Lions Club member sees benefit of volunteering
Lions Club member Len Smith sits his eye glasses on one of the LIons Club's stuffed lions. Smith has helped the vision and hearing impaired through the Lions Club for 30 years. | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:04PM
VERNON HILLS – A founding member of the local Lions Club, Len Smith has helped vision and hearing impaired people for 30 years.
With raising money and collecting donations to purchase devices for local vision and hearing-impaired residents at the heart of the Lions Club, Smith has made the cause an integral part of his life.
From hearing aids to eyeglasses and optical reading machines, the Lions Club collects the equipment and, through referrals from local schools and organizations, helps dozens of people every year, Smith said.
Q: Can you tell me about the Lions Club?
A: The Lions Club is the largest service organization and was founded in Illinois. We were challenged to help the sight and hearing impaired in the 1940s.
Q: Why did you get involved in the Lions Club?
A: I’ve always done volunteer work. I’m a charter member of the Vernon Hills Lions Club. I’ve done everything. I’m past president and have worked on many projects.
Q: How great is the need for vision and hearing devices among local residents?
A: The need for seniors, to provide them with eyeglasses, reading devices and hearing aids, has really increased.
Q: How do you get referrals?
A: We work with all of the school nurses in the area; they have our contact information. We get requests from different service organizations and senior centers. These are income-challenged people and they don’t have insurance that covers the cost.
Q: How does the Lions Club get the money to buy the devices?
A: We’re always looking for contributions to the Lions Club so we can continue providing them, and we hold fundraisers.
Q: What else does the Lions Club do?
A: We run Camp Lions that sight and hearing impaired children go to, and we help to sponsor these children. We’ve helped with the Special Olympics and with a number of other causes.
Q: What has volunteering meant to you and what would you say to someone considering volunteering?
A: To get a phone call from someone to thank you and tell you they can see their kids clearly now, it’s so rewarding. From a little time to a lot, you don’t have to wait until you’re retired to help out. The rewards are 100-fold.