LANCASTER — Gallipolis Leos and Lions Club members traveled to Lancaster Ohio Saturday for the annual District 07 banquet, with the Leos returning with a special honor.
“This award is pretty hard to get, it is a great honor to receive,” said Leo advisor Chris Homer. “It started in July, but it has gone beyond belief. It shows volunteerism and love for their community.”
Homer explained that each year the district awards two clubs this honor, one for groups over 50 members and one for groups under 50. Gallipolis Leos brought home the award in the under 50 category with 32 members. The main considerations for this award are membership and what activities the club have been involved with.
What makes this honor even more special is the fact that the club has only been in existence since July. According to President Makena Saunders and Vice President Brianna Sanders, Advisor Sandra Mayes approached them last school year about starting a Leo Club at Gallia Academy.
“Last year, our Junior year, Mrs. Mayes came up to me and asked if I wanted to be a part of Leo club and I’ve never even heard of it. Then we got together, me and Brianna and a few others and we started getting people to sign up,” said Saunders. “Over the summer we started doing a lot, and the beginning of this year we started with a big induction to get into Leo Club.”
Leos stay involved throughout the year, doing some kind of event two or three times a month to help out. Some of what they have been involved in includes packing snack-packs for Guiding Hand students every month, stuffing Christmas stockings for 104 kids through the Lions Club, assisted with the Gallipolis Police Department Hat Drive, collected socks for Veterans, donate stuffed animals for the Gallia Sheriff’s Office to give to children while on calls, and more.
“The whole purpose behind it is to get the youth involved with a leadership experience and opportunities in their community, that’s what Leo stands for: leadership, experience, and opportunities,” said Homer. “Eventually we want those Leos to be transferred to a Lions Club. It’s getting experience and knowledge of what leadership is.”
As far as this award, the students are excited about the trajectory of the club.
“It was a great achievement. Everyone in the group has worked hard and Mrs. Mayes has been extraordinary and always has something for us to do,” said Saunders.
“I’m hoping that underclassmen can look up to us seniors and being involved a lot and that will motivate them to give back to the community,” said Sanders.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.