The Holiday Inn in Sparks is the site of this year’s Cabinet Meeting and Friday the Sparks Marina was crawling with Lions Club volunteers from across the state participating in a community cleanup project. As some members rid the Sparks Marina of trash, others were arriving at the motel in preparation for a weekend of activities, planning and social outreach.
“I got the idea of doing a service project like this in each town we go to that hosts the meeting about three years ago. We get a bunch of Lions members together and instead of just meeting socially we can get out and do some service in the community,” said Cliff Cooper, Second Vice District Governor and member of the Spanish Springs Lions Club. “I believe it shows the unity of the organization and we are trying to get as much exposure as we can. We have almost 1.4 million members worldwide but we only have a fraction of 1 percent of the population, so the more exposure we can get doing work, we hope that will gain more membership. By doing it in each town we won’t gain members in just one place, we get it from all over the state.”
Eric Renteria, president of the Sparks Greenbrae Lions Club, said he worked with the City of Sparks Parks and Recreation Department to organize the cleanup for Lions Club members. He said the cleanup is just one of many community enrichment events the club currently has in the works.
“We take care of (Church Park) on Richards Way as our adopted park and we clean that a couple times each year,” Renteria said. “We have a lot of fundraisers planned for the holidays like food drives, candy sales and we try to make sure anything we have left over goes to organizations that are in need during the holidays.”
Sparks Mayor Geno Martini will be making a proclamation at Saturday’s Cabinet Meeting for Reading Action Program (RAP) month for the District 46 (Nevada) Lions Club. International Lions Club President Wayne Madden, a former teacher, vowed to focus the intent of Lions Clubs around the world on improving literacy for grade school children.
“We will be focusing on the literacy of students in the third through fifth grades in conjunction with a vision and eye care program that we have been doing for several years,” said Alan Snellbaker, district secretary and secretary of the Sparks Greenbrae Lions Club. “We are told that the third grade is when students’ eyes develop enough to know if they need corrective lenses or not, and the fifth grade is where they will take their first state exams. We continually do eye screenings in the schools in Washoe County to ensure students can see and that their eyes are operating properly. After all, if you can’t see then you can’t read.”
The weekend’s Cabinet Meeting will allow all members in attendance to actively participate in eye-screening preparation courses with Dr. Richard Meier of Reno.
The Sparks Greenbrae and Spanish Springs Lions clubs are still planning the agendas for participation in RAP month, but members say that group readings and one-on-one tutoring are likely in the cards during November.
“(Madden) firmly believes literacy is one of our biggest problems. The economy is bad and jobs are scarce, but you can’t get a job if you don’t know what is going on,” Cooper said. “As far as the RAP program goes, some of our clubs have taken to mentoring students and holding meetings at libraries or having book club group readings at local libraries. Much of it comes from our partnership with the school district and we will try to help them in any way we can.”
The annual Cabinet Meeting will last two days in Sparks and Cooper said this will be the largest attending crowd in the past three years. Having looked at the registration for the last three years, Cooper said the event will see many new faces.
“We have about 20 percent of the people registered are doing it, if not for the first time ever, for the first time in a long time,” Cooper said.
For more information on the District 46 Lions Club Cabinet Meeting, visit www.sparksgreenbraelions.org or e-clubhouse.org/sites/sparksspanish/.