Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

We Are Lions... Hear Us Roar

Nonprofit Highlight

While the lion may sleep in the mighty jungle, please be assured that the Lions Club of Tehachapi is prowling around discovering more and more ways to serve our community

Founded in 1950, the Monolith-Tehachapi Lions Club saw its humble beginning at the sponsorship of the Indian Wells Lions Club (which since has become the Ridgecrest Lions Club). Its 52 charter members were shining examples of what the Lions Club is all about – serving not only its community, but ever reaching outward to the district level and even to the world beyond. In 1973-74 the club became known as the Tehachapi Lions Club.

The Lions' motto "We Serve" is the focus of the local Lions Club and Lions Clubs International (LCI) and is a clear declaration of the club's dedication to the Tehachapi community.

"Our present members are a cross section of our community, including active and retired CPAs, teachers, small business owners, realtors, elected officials, government workers and others from all walks of life," shared Suzanne Williams, the current First Vice President.

The Tehachapi Lions Club proudly sports members of all age groups, as well. Attend any meeting and you will see younger folks mixing with the older members. "We all share a common desire to serve our community as well as promote various projects and charitable donations," said long-time member Walt Satalino. "Of course, the camaraderie that goes with a club such as ours is an added plus," chimed in Walt's wife, Vickie Satalino.

"And, we are proud that 100% of any of our fund-raising efforts goes back to the community," said Walt. "Unlike many organizations today, the Lions Club doesn't keep a dime of monies raised."

Perhaps one of their better known fund-raising efforts is White Cane Days. In May and October club members are strategically placed at Albertsons, Kmart and SaveMart asking for donations, either cash or old glasses, to help provide glasses for needy children, adults and senior citizens who simply can't afford even basic eye care.

"We team up with the eye mobile in October to help provide cursory eye exams for those who otherwise would not get the care they need. It's a bit scary to think about, but I've seen folks with very poor eyesight get back in their cars and drive away," Walt said, shaking his head.

"Collection sites for used glasses are found at the Village Grill, the Apple Shed and Dr. Fagan's office in Old Town," said Walt. "These then find their way to third world countries to help those in need there."

The Tehachapi club meets twice a month, the first and third Thursdays of each month with a great dinner and meeting at the Senior Center. "By holding our meetings at the Senior Center, we also are helping to support that organization," Walt shared.

"Ten months of the year at one of our monthly meetings we honor a Student of the Month from Tehachapi and Monroe High Schools and Jacobson Junior High," shared Suzanne. "They are presented with two gift cards to local restaurants, receive a certificate and have their picture in the paper," said Vickie. "Plus their parents get a free dinner the night of the presentation," she added.

In May the club hands out four scholarships of $500 each to students from Tehachapi and Monroe High Schools. Then in the fall they sponsor a "peace poster contest" for junior high age and a "student speaker contest" for high school students.

"The contests begin here at the local level and winners progress to the zone, region and up and up to the national level. Cash prizes go to the winners at each level. The ultimate peace poster contest winner receives $5,000 and the student speaker receives about $21,000," said Walt.

The Lions Club is active all year. From their newly organized Apple Drop (the first of which was October of last year in conjunction with the Apple Festival), to helping to support the Salvation Army's drive for back-to-school supplies for backpacks for 500 youngsters and Christmas baskets. Many of their members volunteer to be bell ringers for the Salvation Army for two weeks at Christmas time. You also will see them at the Houchin Blood Mobile activities at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

"We're really happy that last year's Apple Drop went over so well," said Walt. "It's a 50/50 split raffle and there are three separate cash prizes, in addition to other community prizes. "Because it was so well-received last year, we're making it an annual event, so you'll see us selling raffle tickets at all the markets come closer to October."

"We also collect pull tabs from aluminum cans which go to help funds for families needing to stay at Ronald McDonald House and many of our members who travel will bring back the unopened samples of shampoo, rinse etc. which then find their way to the Ronald McDonald House," Vickie said.

"We collect funds for the Diamond of Prayer at our monthly meetings," said Suzanne. "Those monies go to the City of Hope to help fight cancer and diabetes.

"In February, we do our "Flag Day" presentations for the first graders in our Tehachapi schools," Suzanne shared. "We visit the classrooms and teach the youngsters how to fold a flag, the history of the flag and how to respect our country."

They don't even take much of a break over the summer. You'll see them selling hot dogs beginning with the Chile Cook-off, then at the 4th of July celebrations, Mountain Festival and at Walgreens. "Again, all profits from these fund-raising projects go back into the community," stressed the trio.

They don't stop with local events either. "We have sent many, many care packages overseas to our men and women in the military," shared Walt. "We are here to serve however we can!"

Coming up in September, the club will be working at the Grand Fondo, a bicycle race coming to the Tehachapi area. "We're not sure what exactly we'll be doing besides handing out water etc., but we'll be there to assist in whatever they need us to do," said Walt.

If you've thought about joining a service organization, and want to be part of an active group, you might want to check out the Lions Club. You can give Walt Satalino a call at (661) 823-1981 for more information.

This page is sponsored by The Woods Pavilion & Wood Family