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Why Lions?

The Laoac United Lions Club in the Philippines works on a well that will provide clean water for the Don Rufino Tabayoyong Elementary School.

The Laoac United Lions Club in the Philippines works on a well that will provide clean water for the Don Rufino Tabayoyong Elementary School.

Why Lions?

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Touchstone Story #40

What is it that makes people around the world choose to join Lions clubs when there are so many organizations competing for their time and energy?  

To find out, Lions Clubs International conducted a global survey of nearly 8,000 members in 134 nations in 2012, and the answer that came back was crystal clear: By a wide margin, the No. 1 reason members gave for joining Lions is “to serve the community where I live.” 

The desire to help local communities has been at the heart of the Lions mission from the very beginning, reflecting founder Melvin Jones’ devotion to the concept of service. What if the very people "who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition were to put their talents to work improving their communities?” Jones asked a century ago. 

The modern Lions have done just that. With more than 1.35 million members in more than 200 nations, Lions have created the world’s largest service club organization. Lions’ service takes many forms, from providing guide dogs to the blind to cleaning up the environment. But while members differ from one another in some ways, Lions worldwide share a common impulse to help others.

“We’ve gotten a lot of membership just from doing service in the community,” said Ty’East Alleyne-Bunn, past president of the Central Brooklyn Lions Club in New York. New members come on board because “people want to do good,” she said. “People want to help.” 

By joining forces with others through Lions service projects, people find they can accomplish more for their community. “As Lions, we give our gift of service throughout the year,” Sid L. Scruggs III, who served as international president from 2010 to 2011, said in a letter to members in LION Magazine. “And because we don’t act alone, but combine our energies, ideas and resources, we are a mighty force for good.”

Joining the Lions offers a way to make new acquaintances, take part in fun outings and enjoy stature in the community. But it is service that ranks as the single biggest reason for becoming a Lion, with 63 percent of the respondents rating service to their community as the main reason for becoming a member. No other answer topped 50 percent.

Other reasons for joining: being with friends (37 percent), the prestige of being part of a large international organization (16 percent), being with family members who are already Lions (12 percent), networking to grow a career or business (9 percent), and receiving tangible recognition for accomplishments (5 percent). Members were allowed to list more than one reason.

“Before I joined the Lions, I only knew it was an honor to be a member,” Wing-Kun Tam of Hong Kong, China, who served as international president from 2011 to 2012, said in an interview with LION Magazine. “After I joined, I started to understand the spirit of Lions.” It was only then, he said, that “I understood we are to help the needy and share our happiness with others.”

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