The Darien Lions Club was formed in 1971 by several local residents. Charter members who are still active in the Club include Bob McDonnell, Harold Oban, Tom Pankow, and Kris Sant. Our Club has grown to nearly 150 members. Our sole purpose, consistent with the Lions Clubs International charter, is to raise funds for the needy. Our Club donates the majority of the funds we raise to needy local area residents and other charitable organizations.
Recently we chartered the Darien Lions Foundation, with the intent that it would insure that our services will live in perpetuity. So far we have raised $201,000 toward our target of $250,000. At that level we can insure there will always be money to assist the needy residents of our community who are vision or hearing impaired. One of the fundraisers we started to help fund our Foundation is our Engraved Brick Program.
Major events that we sponsor are Darien's 4th of July Parade, the Darien Fest corn and beverage tents, our Halloween Party (which is held at Darien's Sportsplex), Candy Day, and our Pancake Breakfast. We are part of LCI's District 1J of Illinois, and participate in fund raising events they sponsor including a bowling tournament, annual district and state conventions, and Sight & Sound Sweepstakes. In addition, our Club runs several local activities to cover our administrative costs including a Steak Fry, a Smoker, and an annual Golf Outing and Big Raffle. Additionally, we are members of the Darien Chamber of Commerce, which affords us the benefit of great partnerships with local businesses.
We meet two times a month from September through June. One meeting is a business meeting, and the other is a dinner meeting that features a guest speaker. Four of our dinner meetings are semi-formals which wives/significant-others attend. Although we are serious in our work, we always manage to have a little fun as well.
The International Association of Lions Clubs began as the dream of Chicago businessman Melvin Jones. He believed that local business clubs should expand their horizons from professional concerns to the betterment of their communities and the world at large.
Since 1917, Lions clubs have offered people the opportunity to give something back to their communities. From involving members in projects as local as cleaning up an area park or as far-reaching as bringing sight to the world's blind, Lions clubs have always embraced those committed to building a brighter future for their community. Our Mission Statement is: To create and foster a spirit of understanding among all people for humanitarian needs by providing voluntary services through community involvement and international cooperation. Today with 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas, Lions have expanded their focus to help meet the ever-increasing needs of our global community.
Our programs are continually changing to meet new needs and greater demands, but our mission has never wavered: "We Serve."
The current major service commitment of Lions Clubs International is the prevention and reversal of blindness. Other major Lions programs include drug awareness, diabetes awareness, hearing and speech action, work with the deaf, citizenship and educational services, health services, and charitable activities to help the needy and less fortunate.