Partnering with Youth to Improve the Community

Douglas D. RodenbeckDouglas D. Rodenbeck is being honored as a Champion of Change for his work with young people, including supervising the largest Leo club fundraiser on record.

I became a Lion more than 30 years ago because Lions give 100 percent of the funds we raise to causes. I’ve long been involved with community efforts, acting as a volunteer firefighter for more than 40 years. I’m known as “Fireman Doug” around town because of my work with fire prevention in schools, during which I’ve taught fire safety to more than 125,000 kids in the past 35 years.

When I heard about the need for family suites at the St. Joe Regional Medical Center Burn Unit, I thought it would be a great project that we could work on with our Leos. After about 18 months of fundraising, gathering checks and exploring matching grant initiatives, our youth leadership program raised $170,000 for facilities to house the families of critically ill patients. This is the largest known fundraiser undertaken by Leos, which shows the power of what we can accomplish when we work with young people. Additionally, Leos provide a vital resource to society. We’re never going to have too many volunteers, and community service early in life makes youngster well-rounded adults because they learn what it’s like to be part of a community.

Douglas D. Rodenbeck of Fort Wayne, Ind., is a member of the Anthony Wayne Lions Club and has been a Lion for 33 years.

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