Lions Club embraces new ideas, members


The Valley Stream Lions Club is growing. The community service organization welcomed two new members last week and more could be on the way.

At it’s Sept. 5 meeting at Goldie’s Restaurant in Gibson, the club inaugurated Athena Allen and Stanley Isaacs, both of whom were invited to join by other Lions members.

Allen, who grew up in North Valley Stream and graduated from Elmont High School, now teachers at her alma mater. She has been a social studies teacher there for six years, primarily focusing on global history. She is also advisor to the class of 2016.

She said she has wanted to get involved with a community group for some time. “I’ve been looking for an organization that I could sink my teeth into,” she said. “The whole idea of giving back to the community was really appealing to me.”

Allen was asked to join by Lions Club President Jose Pastrana. The two live in the same neighborhood.

One of her first charges as a new member will be to help start up a Leo Club, a Lions Club-sponsored service organization for youth. Leo stands for leadership, experience and opportunity.

A Leo Club would be open to teens ages 12 to 18. Pastrana said that the Lions Club district leaders want each local chapter to start the youth group in its respective community.

The Valley Stream Lions Club would need at least 20 members to get a Leo Club off the ground. “I’d like to see if we can make the Valley Stream Leo Club the biggest in this district,” Pastrana said.

Allen, who would be starting the group with fellow Lion Janet Mahabir, said that the teens would ultimately choose their community service activities. “We would more facilitate it than actually lead it,” Allen said. “It would be their club.”

The Leo Club still remains in its early planning stages and it is unknown how it would be structured or if it would be affiliated with any local schools.

Isaacs was asked to join the Lions Club from Bernard Aptacker. A retired graphic designer, Isaacs said he is interested in serving the community. “Anything that helps people in need is very important to me,” he said.

At his first meeting last week, Isaacs said he was already impressed with the level of devotion from the other Lions Club members. He said he hopes to be helpful in any ways he can with the group’s various initiatives.

Pastrana said that with the addition of Allen and Isaacs, the Lions Club is 33 members strong. He noted that group could grow even more as three other prospective members attended last week. The group meets twice a month on Wednesday nights.