CHICAGO, June 16, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over 26,000 volunteers from 105 countries will be greeted by a simple message when they come home to Chicago to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Oak Brook-based Lions International this month: "Be kind." Many of them will roll up their sleeves and do good work in Chicago's neighborhoods—it's what Lions do.
To encourage others to be kind, ads around the city on 40 L trains, and numerous bus shelters in high-traffic areas along the Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park, and messaging at O'hare International Airport and in CTA stations such as the Midway and McCormick Place can be seen now, each echoing what Lions clubs have been saying for a century, "kindness matters."
With messages such as "Things are looking up because of kindness," or "Kindness matters: At home in Chicago and around the world," the ads were designed to inspire random acts of kindness, which is what Lions International's 1.4 million volunteers in 200 countries are known for.
"In today's world it's too easy to forget the power of doing good. We are constantly bombarded with reminders of what divides us, but doing something nice for someone, even if it's insignificant, can be a powerful way to unite people," says Lions International President Chancellor Bob Corlew. "Kindness cuts across all languages and cultures, which is why Lions have focused on it for 100 years starting here in Chicago and expanding our work across the globe."
With the goal to start a movement in Chicago, where Lions was founded in June 1917, local Lions will distribute Kindness Matters bracelets as they urge Chicagoans to do something nice for someone to spread kindness around the city during their convention later this month. Project Kindness will involve teams of volunteers throughout the city doing nice things for people with a message to "pass it on." A list of 100 easy ideas for being nice is avail on their web site.
"It can be as simple as letting the person behind you move ahead of you in line, giving up your seat on the L or holding the door open," Corlew added. "Kindness is contagious. If someone does something nice for you, you want to spread that feeling. Giving can be better than receiving."
Founded in Chicago in 1917 and growing into the world's largest volunteer organization, LCI empowers its 1.4 million members in over 47,000 clubs with the motto "We Serve" and projects ranging from feeding the hungry to administering free health screenings or selling Christmas trees in the community and using proceeds to fight river blindness in Africa.
"Lions have helped shape volunteerism over the past century and all the tools available to us today to help make volunteering easier. Now we want to inspire others to pay it forward, and experience the feeling of doing good," Corlew continued.
The organization marks its centennial anniversary June 30 – July 4, with one of the most internationally diverse conventions ever to come to Chicago. Note the following media opportunities during the Lions convention:
Local Service Projects
Hundreds of volunteers will roll up their sleeves and do good work as part of several service projects around the city June 30 – July 3. Call media contacts for details.
State Street Parade of Nations – Photo Opportunity - Saturday July 1
Parade featuring an estimated 26,000 Lions from 105 countries, many in native dress, along with floats and 25 marching bands, beginning at 9 a.m. Sat, July 1. Starting at State and Wacker and ending at State and Van Buren, Lions will pass out kindness bracelets encouraging others to do something nice that day.
NBC's Little Big Shots star Gavin Stevens Performs - Sunday July 2
Seven-year-old Gavin Stevens suffers from a rare disease that has left him almost completely blind, Leber's Congenital Amaurosis (LCA). LGA has not stopped Gavin from some big-time performances however, and after singing the National Anthem at an L.A. Kings hockey game, he was asked to perform on Steve Harvey's TV show, "Little Big Shots". He will perform at the Lions International opening plenary in honor of Lions work to help the blind, a plight that began 100 years ago with Helen Keller calling on Lions to become the "knights of the blind."
Chicago, the Hub of Volunteerism and 100 Years of Lions
Since its early days, Chicago has inspired its residents to roll up their sleeves and extend a helping hand to those in need. A wide circle of civic, service and educational organizations were founded in Chicago, such as Jane Addams' Hull House, Lions and Rotary International, and over the last 150 years volunteers have flocked to join thriving chapters of such groups as the YMCA, the Hibernians and many other religious, women's and business clubs and neighborhood associations. LCI, the group that was to become the world's largest service organization, was formed in this culture in June 1917—the fulfillment of a dream of business leader Melvin Jones to bring his peers' talents and resources together to make positive change in their communities.
Announcement of New Signature Cause
Lions International will announce their new signature health cause, which their 1.4 million volunteers worldwide will focus on in their next century of service.
Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographic areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired, championed youth initiatives and strengthened communities through hands- on service and humanitarian projects. For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit lionsclubs.org.
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SOURCE Lions Clubs International