In 1917, Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader, told members of his local business club they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities and the world. Jones’ group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed. After contacting similar groups around the United States, an organisational meeting was held on June 7, 1917, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The new group took the name of one of the invited groups, the “Association of Lions Clubs,” and a national convention was held in Dallas, Texas, USA in October of that year.
Lions Clubs International (LCI) is an International secular, non-political service organisation and as of April 2015, it had over 46,000 local clubs and more than 1.4 million members in over 200 countries around the world. With headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, United States, the organisation aims to meet the needs of communities on a local and global scale.
To sustain its legacy of service and also in continuity of its objectives, the Ikeja Viva L’amour Lions Club of the International Association of Lions Club, District 404B-2, Nigeria, recently installed a new president to carry on mantle of leadership. The event which featured the investiture of her Centennial President and Fund Raising Dinner, has in attendance the Centennial District Governor, Lion T.O.S. Adewunmi who said the Ikeja Viva L’amour Lions Club is today one of the leading clubs in District 404B-2, Nigeria, which has served humanity with passion. Adewunmi appealed to more Nigerians join in the service of humanity by donating generously to the cause of service adding, “The world needs us now more than ever before and we need to address issues of poverty, hunger, disability and disaster which impact the lives of millions around the world.”
In her welcome address, the newly installed president, Lion Helen Mbakwe said that though the club’s reach is global, the impact is felt locally and in very personal ways that uplift spirits, improve outcomes and give much-needed hope, adding that this was the right time for members to bring out the best they can offer, especially right now in Nigeria where there is untold hardship and fewer opportunities and means. “The call to support others can be no clearer than at times like this,” said Mbakwe, a practicing lawyer who has a strong passion for helping the needy.
The Centennial President who no doubt envisaged challenges during her tenure noted, “It is certain there will always be challenges but with Viva L’amour and their love spirit, we know that we are going to overcome any challenge on our path. So I cannot promise that there will be no challenges. In fact, the one assurance I can give is that in addition to challenges, there will be days that test our patience and collective will. But the one promise that I can make is that I will serve Lions Club with all my spirit and the dedication that my heart is capable of.”
The Media and Publicity Secretary of the Club, Mrs. Amaka Ohia, said “We have done several activities like restoring sights, assisting people affected by natural disaster, reducing hanger and empowering the youths and many other things. Viva L’amour is 10 years old and to continue with these services, a new president, Mrs. Helen Mbakwe is being inducted as 11th president of Viva L’amour Lions Club and also as the Centennial President of the Club to carry on with objectives of the club in the years 2016/2017.”