Atlanta Lions Have Busy Months

July 14, 2017

Butsch HeadshotAtlanta Lions have been busy the past several months with an active speakers calendar.  Joining the club in the late spring were noted author and millennial happiness expert, Chris Butsch.  Chris has spoken at dozens of universities, clubs, and organization to help others build fulfilling and engaging lives using science.  His first book, The Millennial’s Guide to Making Happiness, gives an insiders look at the Millennial generation.

In addition, the club hosted speakers, Matt Westmoreland of the Atlanta Board of Education.  Besides discussing the fiscal challenges facing the school system Atlanta Lions Club members made do of the opportunity to collaborate with Matt on growing the club’s vision screening activities in APS elementary schools.  In the 2016-2017 school year club members screened over 2,000 elementary students within the APS system.

In May, Gateway Center’s Bec Cranford presented an update on the chronic nature of homelessness within the City of Atlanta and the various volunteer services the Center is offering to its clients.  Club members discussed how the Center’s clients could participate in the upcoming October 12th vision screening and health services program the club will be providing in conjunction with Georgia 2020 and World Sight Day.

Additional speakers in June included Angelia Sanders of the Carter Center who gave the club an update on its worldwide Trachoma Control Program.  Trachoma is a bacterial eye infection found in poor, isolated communities lacking basic hygiene, clean water, and adequate sanitation.  The disease is easily spread from person to person through eye-seeking flies, hands, and clothes. Repeated infection leads to scarring and inward turning of the eyelid — a very painful condition called trichiasis — eventually causing blindness if left untreated.  Since 1998 the Carter Center has been working to control and prevent trachoma in the following six countries: Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda. Ethiopia has the highest known burden of active trachoma infection in the world.

Finally, the Atlanta Lions Club yesterday honored its long time club member, Dr. Tim Olsen of Emory University and the Emory Eye Center, who will be returning to Minnesota after nine years in Georgia for a professional opportunity at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  Dr. Olsen’s primary area of research is age-related macular degeneration or AMD.  During his career, Tim has been recognized by numerous medical & research organizations including the Lions Eye Institute for Transplantation and Research (LEITR) in Tampa, FL.  Tim’s contributions to the club have been immense.  The club will greatly miss his seat at the table and voice at the club’s luncheon podium.

Adding to yesterday’s luncheon was an update from Lion guest Becky Jarrell who has two daughters participating this summer in the Lions International Youth Exchange Camps.  One daughter is in a Lion’s exchange camp in Austria and another in the Country of Georgia  hiking and mountaineering the hills near Tbilisi, Georgia.

The Youth Camp and Exchange Program (YCE) brings the ideal of global citizenship to life.  Each year this program gives thousands of young people the opportunity to experience life in other cultures and gain new understanding of the world through travel abroad.  Unlike some youth exchange programs, YCE does not involve academic study or employment.  Instead, participants are encouraged to use this travel opportunity to represent their home countries and share their own culture while learning about and embracing a new one, forging the way to becoming young ambassadors for peace and international understanding.




Beacon of Hope Vision Screening

Beacon of Hope Vision ScreeningMarch 30, 2017

Atlanta Lions were busy this morning vision screening preschool children at the Beacon of Hope Renaissance Learning Center in the Old Fourth Ward. Lions Gary Martin, Jotham Reubel, Carolyn Pace and Wes Gifford screened 102 children from two to six years old using three PlusOptix screening devices.  Of the 102 children screened 24 (or 23.5%) will require a full eye examination by a professional eye care specialist.  This screening is the fourth year the Atlanta Lions Club have provided vision screening services for the BOH preschool.  Over the four years of screening at BOH the club has found a significantly higher than normal referral rate for children requiring a full eye examination.  Typically, national referral rates for preschool age children range between 8-11%.  For BOH screenings the referral rates have been between 20-25%.  Like many of the other low income urban schools where the Atlanta Lions screen the club is finding a disproportionate number of children who are requiring eye health services.  In the case of BOH almost all of the children screened were African American and Hispanic descent.  The Atlanta Lions Club believes eye health is a major issue for certain low income preschool and school age children within the City of Atlanta.  Children who will be referred to an eye care specialist by the BOH preschool may qualify to receive a voucher for a free eye examination and eyeglasses under the VSP Sight for Students voucher program.