The Secret of Service: In Giving We Receive
The humanitarian Albert Schweitzer was once asked by a young person at a gathering for his advice on life. He replied, “I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” We Lions know that. In my world travels this year I’ve met Lions of all ages, occupations and socioeconomic status. Yet we share a certain inner satisfaction. We find purpose and meaning in helping others. You’ve heard of “runner’s high”? That’s the release of endorphins during physical activity that produce a feeling of euphoria. Well, Lions experience a “helper’s high.” Volunteering is a positive, often joyful activity.
Forgive my feeble attempt at humor, but we did so much volunteering and no doubt experienced so much “helper’s high” that we wouldn’t have wanted the Drug Enforcement Agency looking over our shoulder this past year. Clubs embraced the Reading Action Program. Final numbers are not in, but 14,608 clubs reported 64,507 activities, more than 2.3 million hours of service and 6.3 million people served. Many Lions also took part in the Global Service Action Campaigns focused on youth, vision, hunger and the environment. So far, we served 6.4 million people and tallied 1.9 million service hours in these campaigns. Add to that all the other service we did, and you can see we roared exceptionally loudly in 2012-13.
Linda and I are deeply grateful for the hospitality and warmth of the Lions we met. We are extraordinarily impressed by the dedication and passion of Lions. I know Lions are proud of their own club’s accomplishments. But Linda and I were able to see a bit more of the forest, and not just the trees, and it’s amazing how much we do. U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Lions do just that. But add those club efforts together, and it’s staggering what Lions accomplish in a World of Service. Take pride in being a Lion, continue to serve as a Lion and keep making the world a better place.
Wayne A. Madden
Lions Clubs International President
LIONS IN ACTION
BY THE NUMBERS
The Lions–Measles Initiative pilot program vaccinated 41 million children in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mali and Nigeria against measles – a leading cause of childhood blindness.
Lions Clubs International
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