In an ongoing blog series, we’re highlighting Lions Clubs International Foundation’s support of worldwide efforts to help youth navigate challenges in school and develop life skills through the Foundation’s Lions Quest program, a global leader in social and emotional learning.
Lions Quest cultivates critical skills.
“Universally essential are connection with people, communication skills, and team-building skills. These lead to positive youth development,” said Hiroaki Niiyama, of the Miyako Lions Club in Japan. “Lions Quest cultivates these critical skills.”
Fortunately for students in far southern Japan’s Miyakojima City, school officials committed to a five-year strategy to integrate social and emotional learning (SEL) into curricula through Lions Quest, the signature youth development program from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). By enhancing teachers’ ability to develop children adept at managing emotions, achieving goals, building positive relationships, and making responsible decisions, students are gaining valuable skills to carry them confidently through school and into their futures.
With grant funding from LCIF and help from local Lions, in 2018 Lions Quest professional trainers began delivering workshops to all 600 Miyakojima kindergarten through junior high school teachers. The multi-year effort to roll out Lions Quest’s Skills for Growing and Skills for Adolescence programs continues, and results are already astounding.
Navigating childhood isn’t easy. As youngsters develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually – and face challenges at home, in school, and from peers – they can become overwhelmed. LCIF’s Lions Quest is providing new opportunities for youth to develop into confident students, and happy and productive members of their communities.
Benefitting youth, society, business
Research shows SEL positively affects academic performance, benefits physical health, improves citizenship, is demanded by employers, and is essential for lifelong success. It also reduces the risk of failed relationships, interpersonal violence, and substance abuse. In other words, SEL mitigates challenges such as these, prevalent in Southeast Asia – and around the world:
- Family circumstances, issues with friends, and bullying have led to Japan’s rising school absentee rate of young students.
- A soft skills gap in China poses business challenges, with leadership, communication, and self-motivation lacking.
- Academic performance, peer relationships, and conflict with parents are major stressors of Korea’s adolescents.
But there is hope for the next generation of leaders worldwide:
- Positive school climate practices like Lions Quest often reduce absenteeism and bullying.
- Every US$1 spent on SEL initiatives yields a US$11 return on investment.
- World-renowned Harvard University found students participating in Lions Quest reported improved perceptions of school climate, and physical and emotional safety.
LCIF and Lions: funding service, delivering solutions
Youth worldwide benefit from SEL programs like Lions Quest. To date, more than 19 million students and 760,000 educators in over 100 countries and geographic areas have taken advantage of Lions Quest age-targeted programming. LCIF proudly continues its more than 35-year commitment to our world’s youth through:
- Lions Quest Program grants: Develop/expand the program; up to US$150,000
- Lions Quest Community Partnership grants: Launch/reactivate the program; up to US$150,000
- Lions Quest Promotional grants: Introduce the program to a community; up to US$1,500
- District and Club Community Impact grants: Apply to local district and club projects; grant amount varies
Building the future together
LCIF is the grant-making body empowering Lions to create greater impact in their communities and around the world. One hundred percent of every donation supports Lions service through LCIF grants and programs.
Youth is just one cause area supported by LCIF and Campaign 100: LCIF Empowering Service. With financial support from Lions, Lions clubs, and friends of LCIF worldwide, Campaign 100 is empowering Lions to increase their service impact in vision, youth, disaster relief, and humanitarian efforts; fight the global epidemic of diabetes; and make important progress in expanded cause areas of childhood cancer, hunger, and the environment.
Ready to ensure a more prosperous future? Support LCIF. Support Lions.
Caryn Lerner is senior communications specialist for Lions Clubs International Foundation.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted communities around the world in different ways. To ensure we’re serving safely wherever we live, Lions should follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization or local health authorities. Visit our Serving Safely page for resources that can help you safely serve your community.