to the price, was paid over a five year term.
To raise our funds we have had several different events. We have coordinated dances, stags, Guelph Day at the Blue Jay games and many other types of events. The longest operating event is our TV Bingo which began in the early 1970’s at Maclean Hunter Cable. This was sold to Rogers where we now broadcast our weekly games. Other fundraisers include a Home Show held in the spring each year and we also have a Blind Seal Campaign to raise funds to help offset the cost of hosting a Christmas dinner held annually for the sight impaired in Wellington County. We host a picnic for guests with a sight impairment each August.
As well, we promote and sponsor the Lions Foundation of Canada, a school for Dog Guides where the animals are trained and provided at absolutely no cost to disabled Canadians. These dogs include Sight Impaired, Hearing Impaired, Special Skills (physical disabilities), Seizure Response, Diabetic Alert (Type 1 Diabetes) as well as dogs for children with Autism Spectrum. These dogs provide safety and companionship for the child. They act as an assistive device at home and in public and help these children gain some independence. To raise and train these animals costs approximately $25,000.00. The last Sunday in May we host the annual Walk for Dog Guides to raise money for this very worthy cause.
Over the years our Club has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Guelph General Hospital. Just recently we committed $120,000 for the purchase of the brand new, state of the art Cataract Microscope at GGH.
We have just recently committed $40,000 over 4 years to the University of Guelph to provide funding for the first ever totally accessible University Campus for visually impaired students with the BlindSquare GPS enabled system throughout the Campus. Thanks to a grant of $16,000, the University of Guelph campus will be safer for blind persons. More than sixty electric delivery carts are being outfitted with an electronic signal that triggers an alarm on the blind pedestrian’s iPhone that has been equipped with a special App. This signal is transmitted whether the vehicle is moving or stationary and the motor off.
In affiliation with Lens Crafters the Guelph Lions Club also assists in providing eye glasses to children who may need financial assistance to acquire them. As well, the Guelph Lions Club performs Vision screening in our local schools to identify students who may have a vision problem and need to visit an optometrist for an eye examination.
The Guelph Lions sponsor Creative Writing Awards at seven secondary schools as well as Effective Speaking contests both locally and provincially. We make donations to local sport teams and youth camps. We also provided the funding to create the original Guelph Public Library's Book Mobile. We also provide equipment to local schools to assist with literacy and learning.
We are proud of our participation in the Lions International Youth Exchange where young people from all over the world are hosted by some of our Club members. We also have an outbound Youth Exchange.
The Guelph Lions Club meet the 1st and 3rd Tuesday, September – June @ 7pm at the Guelph Country Club, 133 Woodlawn Road E, Guelph. We are excited as we Lions get set to celebrate our Centennial of 100 Years of Service (2017). Where There's A Need, There's A Lion!
Why not join us? Contact our Membership Chair Lion Garry Ransom 519-835-3170, and be our guest at our dinner meeting and discover all the wonderful service we Lions do for not only our Community but Internationally. We are proud to serve.