Having received their official charter February 22 in a ceremony at the Upstream Gallery in Hastings-on-Hudson, the Westchester Pride Lions Club is the first LGBTQ Lions club in Westchester, second in New York State and one of only four in the nation.
“We’re advocates of the community, regardless of gender, sexuality or religion. A lot of our programs focus on helping the LGBTQ community, but we’re a humanitarian organization first,” says Chapter President Raymond Terone.
In their short time as an organization, the club has already become known for its positive impact. In less than a year, they’ve donated 200 pairs of eyeglasses, five boxes of toys to the White Plains Fire Department Toys for Tots program and much-needed supplies to the Children’s Village Homeless Shelter.
According to Terone, the homeless youth of Westchester is a group the Pride Lions are particularly concerned with. “Many of the homeless youths in Westchester are part of the LGBTQ community, and we’re focusing on ways to meet their needs,” he explains. Other future projects include providing support for seniors in the LGBTQ community, people diagnosed with HIV, and a fundraising event for seeing-eye-dog training.
The Westchester Pride Lions Chapter (which is on Facebook) is based out of The LOFT Community Center in White Plains; they meet on the fourth Friday of every month.