This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Sharon Howerton, president of Chicago Uptown Lion’s Club, a volunteer service agency committed to service in the Uptown and Edgewater neighborhoods since 1921. Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with over 1 million members. Their mission is to improve our communities and have been doing so for nearly 100 years. Don’t miss the Lions of Illinois Foundation’s annual fundraiser, Candy Days, this Friday, October 12 and Saturday, October 13!
“Everything is so convenient here [in Andersonville], it would be hard to go elsewhere”
Listen to Episode 30 with Sharon!
Here are some references from Episode 30 that you may want to check out:
- Sharon was born in Chicago, she grew up on the Southeast side and she’s resided at her current address in Andersonville for over 15 years. No stranger to the community, Sharon bought a home in 1981 in the Bowmanville area and has been serving the area ever since!
- Currently, she is a retired state employee, and at this time works from home as a teacher for the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, located in Winnetka.
- Sharon was invited to join the Lion’s Club because she was interested in better serving the community. She transferred to the Uptown office about eight years ago and serves as president of the Board. There are currently 28 members with seven or eight people on the Board.
- On Friday, October 12 and Saturday, October 13, the Lions host an event called Lion’s Candy Day, a fundraising initiative in which members go out to public spaces and trade candy for donations. Part of the collection goes to Lions of Illinois of Foundation and the rest to the Uptown chapter for service projects. If you’d like to donate directly to the Chicago Uptown Lions chapter, please click here.
- On October 26, the Uptown Lion’s are curating the Vision Bus, an opportunity for visitors to get their vision tested. Visitors receive the chance to get their retinas screened. Learn more about the Lions Club vision programs here. The Lions Club also accepts used glasses and hearing aids from the public for the purpose of refurbishing the item and offering them to a country that needs it. Learn more about the Lions Club hearing programs here.
- Folks can also drop off used eyeglasses and hearing aids at the Andersonville drop off locations: Alamo Shoes (5321 N Clark), St. Gregory’s Catholic Church (5545 N. Paulina) and the 48th Ward Office (5533 N. Broadway).
- Laura asks Sharon to share some of the day-to-day challenges of individuals who are blind or vision impaired. Sharon mentions trying to navigate through traffic and certain crossings at intersections can be difficult. Her organization is aiming to establish audible controlled intersections located within the community.
- Sharon mentions that it is different traveling with a cane verse traveling with a service dog. She’s worked with a service dog for the last 15 years. Her current dog is named Camea. She gives our listeners some tips on how to approach a Guide Dog:
- First, do not touch the guide dog; she’s working! Dogs working are in harness and often concentrating to make sure their handler gets around safely.
- If you are able-bodied and have your own dog, allow Sharon to pass with Camea, and keep your dog close to you
- Sharon welcomes questions about her dog and her disability, especially from children. She’s done presentations before to elementary schools. One of her favorite questions: “Is that a blind dog? No… she can see just fine!”
- If she could trade places with any business in Andersonville, she would trade places with Octavio Cantina and Kitchen (5310 N. Clark). Sharon also says that she has not been to Dollop Diner (5060 N. Clark) and is curious to check it out.
- If you have questions about Chicago Uptown Lions, please email Sharon directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meetings are the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30PM at Francesca’s Restaurant (1039 W. Bryn Mawr).
Visit Chicago Uptown Lions on the following platforms:
Information on Lions of Illinois Foundation at: lionsofillinoisfoundation.org
Information on Lions International at: lionsclub.org