Henrico County VA
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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

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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Join costumed guides as they offer a personal introduction to the turkeys, chickens, sheep, horses, cows and pigs from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Meadow Farm Museum, 3400 Mountain… Full text

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