Teachers from eight local schools volunteered one of their few remaining days of summer to participate in Lions Quest Professional Development at the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center, in New Boston.
The idea for Lions Quest began in 1975, when Rick Little conducted a survey of over 2,000 high school students to determine the issues that concerned them most and consulted experienced teachers who suggested including a teacher workshop which would serve as a classroom model. The program was so successful that soon middle and elementary schools were asking for age appropriate positive youth development programs. In 1984, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) gave its first grant to Quest International to help further expand the program. LCIF took formal ownership of Lions Quest in 2002, and has awarded more than 360 grants for a cumulative total of more than $20 million to expand or establish Lions Quest programs across the United States and around the world.
Charlie Newland -- a former school administrator -- is re-building the Lions Club in Portsmouth, and he offered the exciting program to the ESC on Aug. 1, along with Lions Quest facilitator Sue Keister. The two have conducted workshops together for about seven years, Newland said.
“We are working with a grant here in Ohio to get to as many education service centers with this kind of training on social and emotional learning, character development, and prevention. We were very excited that (the ESC in New Boston) invited us and we’re hoping there will be many more,” Keister said.
Nearly 20 people attended the volunteer workshop at the ESC on Aug. 1, coming from the ESC, New Boston, Northwest, Green, Career Technical Center, CAPE, Valley, and Minford.
“This does a lot of social and emotional curriculum. If a child doesn’t have social and emotional foundations, they’re not as apt to learn. We have to meet those needs first,” ESC Superintendent Sandy Mers said. “What’s amazing is there is nobody attending who had to attend; all of these teachers came in voluntarily to learn and better classrooms. The Lions Club put it on for free to our teachers, and each teacher gets $150 free in materials.”
Minford teacher R.D. Baker has been teaching for 33 years, and called the program inspiring.
“This whole program is based on helping kids develop into the person they want to be, and can be, but they may not know they can be. It’s about helping them have the life-skills that they need to cope with the problems they’re going through to open the doors to their future,” Baker said. “It’s great that there are resources out there to help kids gain abilities and skills that can help them throughout their life.”
Mers said she hopes to make this an annual event for teachers at the ESC in New Boston.
For more information about the ESC, visit the South Central Ohio ESC online at www.scoesc.org, or follow the ESC on Facebook , Twitter, and YouTube.