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102 Years of Service -- Chartered May 20, 1920
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The Des Moines Host Lions Foundation is the charitable arm of the Des Moines Host Lions Club. The Foundation was born of a desire of the Club to elevate the visibility of the Club's charitable activities and to support the tax-deductibility of contributions, especially charitable bequests, for which 501(c)(3) status is required. The five Foundation's Board of Directors are elected by the Club members every spring at the annual election of Club officers. Foundation Directors serve a term of three years.

The Foundation's charitable purposes are to support activities and programs providing help and guidance to the blind, visually disabled, and those with hearing and speech disabilities, to assist with sight conservation, rehabilitation of the blind and related programs.

Helen Keller's Call to Lions Speach
Helen Keller's Speech

1925 International Convention
Cedar Point, Ohio USA June 30, 1925

Dear Lions and Ladies:

I suppose you have heard the legend that represents opportunity as a capricious lady, who knocks at every door but once, and if the door isn't opened quickly, she passes on, never to return. And that is as it should be. Lovely, desirable ladies won't wait. You have to go out and grab 'em.

I am your opportunity. I am knocking at your door. I want to be adopted. The legend doesn't say what you are to do when several beautiful opportunities present themselves at the same door. I guess you have to choose the one you love best. I hope you will adopt me. I am the youngest here, and what I offer you is full of splendid opportunities for service.

The American Foundation for the Blind is only four years old. It grew out of the imperative needs of the blind, and was called into existence by the sightless themselves. It is national and international in scope and in importance. It represents the best and most enlightened thought on our subject that has been reached so far. Its object is to make the lives of the blind more worthwhile everywhere by increasing their economic value and giving them the joy of normal activity.

Try to imagine how you would feel if you were suddenly stricken blind today. Picture yourself stumbling and groping at noonday as in the night; your work, your independence, gone. In that dark world wouldn't you be glad if a friend took you by the hand and said, "Come with me and I will teach you how to do some of the things you used to do when you could see"? That is just the kind of friend the American Foundation is going to be to all the blind in this country if seeing people will give it the support it must have.

You have heard how through a little word dropped from the fingers of another, a ray of light from another soul touched the darkness of my mind and I found myself, found the world, found God. It is because my teacher learned about me and broke through the dark, silent imprisonment which held me that I am able to work for myself and for others. It is the caring we want more than money. The gift without the sympathy and interest of the giver is empty. If you care, if we can make the people of this great country care, the blind will indeed triumph over blindness.

The opportunity I bring to you, Lions, is this: To foster and sponsor the work of the American Foundation for the Blind. Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness; no little deaf, blind child untaught; no blind man or woman unaided? I appeal to you Lions, you who have your sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?

I thank you.

"Coming to Your Senses" is a vision-screening project conducted by Lions Club volunteers around the state of Iowa who are trained to screen young children in their local communities. The vision screening is non-invasive. Lions Club volunteers use a special camera to take photographs of the children's eyes.
Specialists in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics evaluate the results of the vision screenings. Parents receive the results of the screening within two to four weeks after they are conducted. If a possible vision problem is detected, a letter of referral and a list of optometrists and ophthalmologists in their local area are provided.
The first few years of a child's life are critical in the development of good vision. Problems are not always evident by simply looking at a child. Each day that eye problems go undetected and untreated, a child's vision may deteriorate to the point of irreversibility. The earlier these conditions are detected, the more easily and successfully they can be treated.
The Iowa Optometric Association, along with the Iowa Academy of Ophthalmology, also released the following joint statement:
"The Iowa Optometric Association and the Iowa Academy of Ophthalmology stress the importance of good vision and healthy eyes. Recognizing the importance of vision in learning, both organizations recommend that children between the ages of six months and four years, who do not show signs of visual defects, receive a scientifically validated vision screening to rule out undetected vision problems. If a parent suspects a vision problem, for their child of any age, both organizations recommend the child receive a comprehensive eye examination from an ophthalmologist or optometrist."
For more information, contact the Iowa Optometric Association at 515-222-5679, or visit online at http://www.iowaoptometry.org. Information can also be obtained through the "Coming to Your Senses" office at 319-353-7616, or online at http://webeye.ophth.uiowa.edu/ctys.

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