The Dania Beach Lions Club remains busy and involved in our community.
Here are just some of our activities over the few months including Food Distribution, Adopt-A-Street, Drive Thru BBQ fundraiser, Back To School and of course the REMODEL our Clubhouse.
There's much to see here. So, take your time!
On Friday, October 14th the Dania Beach Lions Club welcomed our friends for Lighthouse of Broward to recognize WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY celebrated annually on October 15th.
TOPS (Transportation OPtionS), a part of Broward County Transit system, provided our guests travel to and from the Dania Beach Lions Clubhouse. As our guests began to arrive, the energy level (along with the converstions) soared. Although our guests share a common thread of being a LIghthouse client, it is not often they gather as a group for food and fellowship.
The Dania Beach Lions Club members prepared and provided table service for our guests.
The menu included Nathans hot dogs, angus beef hamburgers, Miss Sylvia's potato salad and Payne beans.
Staff members joined their clients in a hotly contested trivia game and raffled off some amazing prizes.
The Dania Beach Lions worked with Jose Masso Lopez and Samantha Kelly from Lighthouse of Broward. THANK YOU to all the compassionate, dedicated and caring professionals at Lighthouse of Broward for your tireless work in our community. We salute you!
Jose Masso Lopez, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Development
from the Sun Sentinel:
"Jose Lopez Masso doesn’t just try to put himself in his clients’ shoes, he’s been there.
As the vice president of strategic initiatives and development for Lighthouse of Broward, a nonprofit that helps blind and visually impaired adults and children located in Fort Lauderdale, Lopez Masso lost his sight from glaucoma at age 31.
“Because you can tell them the story, or tell them to go to our website, but I went through the program,” said Lopez Masso, who started at Lighthouse of Broward as a client in 2002. “It was a great opportunity for me to gain independence and get back my dignity.”
Lopez Masso first heard about Lighthouse from his family but admits he was “extremely depressed and angry” and couldn’t understand why this was happening to him.
Since the services are free, he decided to give it a try.
“It was really an opportunity for me to learn new skills, to learn how to survive and how to fight back in life. I wasn’t working at that point. I learned to use a cane. I applied for a guide dog. I started to apply for jobs,” he said. He also took classes that taught him how to walk and move around safely with a cane, how to use a computer and how to cook safely.
“I had to relearn all the basics. The key was also the emotional support not only by the staff but I met a lot of others who went through the same deal, other people with other backgrounds and other stories and they had to relearn and how to adjust,” he said. He never thought he’d end up working for the place that “did so much” for him and “provided him with the tools to survive,” he said.
Lopez Masso’s background was in business and law. He has an MBA and JD and before he lost his vision, he was the head of the Venezuelan Embassy in Berlin. Before his position at Lighthouse of Broward, he started as a consultant with a sixth-month contract and now he’s been working there for 11 years, he said. He helps organize grants and fundraisers.
“We’re a nonprofit. We depend on private support. We get financial support, but it just covers half the budget. We present the Lighthouse to the community and corporate world and show them that we bring in real results,” Lopez Masso said.
He said he wants the community to know that Lighthouse of Broward is the only agency that provides free education and rehabilitation services for people who are blind or visually impaired.
“We need community support as volunteers or support financially. Stop by and see what we do and what we stand for. We prefer you stop by and see us in action; everything is possible if you’re willing to take the challenge.” "
Samantha Kelly, Vice President of Programs
In 2020 Kelly was selected for the ‘Nonprofit Hidden Heroes’ award in recognition for her work at Lighthouse of Broward during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, Samantha Kelly helped the facility transition into an electronic format as well as organized a plan to continue providing services.
“Sam provided vision and leadership,” Lighthouse of Broward CEO Ellyn Drotzer said in a statement. “We knew we had to pivot to an online platform, but our clients’ fundamental lack of sight made this seem almost impossible. Sam led the creative plan to provide uninterrupted rehabilitative services. We closed the building on Friday and by Monday, all of our programming was transformed into an electronic format and services were constructed using a web-based platform.”
Criteria that went into selecting the winners included the extra work that those individuals provided, innovation, community problem solving and utilization of new systems.
The Lighthouse of Broward, located at 650 N Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the preeminent resource for the visually impaired in Broward County, provides specialized rehabilitation, life skills training, and employment opportunities to enhance the independence, productivity, and dignity of children and adults who are blind or visually impaired.
Lighthouse of Broward, founded in 1973, is the only private, non-profit 501(c) (3) in Broward County that provides comprehensive educational and rehabilitation services and counseling to blind and visually impaired children and adults. Serving more than 2,500 persons each year, the Lighthouse is accredited by The Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), is a United Way partner agency, and a member of the Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind, VisionServe Alliance, and the NonProfit Executive Alliance of Broward.
Broward County, home to approximately 150,000 people with a visual impairment, has one of the highest incidences of visual impairment in the nation. This is primarily because the community is an attractive retirement destination for people over the age of 60. The major causes of visual impairment most often affect this age group: macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, and retinitis pigmentosa.
The Lighthouse of Broward serves blind and visually impaired persons of all ages. Services are offered at our Fort Lauderdale campus, remotely by phone or video conferencing, in-home, and/or other community locations.
Our programs include:
Bright Beginnings: a year-round early intervention, developmental and support program for parents and children ages birth through five years old. The program is designed to help children reach critical developmental stages and prepare for kindergarten.
David & Jean Colker KIDS (Keys to Independence): a year-round program, including weekends, holidays, days off from school, and a summer camp for 6 to 13-year old blind and visually impaired children.
TeenLIFE (Learning Independence From Experience): a year-round program for teens and young adults ages 14 to 21. It focuses on career exploration, job readiness, work experience, daily living skills, and college preparation.
Ready to Work: an adult program providing classes to identify work skills and goals, write resumes, complete job applications, fine-tune interview skills, build competitive work habits, learn corporate etiquette, and problem-solve to overcome barriers and gain employment. This program is available to working-age adults.
Workforce Enterprises: a unique program that creates job opportunities for those who are blind and visually impaired. The program enables clients to become wage earners and taxpayers, thereby reducing their reliance on government support. Of equal importance, Workforce Enterprise maximize independence, builds self-esteem, and increases community engagement.
Vital Living: for adults emphasizes skills to enhance the quality of life, the ability to live independently and participate in the community. It offers training in independent living, safe travel, computers, the Internet, smartphones, and adaptive high-tech portable note-taking devices, in addition to individual and group counseling.