Celebrations were in order as more than 130 Lions Club members gathered at the Guiding Eyes Yorktown campus for its Annual Lions Day event on Saturday, July 14. Representing 23 Clubs from New York City, Albany, and other local regions, Lions members commemorated a decades-long partnership with Guiding Eyes at the event with delicious food, tours, “pawtographs” with Guiding Eyes puppies, and inspiring speakers and awards.
Lions Clubs International, with its 1.4 million members, is the largest service club organization in the world. Since 1917, they have aided the blind and visually impaired, championed youth initiatives, and strengthened communities through hands-on service and humanitarian projects in more than 200 countries around the globe.
Lions Clubs considerable contributions to advancing the mission of Guiding Eyes include nearly $750,000 in donations in the past decade, $17,000 on Saturday alone, and much more:
- Funding the “Walk Wall” on the Guiding Eyes Nature Path, a beautiful scenic pathway on which students and instructors can train with guide dogs
- Building a surgical suite for C-sections in the whelping kennel at the Canine Development Center in Patterson, NY
- Delivering a fleet of vans to transport students and guide dogs through the “Fleet Project”
- Providing on-site MRI equipment in the Training School veterinary hospital to allow veterinary staff to provide extraordinary care to Guiding Eyes dogs
- Making significant financial contributions to the renovation of the Canine Development Center
“We are so grateful for the ongoing support we receive from the Lions Clubs each year,” said Guiding Eyes for the Blind Chief Development Officer Jennifer Schell Podoll. “Nearly 100 years ago, Helen Keller challenged the Lions Clubs International to become ‘knights for the blind in the crusade against darkness.’ We feel their commitment to this challenge every day at Guiding Eyes, through the Lions’ continued support of our mission to provide exceptional guide dogs to people with vision loss.”
Guiding Eyes extends its sincerest thanks to Lions Club International for its ongoing support of the Guiding Eyes mission and to the community of people with vision loss.