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.
You know you’ve done something important when iconic morning talk show TODAY calls to feature you. Merrick Union Free School District in New York, U.S., has done something very important.
Lions Quest is invaluable for teaching social emotional skills.
In 2018, New York’s state education department made mental health education a required curriculum component. Recognizing the critical importance of the subject for both students and teachers, in 2016 Merrick began offering Lions Quest – Lions Clubs International Foundation’s signature social and emotional learning (SEL) program. When TODAY heard about the district’s success with educating students and teachers on stress, peer pressure, bullying, and other impacts on mental well-being – it came calling.
“Social emotional development is as important as academic learning in preparing students for happy, productive, and resilient lives,” said Merrick Superintendent Dr. Dominick Palma, who chairs a superintendent subcommittee on mental health and substance abuse issues. “Lions Quest is invaluable for teaching social emotional skills. The lessons are reinforced throughout the school day and apply to daily life.”
With newly gained insight, fifth-grader Rachel said, “Lions Quest helps me get along with my classmates well and work as a community.”
A story of heartache and hope
During what should be a carefree time of life, many U.S. youth face daunting challenges:
- 20% of high schoolers report being bullied at school; 1/3 report being bullied online.
- 4,300+ young lives are lost annually to excessive drinking.
- Reading scores and bullying are directly correlated.
But there’s hope for youth everywhere:
- Positive school climate practices like Lions Quest often reduce absenteeism and bullying.
- Harvard University found students participating in Lions Quest reported improved perceptions of school climate, and physical and emotional safety.
- Every US$1 spent on SEL initiatives yields US$11 return on investment.
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 more than 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
Creating brighter tomorrows
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 help today’s youth have better tomorrows? 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.