Lions Extend Hand to Collaborate More Closely With the National Federation for the Blind, Virginia Chapters

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The Northern Virginia Lions are currently in discussions with several other potential partners, and after Saturday's presentation, hope to include the National Federation of the Blind, Virginia to their list of partners.

"As Lions, we need to collaborate with other organizations to reach growing community needs"

Over 220 sighted, visually impaired, and blind were in attendance at the National Federation for the Blind Virginia’s annual state conference.

The crowd was eager and enthusiastic to hear about new technologies, lessons in independent mobility, use of white canes, and to listen to what other organizations have to offer to the visually impaired.

Lions Clubs International, 24-A District Governor Dennis Brining was in attendance and spoke during the general assembly. In his speech, District Governor Brining highlighted the need to collaborate with other organizations to reach growing community needs.

District Governor Brining says there is power in the pride, “As Lions we can respond collectively. Lions Clubs are encouraged to show their global friendship and help other Lion communities in times of calamity. Clubs united make possible what may be beyond the capacity of a single club or district. We are everywhere.”

Lions Clubs International work in collaboration with numerous corporate & NGO’s and Government Partners to include, the Carter Center which has been awarded more than $40 M to prevent River Blindness in Africa and Latin America, Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and The National Eye Institute and many others.

Locally, the Lions of District 24-A have strategic partnerships with Prevent Blindness Mid Atlantic (PBMA) who developed a Certified Vision Screening Program that reaches nearly 400,000 children/year, across the Commonwealth. PBMA with Lions support as appropriate is now moving this same program into Maryland in hopes to reach some 550,000 children over the next three years.

More recently District 24-A Lions joined forces with the Virginia Department of Blind and Visually Impaired and The Prevention of Blindness Society to expand a Low Vision Center in Fairfax that will reach a catchment area of 2.3 million people.

The Lions of Northern VA raise and return more than $1,000,000/year and the Lions of VA raise more than $5,000,000/year to assist their communities.

“We are able to provide financial support in force, the sheer number of Lions members allow us the availability to really make a difference,” noted Brining.

District Governor Brining ended his speech stating that Northern Virginia Lions are currently in discussions with several other potential partners, and after Saturday’s presentation, District 24-A Lions hope to include the National Federation of the Blind Virginia to their list of partners.

During the assembly, Dr. Lawson, coordinator and instructor for the Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Vision Impairment at George Mason University, encouraged collaboration as did most of the day’s speakers.

Additional covered topics ranged from literacy for the blind, early child literacy programs, the needs of the blind deaf community, to adjusting to the workplace. All speakers agreed there is a great need for civic, state, federal, and nonprofit organizations to unite to expand capabilities and truly address the needs across the Northern Virginia region and beyond.

District 24-A Lions Clubs are men, women and youth who volunteer time and efforts to humanitarian causes through our district, the State of Virginia and the world. By conducting service projects and raising funds Lions strive to help indigent people locally and throughout the world community. The Lions' motto is "We Serve". Visit http://www.valions.org for more information on District 24-A Lions or go to the Lions Clubs International site at http://www.lionsclubs.org

Lions Clubs International was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1917. Lions Club International has grown to be the world's largest service organization with more than 1.3 million members belonging to approximately 43,000 local clubs in 207 countries and geographical areas. Lions Club International headquarters is located in Oak Brook, Illinois and is governed by a board of directors, which are elected annually at our International Convention.
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The NFBV Affiliate is one of the 52 affiliates in the National Federation of the Blind. There is an affiliate in every state, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. There are 15 chapters throughout the Common Wealth check the list below to find one near you. In addition to chapters and affiliates, there are several divisions, which focus on specific areas of interest to blind persons. Virginia has divisions, which focus on Deaf-blindness, students, vending stand operators and diabetes. There are many more divisions on the national level. Check the national web page for a more complete listing at http://www.nfb.org.

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Edward Woodard

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Dennis Brining, District 24-A Governor
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