The important role of service organizations within a community is often overlooked, especially when it comes to their involvement with our local schools. Last night I attended the Verona Lions club meeting. The Verona Lions are a small but dedicated group working to make a positive impact within our community. They raise money for causes like vision screenings for children, scholarships for students, combating juvenile diabetes, and stocking the local food pantry. Those are just a few of the good works this group engages in to help serve our community and support those who need assistance.
I went to the Lions Club meeting as a candidate looking to meet people and to learn about their organization. It was during our conversation that I began to make a connection that while obvious, hadn’t fully dawned on me. There are a number of service organizations, as well as PTO groups, and athletics booster groups. All of these groups are working hard to raise money for worthy causes. Often times those causes benefit our students. Yet, as disposable income has shrunk for many of us, these same groups have the unenviable task of trying to ask for more. Whether it is a student fundraiser or a service organization, there is a finite amount of money available. How can we raise money for students without wearing out our welcome?
It also dawned on me that there is or at least should be a mutually beneficial interest that our school district has with service organizations. When we graduate students from our High School, we hope that they become civically engaged. We hope that they work to better the status of others less fortunate. As service organizations age, they seek younger members to continue on the traditions and goals of service and commitment toward others. How do we encourage younger people (students) to engage in service learning activities? Perhaps we need to seek out groups like the Lions, the Kiwanis, the Rotary or the Optimists and look for ways our students can volunteer and learn the value of service. Some families already do this and that is very commendable. However, I know in Manitowoc, WI where I am originally from, there is a service component required of graduating seniors. We can start service involvement well before high school age as well.
One of the Lions club members, Lion Lisa is raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She will be doing a bike ride through Death Valley toward the end of October. She has raised her fundraising goals each year and each year she has surpassed those goals. There is a brat fry at The Shoe Box in Black Earth on April 21 sponsored by the Lions with proceeds to go toward the JDRF and Lisa is hosting a Wine Tasting at the Verona Wine Cellar on April 28 from 3-7 pm as another way to raise money toward her ride goal. My daughter’s good friend Henry has Diabetes. Two years ago we did a walk with Henry, his family, and friends. I have a friend who’s son Alex also has Juvenile Diabetes. It is tough enough for adults to deal with difficult situations, but it has to be really hard for the children with the disease as well as their parents. So while I appreciate any donations made to my campaign for school board, I would ask you to consider sending a check to the Verona Lions Club instead or in addition. Please identify it as a contribution to Lion Lisa’s JDRF ride. You can send the check to:
C/o Jim Fletcher, Secretary
203 Valley View St
Verona, WI 53593
Now if you don’t have a check, maybe you have some time? The Lions are a good group always seeking new members. They can always use help and they have a number of opportunities coming up. It was very rewarding to hear about the work our Lions club is doing for our community and of course our schools. Celebrating 25 years of service is a great milestone and I hope that you all will come out and support the club this fall as they observe the occasion. Best wishes to Lion Lisa to raise more than $4000 for her ride to combat Juvenile Diabetes. Let’s help her double that amount.