Lions Clubs are involved in many activities and community services, but one of the most significant services provided is the Iowa KidSight Program.
Iowa KidSight was originally called “Coming To Your Senses” and began on a limited basis in 2000. The Mason City Noon Lions Club became involved in 2001 as the program was expanded state wide. Dennis Reidel provided the leadership to get the program started in our club. Initially screening was done with a specially designed Polaroid camera. Screenings were originally scheduled in cooperation with the AEA hearing screening program. John Lundberg assumed leadership of the program for several years. Jane Ginapp is currently providing program leadership.
When Iowa KidSight transitioned to a digital camera system, Jim Clark led an effort to purchase a $10,000 digital camera that significantly improved the screening process. This purchase was also financially supported by the evening Lion's club and other community organizations. Volunteers from both Lions Clubs in Mason City were trained to use the camera to obtain sharp and clear pictures.
In 2013, a law was passed by the Iowa legislature to require vision screening for young children prior to starting kindergarten. This law specifically named Iowa KidSight as an acceptable provider of this service. Iowa KidSight is currently a joint project of the Lions Clubs of Iowa and the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology. Iowa KidSight targets children from age 6 months to pre-kindergarten. Screening sessions are set up with the local head-start schools, daycares and pre-schools in the fall of the school year. A slightly darkened room is needed so that the child’s eyes will dilate while looking at the flashing red lights on the camera. These pictures are electronically transferred to Iowa City for eye specialists to study and identify vision problems such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, a difference in the refractive errors between eyes, things inside the eye such as a cataract, muscle imbalance, and astigmatism.
During the 2019/20 school year, Mason City lions screened 546 children. Of this number, 58 were referred to an eye doctor for treatment. The other 488 children did not need a referral; thereby saving their parents the expense of a costly eye exam. This screening provided by the Lions Club and required by law is free. What a great service to the community and to Iowa!
Submitted by John Lundberg and Jane Ginapp
Lion Bob was a long-time active member of the Mason City Noon Lions Club. After Bob passed away, his family decided to donate $500 to our club in his memory. We wanted to do something special with this money, and it so happened that $500 was the exact amount needed to sponsor a puppy at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility (FDCF) Puppy Program for Leader Dogs for the Blind.
Some of our members had visited the FDCF and were impressed with the program. An inmate was not assigned a puppy to raise unless he earned the privilege to do this. This program was as therapeutic for the inmate as the total dedication given to training the puppy was beneficial for the dog.
So our club applied to sponsor a dog and we requested the puppy be named “Bob” if male and “Bobbie” if female. Our club was put on the list and we waited. It did take awhile, but in September of 2018, we received notice from the FDCF that Bob had arrived and was assigned to a trainer. The notice we received even included a picture. Everyone in our club was so excited. The trainer sent monthly updates to us and we even kept our benefactor’s family informed of the progress Bob was making. In July of 2019, Bob completed his training at the FDCF and was accepted to the advanced Leaderdog Training Facility in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Finally, in December of 2019 we were informed that Bob had successfully completed the training and had been assigned to a client! The Mason City Noon Lions Club is proud that we were involved in this program. What an accomplishment!!! This is what it means to be a Lion.
Submitted by Lion Jane
Mason City Noon Lions Club
Musical playground in memory of Henry T. Paine
Henry was a band teacher and long time member of the Mason City Noon Lions Club
DG Kris Buehner and President Mike Blackmore experiment with the Manta Ray
Mike Betz, a recent St. Olaf graduate, demonstates proper technique.