SOLEDAD — Soledad High School Interact Club and Soledad Rotary Club gathered for a special joint meeting March 28 to hear about another local nonprofit, the Lion’s Club.
Allen King from the King City Lion’s Club was the guest speaker. His appearance was significant as the Lion’s Club and Rotary Club organizations rarely meet together.
According to King, Lion’s Clubs are the oldest nonprofit service organization and are active in 200 countries around the world. Vision care is the primary mission of the Lions.
“We have five other initiatives that we are working on now,” King said. “But, our primary focus will always be vision care.”
The Lion’s Club typically works with local schools to provide a pair of glasses to students in need. Along with vision care, comes the Lion’s interest in diabetes.
“We find that the leading cause of blindness is caused by diabetes,” King explained. “Now we are going into childhood cancer, the environment and finally hunger.”
The organization is involved with youth, disaster relief and humanitarian. The Lion’s organization provides grants when natural disasters occur and funding is necessary. The most recent example is the Soberanes Fire, when the Lion’s Club was awarded a grant to aid in those efforts.
In schools, the Lions have a program called Quest, which talks about bullying for schools. King said the club is looking for a teacher who wants to sponsor the program to get it into local schools.
“In California, the Lions host an annual student speaker contest,” King said. “We’re in our 82nd year right now. It is an opportunity for competitive public speaking among students on different subjects.”
Each year the student speaker committee gets a whole list of about 200 topics, which is narrowed down. The Council of Governors pick a topic or combine topics from those submitted. This year’s topic was “Freedom of the Press and What Does it Mean?”.
The two organizations, Rotary and Interact Club, have also been working together. Rotarian April Liedtke frequently stands as an adviser to the Interact Club. At the second joint meeting, the groups met at California Gourmet Pizza to talk about the events that are going on and to hear a guest speaker.