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Collin Starts Lions Club, Ignites Service Projects

April 7, 2006 - The Lions Club is prowling at Collin County Community College District (Collin).

Collin is the first college in the Lions Club's 2-X1 District (Ellis, Dallas, Rockwall, Kaufman, Hunt and part of Collin counties) and the second in the state to start a branch of the international service organization.

In an effort to recruit younger individuals, the Lions Club had a table at Welcome Week last fall on the Spring Creek Campus gauging student interest. In October, the group held its first meeting and has since hit the ground running with service projects.

The Collin Lions Club welcomes the community to its charter ceremony 7-9 p.m., Saturday, April 22, at the Spring Creek Campus Conference Center, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway.

The Lions Club started in 1917, the brainchild of Chicago businessman Melvin Jones. The Lions Club's agenda matches part of Collin's Core Values as both institutions have a passion for service and involvement.

"The Lions Club is the largest service organization in the world and service to the community is the primary reason they exist," Dr. Donald Weasenforth, Collin Lions Club member, said. He also is the chair of English as a Second Language, Developmental Reading, Development Writing and Study Skills.

Last fall, according to Weasenforth, the college group collected food for the Samaritan Inn in McKinney, a homeless shelter for adults and families, which had reached near capacity due to the influx of evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The Collin Lions Club also has taken up Lions Club International's main programs in collecting eyeglasses, which are refit and refurbished and given to those in need for free. This initiative stems from Helen Keller, the deaf and blind activist, author and lecturer, speaking to a Lions Club in 1925 urging them to be "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness."

With boxes at the Spring Creek and Central Park campuses, the group has already collected 54 pairs of eyeglasses and boxes are in the works for the Courtyard Center for Economic and Professional Development and the Preston Ridge Campus in Frisco.

According to Weasenforth, the Collin Lions Club has plans to start their first international program by collecting textbooks and sending them to schools in Africa who cannot afford texts.

"It is a very good organization," he said. "They have the community's best interest in mind, and I am very proud to be a part."

The Collin Lions Club was established mainly for students who are interested in community service. The annual dues are $10.

Currently, there are about 45,000 Lions Club in 197 countries and territories.

To find out more about the Collin Lions Club or to RSVP for the charter ceremony, call Weasenforth at 972.881.5970 or e-mail him at dweasenforth@collin.edu by Friday, April 14.

Collin County Community College District (Collin) serves more than 40,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. The only public college in the county, Collin is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.