LIONS CHILDREN FIRST. Planning Guide

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1 LIONS CHILDREN FIRST Planning Guide

2 INTRODUCTION Lions around the world are actively involved in helping children thrive, especially those who are facing adverse circumstances. Lions are accustomed to putting children first enabling them to grow, learn and enjoy a better quality of life. Whether assisting with a food drive, healthcare screening or local reading program, Lions are dedicated to making a difference, bringing hope and help especially to children in need. Lions everywhere are encouraged to organize hands-on service projects to address essential needs, where perhaps no services exist. Through Lions Children First, you can mobilize the community to build awareness and join in our association s efforts to provide hope and help to underserved children. Lions are needed now more than ever. This guide provides your club with a step-by-step approach to determine the needs of underserved children in your community. You ll find guidelines to form a committee, establish local partnerships where needed, set goals and organize your service project. Please use this guide to begin your Lions Children First project today! If you have any questions or need further information, staff at Lions Clubs International Headquarters will be glad to assist you.

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Why Organize a Lions Children First Project? 2 Getting Started: Step One: Community Needs Assessment 3 Step Two: Plan Your Project 5 Step Three: Publicize Your Project 6 Step Four: Implement Your Project 6 Resources 7 Lions Children First Program Activity Guide 1

4 Why Organize a Lions Children First Project? As a member of the world s largest service organization, your Lions club has the opportunity to make a significant impact on the children you serve. You can develop effective service projects that: benefit children in your community. increase awareness about children s essential needs. build a community network of support. provide rewarding experiences for your members. attract new members to your club. Lions Children First provides you with resources to develop hands-on service projects in the following areas: Food/Shelter: to ensure that children have safe places to live, receive adequate nutrition to fight off illness, and develop healthy minds and bodies. Health: to provide children in need with adequate health care, to ensure their future growth and development. Education/Literacy: to ensure that children receive their right to education. Education transforms lives and breaks the cycle of poverty. 2

5 GETTING STARTED Step One: Community Needs Assessment Before choosing a project, it is important for your club to determine what kinds of services are needed for children in your community and how Lions can help. A Community Needs Assessment will help your club answer these questions. It will also help your club identify the individuals and organizations concerned with meeting the health and education needs of children, a process that may lead to future collaboration. Furthermore, by completing this assessment and initiating a project for children, your club will demonstrate the leadership skills that promote club pride, build team spirit, and attract new members. Take the following steps to assess the healthcare, education, and food/shelter needs of children in your area: 1. Appoint a Committee During a club meeting, discuss the importance of conducting a community needs assessment to identify opportunities to serve vulnerable children in your community. If members agree, appoint a committee to conduct the assessment. 2. Identify Key Individuals in the Community to Contact Before beginning the assessment, your committee should identify the individuals who can best evaluate the needs of children in your community. Make a list of individuals to contact. The list should include specialists in the fields of health and education. Here are examples of individuals to be contacted: Health Services Education Services Youth Services Hospital administrators, doctors, nurses Administrators and teachers at local schools, library directors and personnel School counselors, social workers, student leaders, managers of youth programs and activities, police, fire fighters Once you have obtained contact information for the individuals listed, the assessment can begin. Lions Children First Program Activity Guide 3

6 3. Conduct a Survey Contact the individuals on your list to see if they will participate in the assessment. A sample questionnaire is included for your convenience at the back of this publication. Explain that the questionnaire can be answered by , over the phone, in person or by postal mail. If the individual prefers to be surveyed by mail, then mail the questionnaire with a cover letter (see sample at the back of this publication). Indicate a return address on the back of the questionnaire or include a stamped, self-addressed envelope to increase the likelihood of a reply. If the individual prefers a telephone survey, proceed to the questionnaire. 4. Analyze Survey Responses Once the questionnaires have been completed, the committee can begin reviewing and analyzing the results. Try to answer the following questions: In your community, what health and education services do children need the most? Who are the potential community partners your club can work with? How can your club help to ensure that children receive these services? Are other clubs and organizations providing these services? Would these groups be interested in collaborating with your club? In summary, what are the specific needs and how can your club help? 5. Share the Results with Club Members Share the assessment results at a club meeting. Get feedback from club members and discuss how your club might address the specific needs of children in your community. Invite fellow members to give their opinions. Be receptive to new ideas and decide which project the club can do. If you have learned about children s needs outside of your club s service area, consider informing the district governor. Finally, inform other clubs in your area about the project your club is planning, as these clubs might want to partner with you or be encouraged to conduct their own community needs assessments of children's needs. 6. Further Engage with the Survey Participants Send a message thanking respondents for participating in the survey. Let them know how their input helped your club to develop a project to serve children in need in the community. Ask them if they are interested in working with the Lions and invite them to attend the next club meeting. 4

7 Step Two: Plan Your Project Form a Planning Committee Once your club has decided on a service project, you will need to identify volunteer leaders and form a Planning Committee. This committee will be an important part of your service project. The Planning Committee can share the work and help to motivate your members to participate. They will also set goals and track progress. Use the Planning Committee Worksheet at the back of this publication to compile a list of committee members and contact information. Develop an Action Plan Planning is the key for a successful service project. Your action plan should have the following: Budget Goals Action steps Time frame Local partners Volunteers needed Public relations plan Resources needed Share your action plan with your club. Welcome help and suggestions from other members who would like to become involved. Schedule meetings that strengthen your team and engage your club members. (See a template for designing your action plan at the back of this publication.) Obtaining Support from the Community An important part of your Lions Children First project is the involvement of local businesses and organizations. They can provide valuable support to your project. Some examples are: Health care providers Schools Libraries Police and fire departments Pharmacies Youth centers Children and youth organizations Governmental offices Scout troops Grocery stores Lions Children First Program Activity Guide 5

8 Step Three: Publicize Your Project The Lions Public Relations Guide (PR-710) contains valuable information for developing your public relations plans. It is available on the association s website. You may also consider the following: Invite local media. Prepare a news release to be sent out at least three weeks in advance of your project. Contact the news editors or directors again the week before the event. Enlist the help of a respected local celebrity or governmental official. Ask Public Service Directors at local radio stations for assistance with promoting your project. You may select from a variety of public service announcements available on the association s website. Contact your community s public access television station. Publicize your project in local newspapers, community newsletter, your club or district s website or other social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter). Use the community posters (IAD 254-A and IAD 254-B) available on the association's website. Step Four: Implement Your Project Involve your club members! Reach out to prospective members and individuals who are interested in the success of your project, to let them know the progress that your club has made. Invite them to get involved. Encourage participation from neighboring Lions and Leo clubs, family members, friends and co-workers. Remember to reward successes. Adherence to Local Laws and Customs Lions Clubs International is committed to promoting the safest possible environment for all participants in Lions activities. LCI highly recommends that the participating Lions clubs verify and follow local laws and customs dictating the provision for background checks for adults working with children and youth. Insurance Lions clubs or districts can obtain a copy of the association s liability insurance from the Legal Division at International Headquarters, 300 W. 22nd Street, Oak Brook, IL , USA. Information is also available on the association s website. Recognition Be sure to send thank you letters to those who participate in the project planning and implementation. Present certificates of appreciation where appropriate. You may wish to use the Lions Children First Certificate of Appreciation (IAD255), or refer to the Lions Clubs International Club Supplies Catalog for other recognition awards. 6

9 Resources The following resources can help your club start a successful children s service project. Lions Children First: Program Brochure (IAD 253) provides a summary of the program and how Lions can help. Lions Children First: 25 Project Ideas to Serve Children (IAD 257) provides a list of simple, easy-to-do projects to serve children. Lions Children First: Community Posters (IAD 254A & IAD 254B) eye-catching promotional pieces that can be displayed in public areas to announce your club s service project for the benefit of children in your community. Posters include space for your club s name and contact information. Lions Children First: Certificate of Appreciation (IAD 255) an attractive certificate, suitable for framing, to honor club members, community partners and other volunteers for their contributions and spirit of service. Lions Children First: Sample News Release (IAD 256) gives your club the recognition it deserves and attracts community support for your upcoming project. Lions Children First: Materials Order Form (IAD 251) contains a listing of all program materials to help you develop your project. Lions Services for Children Symposium Planning Guide (IAD 262) provides useful information for planning a symposium event as part of your Community Needs Assessment before developing your project to serve children. You can also download the publications at Lions Logo The Lions Clubs International logo should be used on all publicity, including stationary, flyers, posters and banners. The logo is available for your use on the association's website. Related Sites World Health Organization (WHO) UN Children s Fund (UNICEF) Lions Children First Program Activity Guide 7

10 STEP ONE: LIONS CHILDREN FIRST S A M P L E C O V E R L E T T E R : C O M M U N I T Y N E E D S A S S E S S M E N T To be attached to the questionnaire and mailed to community leaders. Date Name of Community Leader Title Address Dear (Name): To provide better service to (name of community), the (club name) Lions Club is conducting a survey of resourceful people and those with expertise in the community. Our goal is to clearly identify health and education services which we as a service club could provide to children in need. We hope you will help us identify areas of need within our community. By completing the attached questionnaire, you will help us to determine children s needs in the specific areas of health and education. Please feel free, however, to comment on any service needs which you feel would benefit our community. We also encourage you to forward a copy of this questionnaire to any other person whose comments you believe would be helpful to our survey. Please return the completed questionnaire by (date). After we have compiled our data, a representative of our club will provide you with a summary of what we learned from the assessment and how we might work together. In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at (phone number and/or address). I would welcome hearing from you. Sincerely, (name of Lion) (name of Lions club)

11 STEP ONE: LIONS SERVICES FOR CHILDREN COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT QUESTIONNAIRE Name: Job position: Address: Business Telephone: Fax Number: Area of Expertise: Health Services Education Services Youth Services Other 1. Can you identify successful service projects in your field that provide health and/or education services to children in your community? Yes Please list below. No 2. If you answered yes to question one, why do you think the community service projects you listed are successful? 3a. Can you identify a specific children s need in your field that, if met, would especially benefit the community? Yes Please describe below. No 3b. How do you think this need can best be met?

12 Lions Services for Children Community Needs Assesment Questionnaire (continued) 4a. Do you know of any volunteer groups that currently address this need? Yes Please name the groups and describe their activities below. No 4b. How can volunteer groups work to complement each other and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts in addressing this need? 5. Do you feel that residents in this community are adequately aware of the health and education services available to children? Yes No Please comment below. 6. In your opinion, is there room for more volunteer projects to address the needs of children in your service area? Yes Please comment below. No Additional Comments: Signature Date Please return completed questionnaire to: Thank you for your participation.

13 STEP TWO: LIONS SERVICES FOR CHILDREN PLANNING COMMITTEE WORKSHEET Planning Committee Members: Name Phone No. Project Responsibility Community Partners: Name Organization Phone No. Other club members/interested individuals: Name Phone No. Project Responsibility

14 STEP TWO: LIONS SERVICES FOR CHILDREN ACTION PLAN Action Steps Time Frame Volunteers Needed Budget/Resources Goal: Overall budget: Fundraising strategies: Public relations strategies: Community Partners:

15 Service Activities Division Lions Clubs International 300 W 22nd St Oak Brook IL USA Telephone: (630) Fax: (630) Web: IAD-252 EN 8/15

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