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Freistatt Lions give to children's program

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Barry-Lawrence County Development Center recently received a $1,000 donation from the Freistatt Lions Club. Shirley Bass, a member of the Development Center board, accepted the donation and explained how the Development Center is continuing its long-term misson.

Established 36 years ago, the Barry-Lawrence County Development Center provides therapy and educational activities for pre-school children facing developmental delays and disabilities. The center presently has 19 children enrolled and operates four days a week, Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Bass explained that the children are placed in a stimulating environment and get to participate in a wide-range of activities. Therapists work with the children daily, providing speech therapy, physical therapy and different forms of occupational therapy.

Children in the program go on at age 5 to programs in the public schools. Public schools will also contract with the Development Center to provide specific services. Many are able to be mainstreamed into regular school programs by that age, Bass said. Those experiencing more severe handicaps end up attending the Oakview State School, also located in Monett.

The Development Center continues to operate at 408 Third St. in Monett, as it has for most of its operation. Some of the original organizers, like board chairman Margaret Holle, are still with the organization. Volunteers are welcome, Bass said. She herself volunteers on Wednesdays. Those interested can drop by the facility.

CUTLINE

The Freistatt Lions recently donated $1,000 to the Barry-Lawrence County Development Center in Monett. Accepting the donations was Development Center board member Shirley Bass, at center. Presenting the funds were Lions President Ronnie Dunn, at left, and Treasurer Kevin Cloud, at right. Proceeds were generated through the Freistatt Lions' annual Ernte Fest. {Times Photo]

3-30 Braille workers get Freistatt Lions money 3/25

By MURRAY BISHOFF

The Braille Work Center has received a $750 donation from the Freistatt Lions Club. A Lutheran Church undertaking based at St. John's Lutheran in Monett, the Braille Center produces materials shipped internationally. Robert Brandt, who accepted the Lions' donation, explained the operation at a recent Freistatt Lions meeting.

The Braille Work Center opened in 1997. The Freistatt Lions have had a long association with the program, having provided $2,300 of the original $3,000 start-up money. The center is one of 200 producing Braille books around the country. The head office is located in the state of California and sends orders to Monett to be filled.

Up to 90 people volunteer regularly. Hal Schmidtke is the group leader. Work sessions are held on Tuesdays. On the day of the Freistatt Lions meeting, 25 volunteers had gathered to work in the morning, plus another eight in the afternoon. Together they printed 75 books, each running from 47 to 50 pages.

Braille books are made by placing paper inside a metal template, then running a roller through it to make impressions on the paper. Brandt shows Lions a completed copy of the "Gospel According to Matthew" that ran 97 pages. Paper for Braille books is heavier, costing around $2 a sheet. The organization spends around $400 a month on materials.

Volunteers work in a variety of different tasks. Some punch paper, others feed paper, while others work in binding or packing. Volumes produced are religious books, including a reference book on how to pronounce Biblical names. The group even makes the "Book of Judges" and the "Book of Ruth" in Spanish translations.

Shipments made the day of the meeting went to Maui, Kenya, India, and Russia. Brandt said the center has shipped books to every continent. Many go to schools, regardless of denominational affiliation. Recipients are not charged for the books. Thanks to an unusual federal law, the U.S. Postal Service ships Braille material free. Otherwise a day's shipment could run several hundred dollars in postage alone, Brandt said.

"Many who come [to volunteer] really look forward to it," Brandt said. "It's a way to get together and do something worthwhile. It's strictly a come-whenever-you-can basis." While most participating are senior citizens, even teens volunteer, he added.

Brandt thanked the Lions for supporting the Braille Center's efforts over the years.

CUTLINE'

The Freistatt Lions donated $750 recently to the Braille Center book making operation run by volunteers through St. John's Lutheran Church in Monett. Lions President Ronnie Dunn at left and Treasurer Kevin Cloud at right presented the check. Accepting were, at center from left, Braille Center volunteers Joe Penington, Robert Brandt, and Dan Haines. Proceeds for the donation were raised at the Freistatt Lions' annual Ernte Fest. [Times Photo]

3-30 Freistatt Lions give to Mt. Vernon children 3/25

By MURRAY BISHOFF

Mt. Vernon Emergency Services for Children recently received a $1,000 donation from the Freistatt Lions Club. Jerry Wood from the Mt. Vernon organization accepted the gift at a recent Freistatt Lions Club meeting and explained what services the group offers.

Mt. Vernon Emergency Services for Children grew out of the Mt. Vernon school nurse trying to meet needs she saw among the younger students. The school counselor assisted, others got on board, a lawyer volunteered his services to set the group up as a not-for-profit organization, and the service took shape.

Last year Mt. Vernon Emergency Services for Children spent $20,000, Wood said. The money went toward buying 5,001 pints of milk for children pre-school through first grade, 149 pairs of shoes, 298 sets of clothes, 41 coats, as well as money for dental and eye exams.

Outside of the school setting, the organization assisted in helping three families burned out of their homes in the past year. Money was also donated to a family to help cover gasoline expenses to take one child to Kansas City for cancer treatments.

"When money goes for a good cause, people are really generous," Wood said.

Most of the organization's funds came from donations through individuals and churches last year. Wal-Mart had donated $1,000 and some doctors provided discounts on their services.

The Mt. Vernon Emergency Services for Children is run by a board of nine people, plus Wood as treasurer. Board members pay for their own stamps to do mailings, Wood said, and pay for their own gasoline to make shopping trips to buy donated items. Such frugality makes it possible to help more children, he added.



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