By Stephanie Malench
On January 29 the Leo Club of Collinsville High School had an evening to remember. First the Club had a meet and greet at Colton’s with members of the Noon and Evening Lions Clubs.
Also in attendance were Zone Chairman Guideon Richeson, District Governor Ann Ragsdale, and International Director Bob Block.
The mission of the Lions Club centers around providing help and funding services for the blind and visually impaired. The first clubs were founded in Illinois, leading Chicago to become the international headquarters. There are now over 48,000 clubs worldwide.
The Collinsville High School Leo group was chartered at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year under the direction of Noon Lion Dr. Morris Kugler. The Club has approximately 30 primarily Hispanic members who are encouraged to participate in the sponsoring Lions activities as well as coming up with their own.
Mostly from the same neighborhood in Fairmont City, the Hispanic students have a close bond and when one group graduates, they convince their younger peers to join the group. Senior co-president Lasaro Rodrieguez told the gathering that he enjoys being a Leo because he is “not only able to see the change, but be the change”.
The group presented Block with a Collinsvile Kahok baseball cap as a thank you for his commitment to the entire Leo and Lions community.
Because of the diversity of the group, one of the regular projects the students do is going to the MindsEye Virtual Newsstand at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville and read in Spanish for the listeners. The club has also adopted the highway along Morrison Ave to pick up trash and co-hosts a movie night with the Brighter Futures Club at the high school.
The other event the CHS Leos participated in was part of a long-standing Lions tradition to show up on Charter night for new clubs. That night the Triad High School Leos was chartered, sponsored by the Marine, Troy, and St. Jacob Lions Club.
The new club is expected to start with between 45 and 50 students and has already planned their first activity, collecting art supplies for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, BJC Children’s Hospital, and Leaps of Love.
As the only two Leos chapters in the district, there is the possibility that there will eventually be a joint project, also encouraging them to work with others beyond their school.