The Visalia Pride Lions Club has the great distinction of being Number 2 and they are very proud of that! The club is the second LGBTQ Lions Club in California. The Castro Lions Club in San Francisco has the honor of being the original club and is celebrating their 25 year anniversary this year. The club members started Visalia Pride Lions to assist their LGBT community and the larger Tulare/King County communities through projects, scholarships and volunteerism. The new club is currently 44 members strong and meets on the first and third Monday of the month, at Mimi's Cafe in Visalia, CA. This is the 6th Lions International club in Visalia.
The Visalia Pride Lions originated with 24 members who were determined to create an influential LGBT club. Their official Charter dinner party was held last April at the Visalia Convention Center. Among the 150 people who attended the gala event were the Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Visalia, several officers of the Lions Clubs International district staff and many members of other community clubs. The Lions International organization has been very welcoming and supportive of the new club and hopes that there will be more LGBT Lions clubs starting in the Central Valley and across the state. There is already interest in Bakersfield and Sacramento to form new clubs.
In their first year of charter, the Visalia Pride Lions hosted a "Meet and Greet" for The Trevor Project, an organization which supports LBGTQ youth through its crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs. Club members staffed booths at the Tulare County Suicide Prevention event and the Family Festival in Visalia, supported the Youth Prom in Fresno, collected 50 gifts for the Tulare Co. Foster Care program and volunteered services to the Visalia Lions Band Review. The last 2010 club project was funding LGBTQ libraries for 4 local high school GSA (gay-straight alliance) clubs and the COS Pride Club. Starting out 2011 with a bang, the club is proud to announce a glamorous Valentine's Dinner and Dance which will be held at the Visalia Holiday Inn on Saturday, February 19th. This event welcomes the LGBTQ community and it's friends and allies to a evening of dinner, dancing and surprises. Celebrate Valentine's Day in a comfortable, accepting venue. Tickets for the dinner and dance are on sale now through February
1. You can also purchase dance only tickets that will include dessert. Visit the club's website at visaliapridelionsclub.org or see the ad in this paper. The hotel is offering a special low rate to those around the valley who wish to stay the night after the event. Use the code "VPL" when making your reservation for February 19, 2011. The club also has a facebook page at LGBTQ Valentines Dinner and Dance.