Lethbridge College has received a $50,000 gift from the Picture Butte Lions Club to support students on campus with eyesight limitations. The Ron LeClaire Memorial Award is named in memory of a long-time Picture Butte Lions Club member and will be used to create scholarships for students who are blind or visually-impaired.
Ron LeClaire worked as a hotel owner in both Picture Butte and Milo. Following his retirement, he was an active member of the Picture Butte community, including his involvement in the Lions Club, before he passed away in 2011.
“It is our pleasure to support students right here in southern Alberta who face barriers in their education due to vision impairments,” says Doug Jackson, Picture Butte Lions Club board member. “You often hear people say, ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ That’s why it was important for us to partner with an institution that is giving individuals the tools necessary for success.”
Lethbridge College students with visual impairments are supported by the campus’ Accessibility Services department, which provides students with flexible, innovative and collaborative learning opportunities by creating custom pathways to academic success. Its services support a wide range of diverse learners, including those with physical, sensory, learning and developmental impairments. The Lions Club contribution will help to support students who depend on Accessibility Services to assist in their learning journey.
“The government funding we receive diminishes quickly, but our needs are ongoing,” says Karma Black, Accessibility Services coordinator. “Donations like this not only bring the community closer together, but help raise awareness to some of the challenges that people face on a day-to-day basis. We have a great institution at Lethbridge College and the Lions Club contribution has made it possible for more people to receive a barrier-free education.”
Since its creation in 1917, Lions Club International has focused on aiding communities with issues of vision, hunger, the environment, childhood cancer and diabetes, and is recognized as the world’s largest service club organization. Aiding those affected by vision impairments is a special priority. In 1990, the club launched its SightFirst initiative and has since dedicated countless hours and more than $346 million to restoring sight and preventing blindness worldwide. The initiative sends Lions members into various communities to work on healthcare system development and wide-spread drug treatment distribution, as well as operating and organizing eyeglass recycling programs.
Lions Club International has over 46,000 chapters and more than 1.4 million members around the globe, making it the world's largest service club organization. The Picture Butte chapter is currently seeking individuals who are interested in getting involved. More information can be found by visiting the Lions Club online.