SHERIDAN — Sheridan’s Lions Club continues to help the community see and experience life with restored vision and support.
Lions Club member Denise Rawlins fondly recalled visiting the Allen H. Stewart Lions Camp on Casper Mountain during the weeklong Wyoming Lions Summer School for Youth with Visual Impairments.
“They didn’t know how to play an instrument, but they worked all week to learn how to play an instrument; it was so cute,” Rawlins said.
Sheridan’s Lions Club supports the camp through its summer fundraiser, the Lion Ryan Express Bicycle Ride. The event includes a 20-mile and 38-mile bicycle road tour in July. The event raised around $700 last year, and that funding goes directly to the children at the summer school.
“Once a week, through the summer, they let any child that can’t see go to the camp for free,” Rawlins said.
Local Lions Clubs also continue the pursuit to help children with sight through free vision screenings. Three years ago, a collaborative effort of Lions Clubs from Sheridan, Big Horn, Kaycee, Story and the Child Development Center Region 2 helped purchase an optic machine to help conduct screenings for children in Sheridan and Johnson counties.
“We check the children’s eyes and then we send them a letter to the parent that suggests if they need to see an eye doctor,” Rawlins said, mentioning they screen from ages 1 to 6 years old. To continue supporting this ongoing project, the Sheridan Sundowner Lions Club hosts a popular, yearly concert. This year, the theme will be a throwback to earlier decades with a concert featuring Yesterdayze, a high energy ‘60s show band with seven men and the lead female guitarist, flutist, percussionist and vocalist.
The Lions Club hopes to sell out of the 225 planned seats.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or at Sheridan Printing. The funds received for the concert will go to sustain the eye care project.
“When the kids are smaller, they don’t really understand that they’re seeing right,” Rawlins said. “If the machine can detect an abnormality, it prints out whatever it says and it’s best to get the child to an eye doctor.”
In addition to screening children, the club donates to the health clinic that completes eye care for adults.
The club will purchase eye glasses for children in need, both locally and globally, as the Lions Club collects used eye glasses and Walmart ships them to Lions Clubs International, who in turns sends them out to nations in need on a global level through the SightFirst Program. According to the website, SightFirst is a program that works to eradicate blindness.
Community members may get involved by donating new or used eyeglasses to the Lions Club, attending the events or becoming a member of the Lions Club in their community.