Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vision Screen 2011

The Lions are known as "Knights of the Blind". For District 50, Hawaii Lions, we continue to not only live up to it, we also seek to find those who need assistance. Hawaii Retina Institute, with their traveling vision van is one of the tools we use.

The van made it's annual trek to the island of Hawaii and The Lions Club of Kona partnered with other Lions Clubs to staff the van as we conducted vision screening. From Sept 06-09, 2011, our Lions Club volunteers assisted in the transportation of the van as well as screening support in various locations from Captain Cook to Kailua Kona. This annual affair is held at no cost to the community and hundreds of community members come out to take advantage of this service.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sensory Safari

On A Sensory Safari

Most of us take our eyesight for granted. It is not until one is blindfolded that we realize how handicapped we are without our eyesight. Being blindfolded and lead by someone gives one a sense of what it is to be blind and one is very grateful when the blindfolds come off. However, for some members in our state, the blindfolds never come off. For these individuals, the Lions Club of Kona put on a Sensory Safari.

The Lions Club of Kona gave these blind or visually impaired individuals an opportunity to go on a safari by touching and feeling mounted museum animals to get an idea what the animal would look like. Members from the National Federation of the Blind came from Kailua-Kona, Hilo and Honolulu to participate in the Lions Club of Kona’s Sensory Safari. The NFB chapter members got to touch and feel life-sized animals like a lion, leopard, and various antelope, goats, sheep and deer. They also got to feel various animal skulls, tusks, feet, horns and antlers to get an understanding of the anatomy of the various animals of the world would look like. The Lions Club of Kona members acted as guides and helped to articulate and describe what NFB members were touching.

Lions Club of Kona member, Eugene Yap opened his home and his museum animal collection to the members of the National Federation of the Blind so they could participate in the Sensory Safari. Lion Yap explained that they would be feeling and touching mounted animals from around the world would experience a good sense of what these various animals looked like, by touching them. He also explained how adding value to an animal helped to preserve the animal’s existence. If the animal brings in revenue and represents some “worth” for the native people, then the indigenous people will conserve both the animals and their habitats and not slaughter them just for their skins or tusks, or participate in the illegal sale of bush meat, or burn the forests down just to make charcoal fuel for cooking.

New Projects Committee Chairman Lion Jack Vore welcomed the group at the start of the Sensory Safari. “The Lions have always been involved in community sight and vision projects. The Sensory Safari is a new community sight project for the Lions Club of Kona where we can extend our service to the blind, by offering new experiences for them in our community. It is the vision of the Lions Club of Kona to extend the worlds of the NFB members through explorations and discoveries through their other sensory faculties.”

Lion President Robert Lovin, who is also a trustee of the Hawaii Lions Eye Foundation, said “It was truly heartwarming to watch the members exploring, touching and feeling the various animals and enjoying their discoveries. Seeing their smiles and hearing exclamations of surprises at each of their discoveries, made this a gratifying Lions project. Hearing them say ‘I didn’t know what a lion really was, until I ran my fingers all over its body,’ was extremely gratifying to help someone ‘see’.”

Sylvia Abernathy, President of the National Federation of the Blind, West Hawaii Chapter, thanked the Lions Club of Kona and spoke for the other NFB chapters by saying, “it was a wonderful experience and opportunity to be able to touch and feel so many different animals. You don’t really realize how large some of these animals can be, or how soft their hides really are or even comprehend the various shapes and sizes of their tusks, their feet, their horn and their antlers are. It was a wonderful experience to learn about some of these animals and to ‘see’ all of these animals by going on a Sensory Safari.”

Past International Director, Lion Maurice Kahawaii, shared his gratitude to his fellow club members for their on-going community sight projects. “The addition of the Sensory Safari and the on-going relationship with the National Federation for the Blind, West Hawaii Chapter is significant for the Lions Club of Kona as they seek to fulfill Helen Keller’s challenge to work with the blind.”

New Projects Chair Lion Jack Vore leading a participant on.

Lion Jean Bevan-Marquez watches as a Joaquin Luna checks out the display.

Lions Club of Kona Sensory Safari 2011

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Location:Hawaii 180,Holualoa,United States