Since 1948, the Nederland Lions Club has served the city and communities beyond. Local members provide services to community members, emergency funding and volunteer support when needed. President Ann Marie Morgan spoke about the local club, what Lions do and how members have helped during the COVID-19 pandemic and in recent years.
“I have been involved with the Lions club for about 12 years. Right now we have 12 members on our books,” Morgan said. “That’s one of the reasons we try to get our organization out there so people know what we do, maybe be interested, can join us and help us. Even if you wanted to come and just help with the projects, that would be great.
She said the local club is open to anyone interested in becoming a member. The local organization is affiliated with Lions Clubs International and the Colorado Lions Club.
“We align some of our projects with the needs of our community with some of Lions International’s priority areas; things like vision, youth, disaster relief, hunger and humanitarian efforts,” she explained.
In terms of vision, the group performs vision screening tests for children with the Colorado Lions KidSight program. Ned Lions has worked with the New Explorers Learning Center of TEENS, Inc., Eagles’ Nest and Gilpin Schools. Members also collect, sort and recycle used glasses in and around town, including Boulder. Frameworks are passed on to be assessed and repurposed, ultimately being redistributed to those in need, both locally and internationally. Some glasses reach people in developing countries. Finally, the group helps community members in need with eye exams and glasses.
Each fall, the club holds the Peace Poster Contest with Nederland Middle-Senior High School. Art teacher Theresa Redmon assists in this process, in which students are entered into a statewide competition. Students receive cash prizes for the best local poster, with the winning poster advancing to the district level of the competition. If the student’s poster is selected there, it advances to the state level, and eventually to the international competition from there.
“Over the past two years, our winners have done very well. This year our winner won the state of Colorado,” said Morgan, speaking of Evelyne Stanton, who won first place in the statewide peace poster contest. “It’s nice to see the ideas. We have a small reception where [students] can talk about the posters and what peace means to them.
The Netherlands Lions actually started what was called the “Senior Appreciation Night” in the 1980s, which has since evolved into a regular banquet. The club also grants scholarships to seniors who leave for higher education each year.
In terms of humanitarian efforts, members helped other members of the community with walks or meals if they were sick. On a less individual level, they have worked with the annual 9Health:365 health fair as cashiers each year, and have also volunteered and helped fund the Nederland Food Pantry. This year, the group will be involved in the Nederland Community Church’s partnership with Rise Against Hunger. For more than three years, volunteers have been packing food to provide meals for impoverished children in international poverty.
In terms of emergencies and disaster relief, the Colorado Lions Club has helped events in recent years. The overall organization used the efforts of small clubs, volunteers, supplies, bedding and pantry donations during the 2013 floods. Netherlands Lions even helped with labor and donations to fire recovery efforts. During the response to the Marshall fire, the club distributed supplies and bedding purchased with club funds to the Fire Relief Center. Morgan says being part of the club is a unique and special experience.
“For me, I think it’s an opportunity to work with and support people, and to work in partnership with our other community organizations. There are so many wonderful non-profit organizations in our area. Especially as a small organization, we want to support them and we hope they also support us in our efforts,” she explained. “I love the idea of volunteering in my own community. I love interacting with people and feeling like I can make a small difference.
Morgan’s favorite part is helping out with the Peace Poster Contest, student input, and meeting the community at the Health Fair held at the Nederland Community Center in November.
The current Lions board of directors consists of Morgan as chairman, who worked at Nederland High School for 23 years and continued to work with students with special needs. Vice President Karen Siefert is a local architect and also sits on the board of Canyon Cares and the Nederland Food Pantry. The treasurer is Certified Public Account Eugene D’Alessandro in the Netherlands. Secretary Fran Bauer, along with D’Alessandro, have served since the 1990s. Other longtime Lions such as Antoinette Rose, Annette Schneider, Justine Erwin and Roy and Rose True have served the club’s community and missions decades.
The club no longer has a physical location, but had a building that hosted pancake breakfasts from around 1960 to the late 90s. Currently the club meets every other Thursday at the Nederland Public Library every month at 4 p.m. Anyone interested in its projects and community volunteering is welcome to attend.
For those interested in membership, Morgan can be reached at 303-653-4327, or by emailing [email protected] Local Lions will also be at the Nederland Farmers Market for the rest of the summer. The club does not have an official webpage, but is listed at e-clubhouse.org/sites/ nederlandco.
Sponsored by the City of Nederland, with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.