CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: Pendleton Lion Jim Carlins and Barker Lion President Scott Ecker.

Pendleton Lion Jim Carlins visited the Barker Lions to tell them about the Hopeful Ways organization.  Its mission is to provide medical and  humanitarian services and educational opportunities to the people of 
Nicaragua.   Working with the various Lions Clubs in Nicaragua, Western New York Lions go to Nicaragua for weeklong missions. Due to COVID and other situations, the last trip was in 2018.  Planning has 
started for a trip whenever things open again.

The main focus is operating eye care clinics and organizing eye surgery programs.   Part of this is providing eye glasses to those who need them.  One of the slides was boxes of glasses sorted for 
transport.  Shipping takes about 6 months, so this is an ongoing project.  Carlins also explained how sunglasses are needed due to the living conditions there.  Another need is for safety glasses, which 
they insist all workers wear when performing certain tasks at the clinics.

Many of the surgeries are for cataracts.  He explained how the Nicaragua Lions organize buses to bring people needing cataract surgery.  They arrive, have the surgery, stay overnight and have a 
follow up visit.  The funds raised in New York pay for everything.  At times, other, more extensive, surgeries are needed.  Again, Lions covers the cost of everything.

When they do vision screening, they will see about 250 people in a day.  They are provided with an eye exam and glasses.  Carlins answered questions about these programs focusing on the Hopeful Ways slogan: Providing Hope, Enriching Lives.

Lions International is known as Helen Keller’s Knights of the Blind, a focus they continue today.  Barker Lions were pleased to learn how one group puts this into practice.  Barker Lions Club President Scott Ecker thanked Lion Jim for visiting. “Our club has made donations to your organization for years.  We were excited to learn more about it,” he said.

Barker Lions meet the first Wednesday of each month. For more information about these or other Barker Lions programs, email or call 778-7001.

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