Article Appeared in the Redstone Review, December 2015
Lyons knows how to give. This time of year there are many opportunities to share what we have and many groups working hard to help others in our community. The Lyons Elementary PTO, in coordination with Higher Ground Ministries and the Food Pantry/LEAF is organizing a food drive. Students at the Middle/Senior are also collecting food and cash to help those who can use some extra assistance. Our mayor has organized a sock drive for the homeless. There are coat drives, mitten collections, and a whole lot of overall generosity transpiring all around us.
While all of this giving during the holidays is wonderful, are we inspired to give during the rest of the year? The answer in Lyons is YES. Not only do people support local philanthropy through the Lyons Community Foundation and other groups financially throughout the year, but most importantly residents give their time and talents to perform significant work in the community. Artists, musicians, ecologists, educators, and just plain caring citizens work together in our town every day to enhance life and give back.
The spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism in Lyons runs deep and starts young. Kids aspire to not just participate in their parents’ efforts, but to make a difference on their own. In the aftermath of the flood, local kids found that they really wanted to help with service projects and flood recovery work, but legal and logistical restrictions limited their opportunities to do so. Not to be discouraged, a group from Lyons High School founded the Lions Leos in 2014. The students, led by Kate Berreman, Sierra Tucker, Faith Myers, and Mikayla Roth were able to partner with the Lyons Lions, a long- standing service organization for adults, as their sponsors and club advisors. They also partner with groups such as the National Honor Society, the River Church and the CSU collegiate rotary club in delivering on their common missions.
The Leos currently have 25 active youth members and is growing. Last year, they spread holiday cheer in the confluence by hanging up Christmas lights as well as making and distributing ornaments. They have worked with the Saturday deployments of Lyons Volunteers crews painting and landscaping, and also do work for the Lyons Library. Projects they are currently working on include a coat drive for LEAF and other shelters, and coordinating efforts for fundraising to further support their Lyons-centric service projects.
The Lyons Community Foundation is a go-to source for local philanthropy, connecting individuals who want to contribute to causes that are important here in town. Locals recently came out in force to support the LCF’s annual gala. This primary fundraiser of the year is made possible because of volunteers, donations by local businesses and individuals, and the contributions of all those who attend. Money raised is able to go directly towards future grants.
The roughly $42,000 in 2015 Community Support Grants that were recently awarded went to 19 different recipients. The projects are all the result of the creative ideas and hard work that comes to fruition as planned and executed by volunteer citizens. The 9Health Fair for example, is able to provide low or no-cost medical screenings to residents by operating almost entirely on volunteer labor. The event requires a very small amount of overhead as the people planning, organizing, setting up and cleaning up, as well as professionals and non-professionals working the event are all locals who offer hundreds of hours of their time and professional skills.
The Lyons Community Foundation would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the community of supporters and volunteers that make this work possible. We are committed to nurturing local philanthropy and fostering a culture of giving that enhances life in Lyons.
As this year closes, we would like to thank our outgoing Advisory Board members: Holly Beck, Roger Flynn, Jonathan LaCrosse, and Kris Donohoe who have all dedicated their time and talents. We are grateful for their service. It is the mission of the Lyons Community Foundation to improve the quality of life, build a culture of giving and encourage positive change in the greater Lyons area. For more information, to get involved, or to support our work, please visit www.lyonscf.org.