Oral Clark, past committee chair with Lions Club International, speaks to incoming district governors during a convention in the city Friday. Pictured behind him is Mike Molenda, Lions Club International international director. — Star photos by Jamie Bennett
What’s the best solution to the issue of bullying in our schools? For Lions Club International, the secret could be in the program Lions Quest Canada.
The service group is holding its Multiple District Lions convention this weekend at the Greenwood Inn in Corner Brook and on Friday, incoming district governors were given an overview of the Quest program.
Members representing all four Atlantic provinces, as well as a small portion of Maine are in the city for the convention.
Lions Quest was started in the 1970s in Canada but has grown to include clubs in the United States as well.
The mandate is to support and empower adults to nurture caring and responsibility in young people.
Programs are designed to be taught as part of the school curriculum and are funded by the Lions. Teachers are trained to provide information about substance abuse and bullying, as well as violence prevention and emotional learning.
Mike Molenda, Lions Club International director, said while there has been some reluctance to the program in rural parts of the United States, the program is a successful one when implemented.
He said the program has adapted over the years and that information about preventing bullying has taken on a vital role in the curriculum.
“It’s something that’s certainly come to the forefront in recent years,” Molenda said Friday. “We’ve gone from an emphasis on drug awareness to bullying.”
Past committee chair Stewart Macdonald of New Brunswick said the program has been well received in schools in his province.
As the memberships of service clubs in general ages, Macdonald said it’s been a challenge convincing members to stay in tune with the needs and troubles of today’s youth.
“Sometimes we don’t take enough interest in the younger generation,” he said.
“But if you talk to teachers that who have been trained in this program, you learn that it’s been very successful.”
There are currently no schools in the province with the Quest program on its curriculum, but Macdonald said work is underway to change this.
Meanwhile for his part, Molenda, who’s a Minnesota native, said it’s important for him to show his solidarity with fellow Lions around the world by attending such conventions.
“When we come down they know we’re interested in them and that we appreciate them,” he said. “For me, the personal satisfaction is what I learn here.”