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Hearts of lions

LEO Club thriving at Wilder Middle School
Wilder Middle School teacher Sandra Small (center, behind a student) gathers her LEO Club students.
Sandra Small started the first LEO Club in Henrico County at L. Douglas Wilder Middle School to get students involved in their communities.

So far, so good.

The LEO Club Program is a youth version of the International Lions’ Club, an organization focused on helping communities through individual and collective contributions. LEO stands for “Learning, Experience, Opportunity.”

As a member of Eastern Henrico's Battlefield Park Lions Club, Small, an eighth-grade civics and economics teacher, organized the formation of the LEO Club at Wilder and participated in the charter ceremonies on April 30.

“Our motto is to serve. We offer aid and finance to vision and hearing organizations around the world,” Small said about the Lions Club, which also offers immediate financial support and supplies for those suffering from natural disasters.

President Kie’Auntae Parsons, Vice President Brittany Hubbard, Treasurer Arlette Howkins and Secretary Briana Bailey took their positions as the officers of the club and signed the charter at the closing of the ceremony.

Currently, the club has 30 members – 29 eighth-graders and one sixth-grader.

“We helped with the Central Virginia Food Bank back in November and December,” Small said. “In February, we decorated Valentine’s Day boxes and now we are working on a recycling project. We’ve already saved an unbelievable amount of paper.”

Club members at Wilder Middle School already have plans to start LEO Clubs at other Henrico County schools. Many of Small’s students will be moving on to Henrico High School and are eager to start a club there.

“I told my students that I would meet with their principal to get the club started and that I could come to the meetings at times when my other club didn’t meet,” Small said. “I hope that students will want to start a LEO Club wherever they go. I think it’s important that we fill in for our generation that is too busy or do not have the time to help out more in the community.”

The 107,000 Lions of Japan are receiving help from club members all over the world. The Lions Club International foundation has raised more than $7 million to aid Japan, and many have provided emergency relief supplies toward recovery efforts. With 40 years of disaster relief experience already under its belt, the foundation is always ready to help.

Following the destructive storms that recently hit the Southern United States, Lions have donated $400,000 as well as food boxes and medical supplies toward relief efforts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.

While the international organization fulfills activities such as fundraising and disaster relief, the LEO Club accommodates youths between the ages of 12 and 18 who want to gain leadership experience and commit themselves to their communities.

The earliest LEO Club was established in Pennsylvania in 1957 but did not become official until 10 years later.

Wilder Middle School opened its doors April 30 at 7 p.m. for the first LEO Club induction ceremony in Henrico County. The evening began with a line of speakers followed by the induction of the LEO officers. Since the LEO Club is sponsored by the Battlefield Park Lions Club and the West Breakfast Lions, many members from both organizations were present to congratulate the newly initiated youths.


Community

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden raises admission $1

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s admission has increased by $1 across all categories. Admission is now $12 for adults; $11 for seniors ages 55 and older; and $8 for children ages 3–12. Admission remains free for children ages 3 and younger and for members.

The last price increase was in 2011, before the Garden consistently hosted Butterflies LIVE! (which is included with admission). > Read more.

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

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Entertainment

US Army Field Band to perform in Henrico Aug. 3

The United States Army Field Band will present a free public performance at Deep Run Park in Henrico on Sunday, Aug 3 at 3 p.m.

Members of the band are soldiers who also serve as “musical ambassadors of the Army” and perform for schools and communities nationwide.

The Concert Band will be performing along with the Soldiers’ Chorus. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

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