Special to Atmore News
The Atmore Lions Club is happy to announce that they have started an Alpha Leo Club at Escambia County High School. While this is often referred to as just a Leo Club, the Alpha signifies that it will include students between 12 and 18 years of age, as opposed to an Omega Leo Club which is for young adults between 18 and 30 years of age. The Alpha tract focuses on the individual and social development of teens and preteens whereas the Omega tract is designed for the personal and professional development of young adults.
Students in the new club will meet twice monthly during seventh period and have a project each month. The students will serve their school and community through service projects focused around environment, literacy, health services, and hunger. Project ideas are reading to children at the library and local schools, serving the nursing home in many capacities, feeding a needy family, stocking the local food pantry, decorating City Hall for the holidays, Toys for Tots, adopting a child at Christmas, a diabetes awareness walk, and volunteering at local city events. The Atmore Lions Club has also encouraged them to help build the Lions Club Christmas float and ride on it in the parade.
The Leo Club motto says it all – Leadership, Experience, Opportunity. Note that the first letter of each of those three words spells out Leo. Members acquire skills as project organizers and motivators of their peers, discover how teamwork and cooperation can bring about change in their community and the world, and develop positive character traits and receive recognition for their contributions.
Several years ago, some members of the local Lion Club mentioned the possibility of starting a Leo Club in Atmore. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and Atmore Lions have moved slowly to be sure all the pieces were in place for a successful Leo Club for our city. Lion Taylor Lee first contacted principal Dennis Fuqua and counselor Ashley Trawick to present the Lions plans and see if they would mesh with school programs. Fuqua approved the club and recruited teacher Barbara Whatley as the school Leo advisor. Lee returned to the school on November 1 and did a presentation to students and handed out applications. Students had to fill out the application, write an essay, and have a teacher recommendation. Additionally, they needed to pay a $10 application fee. This organization was open to all students, and many applied. The adults working with the planning realized it would be better to start small and grow slowly than to have too many students to involve correctly, so only 22 are in the initial group of charter members. Once the club is up and running, others will have the opportunity to join.
The members have met, elected officers, and already begun discussing possible projects. The five officers were guests at the Atmore Lions Club meeting on November 20 where they were introduced and had a chance to see a Lions Club meeting in action.
Newly elected officers and members are Kirsten Hollinger, president; Nakieya Robinson, vice president; Tatyana Kirk, secretary; Taliyah Leslie, treasurer; and Calvin Stots, reporter. Other charter members are Destiny Brown, Ashley Craft, Syria Etheridge, Ty’Queria Evans, La’Asia Henderson, Jada Johnson, Kayley Johnson, Janiyah Lambert, Brianca Lee, Jamarcus Leslie, Isiah Mason, Sanaa Pleasant, Joshua Richardson, Jaslyn Silar, Aniya Stots, JacLynn Tucker, and Jykeria Wilson.
The first Leo Club was organized in 1957 in Pennsylvania. Ten years later, Lions Club International adopted Leos as an official program. This has been a perfect fit because Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.4 million members. Today, there are approximately 46,000 Lions clubs in over 200 countries. Regardless of the language Lions speak, religion they practice, or politics they support, all share a common dedication to helping people in need. Leos learn about helping others at an early age because they develop and practice leadership, organization, and social skills through participation in Leo Club activities and service projects. Involvement in these activities often fosters a lifetime commitment to helping others, while helping the community. Atmore’s Leo Club is one of over 6,500 in more than 140 nations.
Atmore Lions Club is extremely thankful to principal Dennis Fuqua, counselor Ashley Trawick, Leo advisor Barbara Whatley, and Lions Club member Taylor Lee for their willingness to serve the students at ECHS and the new Leo Club.