They are Lions, hear them roar |

They are Lions, hear them roar

Nonprofit Spotlight
Kay Vasilakis
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Why should you channel your volunteer efforts in the New Castle Lions Club?

Joining the New Castle Lions Club can give you the incomparable feeling you receive from volunteering, but you will also have the chance to hone leadership, communication and organizational skills. You can develop friendships that last a lifetime, meet other Lions from all corners of the world and contribute ideas that will help the club be an even more valuable part of our community. Membership in the New Castle Lions Club will allow the club to reach more people in need, in both the local and world communities.

The club’s mission is to serve. They accomplish that by assisting the New Castle community in its projects. Lions are especially dedicated to serving the blind and visually impaired, a commitment made after Helen Keller challenged the national Lions members to become her “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness,” during the 1925 convention in Cedar Point, Ohio.

Locally, the New Castle Lions Club has provided eyeglasses to many local adults and children who could not afford them. The club has also conducted Kidsight eye screenings at Kathryn Senor Elementary School in an effort to help detect vision problems at an early age.

The Lions host breakfast meetings from 7-8 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the New Castle Cafe. The club has about 20 members, but are hoping to double the membership to be able to accept the many requests and needs coming from the community.

The New Castle Lions take great pleasure in continuing the 20-plus-year tradition of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner originally started by the New Castle Ladies Club. This tradition, like the annual Burning Mountain Festival, helps strengthen community bonds.

The annual Veterans Day Ceremony at Riverside School, Valley View’s Health Fair, local Boy Scout fundraisers, and additional Kidsight eye screenings are all supported by the New Castle Lions. More members will allow the Lions to fulfill the mission to serve in a way that makes it a dependable club to approach when help is needed.

“All it takes is for a teacher to call us and say, ‘Wow, since this youngster can now see the blackboard, she has become a leader in the class in answering questions. Thank you for getting glasses for her!'” said New Castle Lion Judy Shaffer. “How can we not push forward to keep serving in this way?”

Two bus shelters in New Castle were built by the New Castle Lions.

“It was really great this winter to see waiting riders being able to be inside the shelters when we had such heavy, frequent snowstorms,” said Shaffer with pride. “The shelters were truly a community project in that most of the materials were donated by local merchants, as was some professional labor that was needed for the design and construction of them.”

“Kay Force, one of our club’s key members, was instrumental in the finish work of the shelters,” said New Castle Lioness Judy Shaffer. “Kay died unexpectedly last year, and she is missed greatly by all that knew her. As we look forward to 2008 projects, we hope to either dedicate one of the shelters to her memory or possibly one of the park benches that we plan to place at one of the local parks.”

“The 2007 Salvation Army bell ringing drive saw our Lions Club along with other local volunteers collecting over $3,700 from shoppers at the New Castle City Market. It is really gratifying to know that these locally made contributions likewise stay local when they distributed to the needy.

“Please join us to help continue the legacy of Lions Club International by improving the lives of the less fortunate and making our community an even better place to live.”

Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column runs every other Wednesday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. She is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her with a news tip, call 384-9118 or e-mail

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