How we serve our communities
San Diego Downtown Lions Club
The San Diego Downtown Lions club plans and participates in a wide variety of service projects that meet the international goals of Lions Clubs International as well as those of our community.
Lions have a strong commitment to community hearing and vision projects, assisting members of our armed forces and veterans, as well as aid to the homeless.
The mission of the San Diego Center for the Blind, sdcb.org, is to help any adult with blindness or vision impairment to reach their highest level of independence.
This is achieved by psychological counseling, training and rehabilitation, and community education and outreach programs. The SDCB commitment to ensuring the emotional well-being of the visually impaired has become a nationwide model for service delivery.
SDCB was founded in 1972 as a result of a four year federal government establishment grant. Since becoming incorporated as a private not-for-profit organization in 1976, SDCB has been the only program of its kind with the purpose to help blind and vision impaired individuals obtain their optimal level of independence.
SDCB has offices in San Diego (5922 El Cajon Boulevard) and in Vista (1385 Bonair Road). They focus on personal capabilities matched with technology to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services emphasizing personal strengths and opportunities.
Outdoor Outreach is a San Diego-based nonprofit agency with a mission to connect youth to the transformative power of the outdoors. Since their founding in 1999, Outdoor Outreach has served over 7,800 of our community’s youth.
For the past eight years, the Downtown Lions Club of San Diego has provided support for Outdoor Outreach’s partner program, which provides youth from around San Diego County with opportunities to connect to the outdoors, learn from positive role models, and develop their confidence through healthy outdoor recreational activities.
Whether youth are rock climbing in Joshua Tree or surfing a wave in Coronado, the Downtown Lion’s Club of San Diego and Outdoor Outreach are giving youth the chance to try things they never thought possible, and encouraging them to dream big and realize the many opportunities in their lives.
The Lions Optometric Vision Clinic (LOVC) has over 50 years of serving San Diego County in the name of Lions. The LOVC mission is to provide basic vision care/eyeglasses for low and no income individuals throughout San Diego County and towards our military, in recognition of their service to our country, they provide low-cost services to the dependents of Junior Enlisted/E-6 and below.
Clients are seen by referral only by the following agencies: Camp Barrot, Campo, Girls Rehab Facility, Juvenile Hall, East Lake Detention Center, Department of Rehabilitation, Jewish Family Services, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army Rehab, Casa Rafael, San Diego Rescue Mission, K-6, middle, high school and college referrals, Health and Senior Center.
The LOVC does not accept any insurance and all personal transactions by individuals are by cash, money order or credit card.
The LOVC is located in Balboa Park at 1805 Upas Street. The Clinic is open to the public Monday-Friday, 9am-1pm. For more information call (619) 298-5273 or email them at email@example.com.
Back in 1902 when George Saadeh was young, there was an organization called the Boys and Girls Aid Society.
By 1964, the organization was housed in an old army barracks on Third Avenue north of Mercy Hospital. Our club was approached to fill in some perceived shortfalls in financial management skills. Wig Fletcher, one of our standout members, was glad to assist and the Society’s bylaws were amended to require club members. Our bylaws were also amended to the club could sponsor a boys and girls facility.
Poor living conditions were rectified thanks to members Wig, Cas Stillwagon, and Carl Williams. Over time the club provided land, funds and time to improve the society’s facilities. Due to many factors the society fell on hard times and in 1992 shut down.
Our club studied the situation and community need and took over the finances and management and renamed the organization the Boys and Girls Foundation. Not only serving mentally disturbed young children, the foundation provides support to 11-18 year old needy children. The Foundation is therefore an affiliate organization, now separate from the Club and Welfare Foundation.
Since formed, the Boys and Girls Foundation has provided grants in excess of $1,500,000. These funds have gone to very diverse projects such as those associated with juvenile court system, county probation, the county domestic court system, educational and athletic programs just to name a few. Our ultimate goal is to work together with other non-profits to improve the lives of youth in San Diego County. The Foundation has also created a program called Boys and Girls Go to Camp. Through this program, we provide scholarships to low income at-risk youth, providing them the opportunity to attend summer camp.
The San Diego Lions Club offers referrals for low-income individuals in need of hearing aids and other services for the hearing impaired community. If you need low-cost hearing aids we partner with the Hearing Foundation (also known as the Ear of the Lion) and you may contact them toll-free at (800) 327-8077 or at www.earofthelion.org. This agency also takes donations of used hearing aids.
We also partner with Deaf Community Services of San Diego whose mission is to “promote the full participation of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in all aspects of society." You may contact DCS at (619) 398-2441 or www.deafcommunityservices.org.
The Lions Club maintains a minority position on the Board of Directors of the Arc of San Diego (formerly the Association of Retarded Citizens). The Arc has a San Diego facility on Aero Drive for the benefit and training of developmentally disabled citizens of our community.
Private industry contracts with The Arc to perform certain assemblage and/or packaging projects, which teach these citizens a skill and gives them an opportunity to mainstream into the community.
In 1977 the club took on the responsibility of building a classroom and workshop which would become known as the Lions Workshop Building. The Club and the Welfare Foundation funded half of the cost, with the remainder coming from public funds.
October 20, 1977 was declared Lions Workshop for the Retarded Day by then Mayor Pete Wilson. The club continues to support this effort and has funded the workshop restoration.
You can contact The Arc at (619) 685-1175 or visit their website at
The San Diego Rescue Mission serves the needs of the poor, addicted, abused and homeless people in San Diego.
Beginning in 1954, San Diego church and business leaders met to address the growing plight of the community’s homeless and hungry. The mission was founded in 1955 and immediately began providing food, clothing and spiritual guidance to the region’s homeless. In 1958 this soup kitchen expanded its services to include short term shelter and services for up to 85 men. Two years later, the mission made history by opening the first women’s shelter.
As city redevelopment efforts intensified in the mid 1980’s, the number of homeless grew to a crisis level. Once again the Rescue Mission responded by opening new and larger facility at 1150 J Street. New programs provided an innovative approach by offering educational and vocational training.
In 1990 8,000 nights of shelter, 27,000 meals and 3500 articles of clothing were provided EACH MONTH.
In 1993 the purchase and renovation of buildings on South 16th Street allowed the rescue mission to open a new Women and Children’s Center.
In 1996 the mission strengthened its tradition with an even stronger emphasis on long-term care to the homeless, abused, addicted and poor.
In 2000 the mission opened a new overnight emergency shelter for women and children
In 2001, the men’s center became only the second licensed drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in San Diego County
Currently the Rescue Mission provides on a monthly basis:
12,500 nights of shelter
37,000 hot, nutritious meals
82,000 hours of training and rehabilitation
If you want to learn more see the sdrescue.reachlocal.net website
Veterans Village was founded in 1981 as the Vietnam Veterans of San Diego. Veterans were struggling with the traumas of war and looking to enhance Veterans’ Affairs services that were available. Father William Mahedy, a Vietnam Army Chaplain, gave these veterans the impetus to form VVSD to help comrades who were sleeping on the streets.
In 1984 they formed a 44 bed licensed alcohol and drug treatment center.
In 1988 they founded “Stand Down” which served over 650 homeless veterans. Today more than 200 “Stand Downs” take place across the country. And that year, an 18 bed transitional facility was opened on 5Th Avenue
In 1990 VVSD moved to its current location at 4141 Pacific Highway which is the Veterans Treatment Center
In 1996 the VVSD program was recognized as the most effective treatment.
In 1999 VVSD opened the Welcome Home Family Program residential facility for homeless female veterans.
In 2005 VVSD changed its name to the Veterans Village of San Diego.
The “Stand Down” philosophy is a hand up, not a hand out. Emphasis is on outreach, food, clothing, hygiene, medical, dental and optical services. It provides a safe haven for veterans to put down their burdens and lift themselves up to the possibility of change.
VVSD has evolved into a nationally known, non-governmental organization.
Find out more at the vvsd.net website.