Supported by Cane Island Katy Inc., the Fort Bend County West Lions Club is a community serving nonprofit with the mission of serving the Greater Katy, Fort Bend County, and West Houston, Texas community. Our purpose of providing humanitarian support and community-based assistance is what guides us in our decisions. Lions International President Dr. Patti Hill on August 5, 2023 declared that human rights are our responsibility as Lions. As your local association, we are focused on being the light to all people, with emphasis and particular focus on the LGBTQIA+ community that is historically marginalized, ostracized, and left out of the conversation. As of August 9, 2023, we are one of only three LGBTQIA+ specialty clubs worldwide. The other two are Phoenix Rainbow Lions Club, chartered June 4, 2020 serving Gilbert, Arizona, and Long Island Pride Lions Club, chartered June 27, 2022 serving Long Island, New York.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Belonging
Representation matters. That's a big focus for our organization. We cannot be a force of good serving our community when we do not have everyone we serve at the table. "There's something about seeing someone who looks like you that makes it more tangible."
Being intentional about our language. Just because we've always done it that way never means that it's automatically okay. We strive to be inclusive with our language, and check our own stereotypes and thoughts before we react. We are Lions, not mosquitos. "Some people experience mosquito bites all the time."
On the Global Lions Forum, the question was asked: "Young people often prioritize diversity and inclusion", how does your club measure up? and that got a lot of the Lions thinking. This is what President David had to say:
Inclusivity also means being strategic about your recruitment. Does your club look like your community? One of the things the Fort Bend Lions Club did is we looked at the schools demographics to see what our students looked like. Now we’re being intentional about reaching out to people who look more like the students. 22% of our club is Hispanic and 16% identify as black. That’s a huge difference from what we used to look like.
We also make an effort to have multiple languages represented at our service events. What languages does our community speak? Okay, that’s what languages we need to have. We partnered to host a DEI series. A huge part of that series was on helping us recognize the little things that we were doing that hit like mosquito bites when we’re not even realizing.
Inclusivity is so much bigger than just wanting to be welcoming. Are we meeting in a venue that others feel welcome in? If we’re meeting in a church, is that going to make someone who was harmed in a church or ostracized by a church feel included? Are we making our meetings and service projects accessible to all? What about parking? If someone has trouble walking is it easy to still gain access?
And are we communicating in multiple platforms? It’s easy to think of posting on social media, but do we stop at Facebook or do we include instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, etc.?
And how do we decide what projects to tackle? Do we ask the same people what they need? If you ask the mayor of your town what they need, will they give you the same answer as a high school student from the “other” side of town?
Just a very short post for thinking.
Charities, Initiatives, Programs, & Partners
The Transparent Closet is a free clothing boutique designed for trans and exploring teens, youth, and young adults to have a safe space for clothing needs and beyond. The Closet is a welcoming space with clothes, undergarments, binders, hair and style accessories, make-up, and more.
Katy Police Department
We collect toys in November and early December to take to the Katy Police Department. We also host an annual event to raise funds for the K-9 handlers.
Katy Heritage Society
Working with the Katy Heritage Society, we provide a second $1000 Adult Continuing in the Workforce Scholarship. Lifelong learning should be accessible to all, and this unique scholarship promotes the City of Katy and our unique history while providing a platform for adults to gain professional education.
Neighborhood Garden Project
The Neighborhood Garden Project is a community garden giving families the opportunity to grow food by helping remove common suburban obstacles - primarily the lack of adequate space and sufficient sunlight. The project caters to all ages and abilities, providing a safe space to learn and experience.
Eyes of Hope
Working with Katy ISD and Hope Impacts, we meet the critical need of providing glasses to our low-income neighbors in Katy. We are a local VSP Eyes of Hope Certificate Provider, offering those who meet the eligibility criterea eye exams and glasses at little to no cost to them or their families.
Lions International Foundation
The mission of LCIF is to empower Lions clubs, volunteers, and partners to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, and support those in need through humanitarian services and grants that impact lives globally, and encourage peace and international understanding. Our club directly supports LCIF.
SEAT is a movement of young people developing transferable skills and demonstrating youth visibility in policymaking. By engaging in constructive action with active engagement in hands-on opportunities of advocacy and education, they're creating a vehicle for driving civic transformation as we build a social movement for bettering our communities and dismantling oppressive power structures.
Working with our partners in the Katy Independent School District, we sponsor 17 individual contests for the largest art competition in the world. We are also sponsoring 17 contests for the biggest essay competition in the State of Texas.
The Boaz House
The Boaz House provides a racially, ethnically and culturally diverse therapeutic community that is well-suited for women who are serious about recovery. This unique community environment also nurtures peer support by providing an avenue for recovering addicts and alcoholics to share emotional, social and practical help with each other. Our club supports the Boaz House with vision assistance.
San Antonio Bexar Necessities
The San Antonio Bexar Necessities Lions Club aims to bring the commitment of service to San Antonio and the surrounding area through service projects and events that will make our community safer and stronger, providing greater impact on our Global Causes and our local community initiatives in Education, Health, and LGBTQ+. Our clubs are in ongoing collaboration.
Bay Area League of Extraordinary
The Bay Area League of Extraordinary Lions are a local specialty club focusing on supporting our differently-abled neighbors in fulfilling their lives, and its members come from all over the Upper Gulf Coast of Texas. Our clubs are in ongoing collaboration.