The New Voices Team
PDG Nicole Héon Lepage
My Voice – My Story
15 years ago, I was invited to attend a Lions meeting by my sponsor at the Ste-Therese Lions Club. I was already very involved in my community. Upon arrival, I was amazed to see who the members were. All the wonderful men of our community were present. The club had 65 members with only 5 women. The club welcomed women but not spouses.
It was the first meeting of the season. People had not seen each other all summer, and were glad to see each other again. There had been a camping trip for some of them, and they started recalling the events of it and teasing each other. I laughed so hard my ribs hurt.
I was so impressed, I hardly said a word all night. If you knew me, you would know this was out of character.
Our club put on very successful fundraising events, but the service project that affects me the most is our annual Christmas party at a hospice. We have been hosting this party for 44 years. It took me 3 years to muster the courage to attend. My grandfather had resided in a similar establishment for 24 years, so it brought back difficult memories.
On the 3rd year I donned a Mother Klaus costume and played a role. Since then I have not missed one year and play my role with all my heart. It is truly a privilege to participate in this event, and the whole club attends. We distribute Christmas gifts to over 400 residents. We hire musicians and have Christmas caroling and a dance party. For many it is the only Christmas celebration they have. For others, it is the only visit they have all year.
In 2013, my Lions life changed forever. A member of my district was being inducted at the International Convention in Hamburg, and he suggested that I join them. When I mentioned this to my husband who wasn’t Lion, he replied, “Let’s go!” We were so impressed with the International exposure, the convention, the speakers, and most of all, the achievements of LCIF. It changed our lives forever. We now knew what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives. Upon our return, my husband became the first spouse to be inducted in our club.
As a Lion, my life is so rich. Joy and laughter are present every day. I have tons of genuine friends throughout the world, now. I have the opportunity to set goals, reach them, and surpass myself. I have the chance to share my life skills to better the life of others. I never mean to receive rewards, but my efforts are noticed. I am admired, praised and recognized by my fellow Lions. Helping others and having others appreciate your actions is truly fulfilling.
I learned very early in life that if we don’t love ourselves, no one will love us. I also learned that by giving, you receive much more. If you desire something, do what it takes. Life has been very good to me. As a nurse and a business owner, I have worked with women all my life. I am an avid advocate for the strength and abilities of women, and I have had the chance to empower many.
I believe that men and women are different and equal. The collaboration of our differences and diversities make a better world for all human beings. My goal for 2018-19 is to share my values with Lions, and encourage women to improve their self-confidence, speak up, share, and be proud of their service as Lions in their community, province, country and the world.