Champions Moment – March 2014
Organizational Champion, the Keene Lions Club, joined on May 13, 2012, when their group made the pledge to live, share, model and inspire the Healthy Monadnock 2020 initiative. Geof Molina, a Keene retiree from NGM Insurance Company (Main Street America) and long time member of the Keene Lions Club and its Eyesight and Hearing Committee, helps organize and conduct pre-school eyesight screenings in Keene and several surrounding communities. Below, Geof excitedly shares the many ways that the Keene Lions Club is doing their part in improving the health of our community!
It was clear to Geof why his organization, the Keene Lions Club, became a Champion back in 2012 when Healthy Monadnock 2020 came to speak at one of their monthly meetings. Geof shares that the Keene Lions Club, as part of the world’s largest service organization, “has been providing assistance to people of the Monadnock area for over 75 years”. “While the club is involved in many charitable causes, helping people with eyesight problems has been its primary area of focus”, says Geof. “Over many years, this has included gathering used eyeglasses for others and providing assistance to children and adults in need of eye examinations and eyeglasses. We have even helped people with cataract operations as well. To us, our activities are very consistent with the goals of Healthy Monadnock 2020 and we wished to signal our strong support of that initiative by becoming an Organizational Champion.”
Over the years, the Keene Lions Club and its members have been working very hard and have made great strides in helping improve the health of our community. Geof shares that in 2012, “the Keene Lions Club’s Eyesight and Hearing Committee, chaired by fellow Champion and member, Paul Henkel, began to explore the possibility of introducing a new program called “KidSight”, a program that begins screening pre-school children for eyesight conditions in Keene and in several surrounding communities.” Since the program’s initiation in 2012, Geof reports that “358 children were screened in 16 schools with 21 children being referred”. In a year’s time, as the program gained more exposure in the Keene area, the program increased its numbers from to “457 children screened at 20 schools” with a goal of recruiting more.
“The program that we envisioned and now operate was and is entirely consistent with the Club’s mission, other existing activities, and the benefits of this are obvious, worthwhile, and rewarding, says Geof.” “We know that eyesight continues to develop until about eight years of age and with this program, we are certainly trying to identify serious conditions that might occur later in life. But, just as much, we are proactively identifying children with less serious problems that we know can result in difficulty in school, interaction with other children, sports, etc. Taken together, we feel quite strongly that this is good for Keene and Cheshire County and very much in keeping with the goals of Healthy Monadnock 2020.”
“From our perspective, the Champions Program is bringing people and organizations together within the Monadnock area in support of a common cause”, shares Geof. “The Program helps reinforce the message that we and our organizations all share responsibility to improve the quality of our health and our lives.”