MLK Day of Service

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“Everybody can be great because everyone can serve.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Photo Credit to Corporation for National and Community Service 

Each January, we honor and celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1983, Legislation marked the birthday of Dr. King as a federal holiday. But in 1994, Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service. Each year, on the third Monday of January, we are all encouraged to look at Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthdate as a “day on, not a day off.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. In 1948, he received a BA degree from Morehouse College, at the age of 19. He was awarded a BD degree after three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary.

Shortly after, he became the pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He was always a strong advocate of civil rights, so he joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as a member of the executive committee. In early December 1955, he accepted leadership as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott lasted a total of 382 days. On December 21, 1956, the Supreme Court of the United States declared bus segregation as unconstitutional. From that point on, people of all races rode the bus together as equals.

In 1957, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a newly created organization that was formed to provide leadership for the civil rights movement. In the next eleven years, Dr. King would travel over six million miles and give over 2500 speeches. Meanwhile, he wrote five books as well as several articles and led enormous peaceful protests. He may be most known for leading the 1963 march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people and delivering his “I Have A Dream” speech. During his lifetime, he was arrested more than 25 times, awarded five honorary degrees and was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1968, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, he was shot. He died on April 4.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all. The Day of Service is intended for engaging in community action that works to solve social problems. Service has an incredible ability to unite people of all ages and backgrounds while building stronger communities.

Honor the memory of Dr. King on Monday, January 21, by choosing to serve. Looking for a new service project? You need to see the Lions Club’s complete list of ideas for families. What project will you and your club start next? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Happy MLK Day of Service from Lions Pride!

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4 Tips for Organizing Your Home

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Do you ever feel like your junk drawer contains too much junk? Do you put something away, only to forget where you left it? You’re not alone. In fact, according to Go Skills, becoming more organized is the third most common New Year’s Resolutions. Unfortunately, the idea of organizing your entire home can be an overwhelming and daunting task. Here are four ways to get you started:

  1. Start out small
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    Photo by Sarah Jane on Pexels.com

    One common mistake that aspiring organizers make is believing everything needs to be done immediately. They start the job with high enthusiasm, but quickly burn out after realizing that the task is more extensive than they initially expected. Unless you live in a 300 square foot tiny house, you likely won’t get everything organized in an hour’s time. Rather than setting yourself up with outrageous expectations. Instead consider starting with one area or room, dedicating 15 to 20 minutes of time. Once you get started, you will either start seeing progress and want to keep going or feel accomplished enough to wait until the following day.

  2. Purge

    Use all of the boxes you collected over the holiday season to sort through all of your possessions. Necessary boxes may include: keep, toss, store elsewhere, sell or donate.

    All of the box names may be self-explanatory, but you may be wondering where you can donate all of the items that you no longer want or need. You may be surprised to learn that several charities depend on your donated items to carry out their missions. We’ve compiled a list of the following items and corresponding organizations, with some help from The Spruce:

    Clothing – Goodwill Charities, Salvation Army International or St. Vincent’s
    Cell phones – Cell Phones for Soldiers
    Eyeglasses – Your local Lions club or directly to the Eyeglass Recycling Center
    Books – Your local library or Operation Paperback
    Tools – Habitat for Humanity or other construction-focused charity

    By cleaning out and decluttering your home, you can also help an organization that is close to your heart – talk about a win-win!

  3. Give everything a home

    “A place for everything and everything in its place.” -Benjamin Franklin

    The best way to find everything you’ve been looking for is to ensure all of the items in your home have a place of their own. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Come up with a strategy where you envision all of the activities that will take place in each room and find a storage solution that will work for all of the necessary items. This task will be one of the biggest challenges, but again, start with one room at a time. See more tips for finding a place for everything.

  4. Commit to a routine

    Finally, if you plan to dedicate time to organizing your home, then you probably want your results to last. Whether you decide to spend 10 minutes each evening putting miscellaneous items away or to spend the first part of your weekend decluttering, find a routine that fits your lifestyle. Wouldn’t it be exciting to pick a different New Year’s Resolution in 2020 because you already accomplished this one?

Remember, home organization is a marathon, not a sprint! Do you plan on making organization a priority in 2019? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Happy organizing from Lions Pride!

National Trivia Day: Lions Pride Edition

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Are you interested in sharing and exchanging little-known facts? If so, then you’ll love tomorrow’s unofficial holiday, National Trivia Day.458432_10150689723660999_1376996678_o.jpg

Although the exact origin of Trivia Day is unknown, many people credit the game, Trivial Pursuit as the start. The creators of the game, Chris Haney and Scott Abbott, wanted to play Scrabble but were disappointed to learn several of their board games’ pieces had gone missing. Rather than dwell on their misfortune, they decided to create their own game. The concept of Trivial Pursuit was conceived in a matter of hours.

In honor of National Trivia Day, we’d thought we’d celebrate with fun facts inspired by our favorite WLF service projects:

  • The Wisconsin Lions Camp was the dream of which well-known Lion? Ray Hempel.
  • How large is the camp in acreage? 440.
  • What is the ratio of staff to campers? 1:6
  • How tall is the famous Totem Pole Na-Wak-Wa? 38 feet.
  • Louie the Lion, the guardian of the Wisconsin Lions Camp, is made out of what materials? Concrete and old gun barrels.
  • The Eyeglass Recycling Center in Rosholt is one of how many worldwide facilities? 18.
  • At any given point, how many pairs of eyeglasses are available at the ERC? 125,000.
  • How many Americans are affected by hearing loss? An estimated 48 million.
  • What percentage of a child’s learning is related to sight? 80%.
  • Vision problems affect one ins how many school-aged children? 4.
  • How many children are adequately screened for vision problems in the US? Less than 20%.

Finally, did you know that your donation to Lions Pride helps us to preserve, protect and provide for all of these projects and more? What’s more, you have the ability to designate your gift to the project of your choice.

Together, we have the opportunity to reach, touch and improve lives all over the state; and we are so appreciative of your continued support.

Happy National Trivia Day!

19 Resolution Ideas for 2019

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Here we are again: the last full week of the year. It’s so hard to believe that we’ve made Depositphotos_219456322_m-2015our way through another year. As we make preparations to close out 2018, many of us are likely reflecting on the past 360 days while looking to the year ahead, perhaps brainstorming new ways for self-improvement. Yes – that means resolutions.

New Year’s Resolutions have developed a bad reputation; in fact, many of us downright despise them. We can’t say that reputation is unwarranted; however. For the first few weeks of the new year, we are all bombarded with messages telling us that we are not good enough as we are, followed by pressure to make drastic changes, and burning out only weeks later – leaving us feeling bad about failure.

Call us wacky, but we think part of the reason why New Year’s Resolutions are so easy to hate is that we put too much burden on ourselves to succeed with vague, unrealistic expectations. Rather than challenging ourselves to “eat more healthy” or “get more exercise,” many of us may find success by creating less extreme, new habits.

To celebrate the beginning of a new chapter, we’ve put together a list of 19 New Year’s Resolutions to help spark inspiration for 2019 self-improvement:

  1. Read more books
  2. Be more positive
  3. Keep a journal
  4. Pick up a new hobby
  5. Take more road trips
  6. Stop procrastinating
  7. Meet new people
  8. Reduce stress
  9. Get more sleep
  10. Become more organized
  11. Drink more water
  12. Volunteer
  13. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
  14. Improve your financial literacy
  15. Be more grateful
  16. Watch less TV
  17. Start being more polite
  18. Take more walks
  19. Give back an organization you care about

Will you make a New Year’s Resolution – why or why not? Tell us in the comments below.

Regardless of whether or not you choose to make an official resolution, we’d like to wish a bright year ahead. Keep in mind, the New Year is merely a poetic message, we have all year to be our best selves. May 2019 be the greatest year yet.

Happy New Year from Lions Pride!

The Magic of Giving

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Think back to your favorite Christmas memory. You were likely a small child. You can Santa is placing gift boxes under Christmas treeprobably remember your excitement as the holiday quickly approached. The days leading up to Christmas Eve, you were on your best behavior (but had good reminders from your parents and teachers.) When December 24 finally arrived, you couldn’t wait to go to sleep that night. Your mom and dad likely helped you prepare for the evening with a fresh plate of cookies and a glass of milk. You brushed your teeth and quickly went to bed, but then spent most of the night watching the clock – just waiting for an appropriate time to wake up. Then on Christmas morning, you couldn’t believe your eyes as you found a Christmas tree full of presents replaced with an empty plate. You believed in the magic of Christmas.

Sadly, things change as we grow older. Our excitement was instead replaced with stress and a To-Do list a mile long, and the spirit fades. Fortunately, the magic does reappear as we have children of our own, but our roles change – from excited child to excited parent. We also spend Christmas Eve, making preparations and not getting much shuteye because we too are eager to watch our children thrilled be opening our gifts. Then quietly smiling when they ask, “How did Santa know this is exactly what I wanted?” As parents, we come to discover a new kind of magic – the magic of giving.

But as life continues on, the cycle continues. Our children grow up, and the spirit again slightly fades.

Luckily, as supporters of Lions Pride, we have a unique role that allows us to play Santa all year long. How, you might ask? By giving special children all around the state of Wisconsin the gift of experience. This year, over 150 children were given the opportunity to spend a week in the beautiful place known as the Wisconsin Lions Camp. During their week at camp, these kids have the chance for overnight camping, canoe and hiking trips, swimming, kayaking, paddle boating, archery, crafts, sports and more. All the while, they are also developing self-confidence, interdependence, social skills and outdoor recreational skills, at no cost to their families.

This particular gift may not be beautifully wrapped under a bright, full Christmas tree, but we know in our hearts that it’s a gift that keeps on giving all year long because a child’s week at camp allows them the resources, skills and experiences that will serve them long beyond their childhoods.

Of course, none of this would be possible without you, the help of our donors, the lifeblood of our organization. We never get tired of saying thank you for your ongoing support. Although our biological children may be grown, we look forward to playing the role of Santa for countless years to come. Thank you for helping us continue our mission to preserve, provide and protect Lions Camp and all other WLF statewide projects.

The Lions Pride Office will be closed the week of December 24, to celebrate Christmas with our families. We’d like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

National Cupcake Day

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The past few weeks, we’ve taken a more in-depth look at several December holidays.

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Photo Credit to Bakerella

Two weeks, ago, we learned more about the Celebration of Lights, and just last week, we met St. Nicholas of Myre. This week, we’ll again look at an event that is a little more light-hearted in nature – National Cupcake Day. Unlike Hanukkah and St. Nick’s Day, National Cupcake Day, which is taking place on Saturday, December 15, is an unofficial national holiday, but we thought it’d be fun to celebrate everyone’s favorite portable dessert with a brief history and less-known facts to impress all of your friends.

Although cakes have been around for centuries, the child dessert has much a “shorter” history. The idea of the cupcake arrived in the United States in 1796 after making its debut in Amelia Simmons’ cookbook. At that point, it did not have a unique name
but was sometimes known as the 1-2-3-4 cake. One of the most significant advantages of this recipe was it was easy to remember; it merely called for 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs (plus 1 cup of milk and 1 spoonful of baking soda.)

The word, “cupcake” did not come to be until the recipe was first documented by Eliza Leslie in her 1828 called “Receipts.” Of course, the rest is history. Today, there seems to be a cupcake available in every theme, color and flavor. But did you also know?

  • The first cupcakes were not frosted, but instead flavored with dried fruits and spices.
  • The cupcake industry first started gaining popularity when Hostess began mass-producing their famous cream-filled “Cupcake” in 1919.
  • The world’s largest cupcake weighed over 1200 pounds and contained more than two million calories.
  • The Food Network has a show dedicated exclusively to cupcakes called “Cupcake Wars,” and has over 1.6 million viewers.

There’s just no denying that people love cupcakes. The best way to observe this unofficial holiday is to bake a batch and share them with people you care about. It’s just one more way to make life a little sweeter.

Happy National Cupcake from Lions Pride!

A Short History of Saint Nicholas Day

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Today marks the beginning of another December holiday known as Saint Nicholas Day, aSaint Nicholas gift- giving holiday that stems from ancient Greece. Will you and your family be celebrating?

St. Nick’s Day is a big holiday in Europe but is not nearly as common here in the United States. It all started back in 4th century Greece. Nicholas’ parents died in an epidemic when he was a young boy but left him with a large sum of money. With his inheritance, he decided to use his wealth to help the sick, the needy and the suffering. His most popular act was to leaving gold coins in people’s shoes around the city. He became known across the land for his generosity. After dedicating his life of service to others, Nicholas of Myra was officiated as a bishop.

European immigrants brought their beliefs and associations around Saint Nicholas Day. The earliest records observe the holiday in big cities such as New York City in the early 1800s. Of course, the tradition has since evolved since making its way to North America. Today, children hang their stockings on the fireplace mantel and awake to small gifts of candy, games and other fun trinkets. However, there is always the chance that naughty children will wake to a sad lump of coal.

If you’ve been through a checkout line in a superstore anytime in the recent future, you know there are all sorts of stocking stuffer ideas out there. Kids of all ages will love stickers, candy, cookies, jewelry, toy cars, fruit, building blocks and bottles of nail polish. But we have an idea for another extra special gift to add to the list.

In addition to small knickknacks, consider teaching your children the value of charity by giving a donation in his or her name. Print off the certificate and add it to their stocking. Then you can explain to them how their special gift helps others. For example, with a donation to Lions Pride, they are helping children with special needs have fun at a week of summer camp, meeting new friends and building life-changing skills – an experience that he or she will treasure for a lifetime.

This holiday season, embody the spirit of Saint Nicholas with a gift that gives back. After all, isn’t it the reason behind season?

Happy Saint Nicholas Day from Lions Pride!

 

The Story of Hanukkah

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Thanksgiving has come and gone, then without skipping a single beat, it seems that Jewish holiday hanukkah celebration with vintage menorahChristmas has arrived. Now, we are being bombarded with TV commercials, online ads and emails letting us know that December 25 will be here soon. While there’s no denying Christmas is one of the most popular holidays celebrated in the United States, it’s important to remember that there are several other celebrations also taking place in December. In the next series, we will explore a handful of the holidays – starting with Hanukkah.

Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah, is an eight-day celebration of light takes place this year from December 2 to December 10. The story dates back thousands of years ago to 200 BC. At that time, the land of Israel was under the control of Antiochus III and the Syrian Greeks. During his reign, Antiochus allowed Jewish people to continue practicing their religion, but when his son, Antiochus IV assumed power, he outlawed Judaism and forced the Judeans to worship Greek gods.

In 168 BC, soldiers of Anthiochus III invaded Jerusaleum where they killed thousands of people and destroyed the city’s sacred Second Temple. Within the temple’s holy walls, soldiers slaughtered pigs and erected a statue of Zeus. After the desecration, a Jewish priest named Mattathias started the Maccabean Revolt. Immediately following his death in 166 BC, his son Judah took charge of the rebellion. Finally, after three long years of battle, the war came to an end, and the Judeans successfully drove the Syrians out of Israel.

Following the victory, Judeans wanted to light the menorah to rededicate the Second Temple but discovered that they only had enough oil to keep the candles burning for one day. They decided to take a chance and light the candles. Then a miracle happened. The candles continued to flicker for the following eight days, leaving them plenty of time to find a fresh supply of oil. Jewish sages then proclaimed an annual eight-day festival.

Today, the Hanukkah celebration is centered on the lighting of the menorah. After sundown each night, another candle is lit. The menorah is then displayed in the window to remind others of the original miracle.

A common question that many people ask is whether or not Chanukkah is a gift-giving holiday. You may be surprised to learn that there are no biblical or Talmudic roots connected to the idea of giving gifts during the Hanukkah season, but there is a timeworn tradition of instilling the value of charity. Many families have adopted the tradition of giving gelt (or money) to their children each weeknight of Hanukkah. Children then give a portion of their gift to charity. What an inspiring concept!

This year, let’s make an effort to remember all of the December celebrations, not just Christmas. We may not have the same beliefs or traditions as our neighbors, but it’s our differences that make our world all the more interesting.

Happy Holidays from Lions Pride!

 

Giving Thanks and Giving Back

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Today is a special day – Thanksgiving, a day where we gather with friends and family to STACKED_0.pngreflect on life’s greatest blessings. We love the message behind the holiday, but isn’t it ironic that less than 24 hours from now, many of us will be stampeding through retail stores to find this year’s newest tech gadget or a larger flat-screen TV? Why do we only get the one day to appreciate all that life has to offer, but multiple days dedicated to buying gifts?

The team at the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact must have had similar questions because, in 2012, they introduced America to Giving Tuesday. The idea is simple. On the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (this year, it’s November 27) we take the day off from holiday shopping and instead give back.

On Thanksgiving, we give thanks.

On Black Friday, we get deals.

On Cyber Monday, we get online.

On Giving Tuesday, we give back.

How can you give back? That’s the beauty behind this holiday because the answer is any way you wish. You can choose to give time by helping a neighbor in need, give kindness by complimenting a stranger, give hope with a donation to your favorite nonprofit organization, or give knowledge to others with the power of your voice.

Regardless of whether you have $5 or $50, 10 minutes or 10 hours; all that matters is that you give. By finding a way to help your family, friends, community or organization of your choosing, you’ve done more than your part. Let’s join together to start a movement celebrating generosity and giving back.

The Lions Pride Office will be closed today and tomorrow in observance of the holiday but are excited to hear how you will be celebrating Giving Tuesday. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!

 

How to Support Your Favorite Organization with Holiday Shopping

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The holiday shopping season is here. If you’re like us, you’ve already seen the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from several major retailers. We know, we know, it seems like the shopping window increases each year, but you can take advantage of its early arrival with extra preparation time, sizable savings and an opportunity to support your favorite nonprofit organization – without spending anything more. Learn how to become an even smarter shopper with these free online tools:45749783_1042895462557318_4769862938020282368_o.png

AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile is the same Amazon website that you know and love but allows you to an easy and automatic way to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you.

To get started you need to visit smile.amazon.com and select “Lions Pride Endowment Fund,” then start shopping. Every time you make a purchase, Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% back to Lions Pride. Consider creating a bookmark or installing the Amazon Assistant to get in the habit.

GoodSearch and GoodShop

GoodSearch is a search engine powered by Yahoo that supports nonprofit organizations in every search. Every time you choose to use GoodSearch when browsing the internet, the search engine will donate one penny to your favorite organization. One penny may not sound like a lot but imagine this: If 1000 Lions Pride supporters were to use GoodSearch twice a day for a year, they could raise a total of $7300. Wow!

Similar to AmazonSmile, GoodShop is an online shopping portal that allows you to donate to your charity of choice with every purchase you make. The site helps you find online coupons and deals with businesses all over the web. Not only are you raising money for your favorite charity, but you are also saving money. Most importantly, the operating costs to manage the site come from advertisers, so there is no fee to sign up.

Getting started with GoodShop is simple. Just visit http://www.goodsearch.com/choosecause and search for “Lions Pride.” Next, select “Lions Pride Endowment Fund.” Then, you can choose your favorite stores, and Goodshop will alert you each time there is a new coupon or sale. Who doesn’t love easy shopping?

It may be hard to believe, but the holidays will be here within the blink of an eye. If you prefer to do your shopping online, consider using one of these free tools to save money and contribute to Lions Pride when you check items off your list. With your continued support, we can work together to preserve, protect and provide for the Wisconsin Lions Camp and all WLF statewide projects.

Happy shopping!