A true Beacon of Hope Shines in Markham at the Charter of the Boxgrove Lion’s Club

Gold and silver glistening gemstones lit the evening on September 19, 2010 with women clad in saris of different shades entering J&J Swagat banquet hall excitedly. This was no wedding however, but being celebrated with equal fervour and anticipation was the long awaited charter gala of the newly established Boxgrove Lion’s Club- a new chapter in the Markham area inspired by past zone chair Lion Gobind Sharma, the organizer and sponsored by the existing Milliken Mills Lions’ Club.
A charitable organization of international renown, the Lion’s club has been operating since 1917 and has chapters all over the globe. The lions club runs many initiatives globally, the major projects being SightFirst, a program started up to treat and prevent childhood vision impairment or loss. The goal and motto of the lions club has been “WE SERVE,” and a growing theme for lions has been to become a beacon of hope in their community.
The birth of the newest chapter brought nearly  300 excited guests ready to embark on a journey of hope to bring joy and necessary help to those in need in both the community as well as around the world. The attitude towards community service as outlined in the Lion’s motto was demonstrated by the tremendous effort put forth by all of the members working towards launching their charter night, and in raising funds for their project to raise money for the Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) expansion, in particular the Mental Health Programs for the youth and families.  The funds collected by all members will be used towards the mental health fundraising campaign to expand the services and space offered at MSH for better patient intake and care. Presenting the Cheque at the ceremony was Lion Dr. Shivani Sharma, a well known local family physician also a significant donor towards the campaign.
The evening began with a flag ceremony by a flag march party lead by the Cadets 876 Lincoln Alexander Squadron and the national anthem followed by a moment of silence. The organizer and guiding lion Gobind Sharma, Chair of Mental Health Awareness from Dist A-16 Lions called the meeting to order. He congratulated the new charter members for being true beacons of hope by choosing to support the mental health program as their charter service project. He shared a quote by International Lions’ Club President Sid L Scruggs; “At the end of the day it’s not what I learned but what I taught, not what I got but what I gave, not what I did but what I helped another achieve that will make a difference in someone’s life, and mine.”
Several lions dignitaries including International Director Lion Carl Young, District Governor Jane Taylor, Past district Governors, Regional and Zone Chairs, Presidents from surrounding lions clubs, and federal, provincial and local politicians including Member Parliament Mr Paul Calandara, Member Provincial Parliament Dr Helena Jaczek, the Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Deputy Mayor Mr. Jack Heat and the Regional Councilor Mr Gordon Landon attended the event and presented gifts and greetings from their respective organizations and clubs.
Soon after, began speeches introducing the charter followed by a grand ceremony and mass inducting the 67 new members into the club. Once a lion, always a lion; all members dutifully read the lion’s pledge before candlelight signifying their lifelong devotion to humanitarianism.   Overall, in accepting the official charter from the District Governor Jane Taylor, Lion Neelam Sharma, president of the new club said that “we will use the association’s motto, ‘We Serve,’ to guide our community service and will strive to help wherever there is need.”
Mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpetti, brought greetings on behalf of the council and The Town of Markham and congratulated the new and old lions for the ongoing excellence demonstrated by Lions’ members both locally and throughout the world.
International Director Lion Carl Young, the key note speaker spoke about the true meaning of ‘lionism’ and presented his friendship lions’ banners to the president and the guiding lions.
In betwixt speeches, in true south asian spirit the evening’s entertainment featured dance groups from bhangra and bollywood to bellydancing and live music. The overall impact of the groups’ performances added a jubilant light to the already glowing event.
The event was well covered by the TV media partner ATN – Asian Television Network, print media SNAP Markham, the Markham Economist and The Markham Times.

Who can join: Community minded people who care about the neighbourhood where they live or work can join the lions club.
Further info:
Please contact: Lion Kavita Mehta at 416.806.4638. missykavs@gmail.com
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