As part of this year’s “A World of Service” theme, International President Wayne Madden is challenging Lions to participate in the Reading Action Program to focus on increasing literacy and access to learning resources through their service. Literacy –the ability to read and write– is the foundation for education and social development. Yet, hundreds of millions of adults lack minimum literacy skills and millions of school-aged children are not attending school to obtain them. The Reading Action Program is a call to action for every Lions club around the world to organize service projects and activities that underscore the importance of reading and address specific needs related to illiteracy within their own community.
Many clubs have already taken great strides to bridge the gaps in literacy and education. Whether you are an educator with a passion to help a child learn how to read, an entrepreneur ready to help develop a community-based literacy program, an information technology expert who can help introduce new technology to the visually impaired, or someone who simply enjoys reading to a child, no effort is too small to make a big difference. The following are a few project ideas that members of your club may consider taking on:
Serve as a volunteer reader
Promote Braille literacy
Increase access to books in digital format for individuals with visual impairments
Provide support to your local library
Help build a classroom for underserved children
Organize an online book drive
Each Lions club that documents a reading or other literacy activity through the online service activity reporting system will receive a specially designed “Reading Action Program” club banner patch. To be considered for the “Reading Action Program” awards, Lions clubs must report their activities via the online Lions Service Activity Report by May 1, 2013.
One book that I would recommend is, “Oliver: The Lion Who Wants To Be A Lion,” by Cynthia Bercowetz. When you read this book you will discover a wonderful tale about a very curious lion cub who sets out on a journey to become a “Lion”. He meets many kind strangers on the way to town, searching for the Lions Building and to fulfill his dream of becoming a member of a wonderful organization, the Lions Club. Oliver wants to help people just like the other members of this amazing international, charitable organization who give their time to help people who need eyesight examinations, glasses and other assistance. This 36 page children’s book can be ordered at Amazon or any local book store.
Please remember to send me a picture of your reading event at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will allow other Lions in our district to be encouraged by your club’s work.