West County Lions to host charity dance

The West County Lions Club will host a charity Zumbathon Saturday, April 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Fairview Elementary Gymnasium.

The club is a local chapter of the Lions Club International (LCI), the world’s largest service club organization, which boasts over 46,000 clubs and 1.4 million members globally and is primarily known for its service to the blind and visually impaired.

The West County Lions Club, started in July 2014, is looking to become more active in the community and begin raising funds for charities in the Western County.

Kiriam Kraut, the secretary for the West County Lions Club, has been with the local chapter since its conception last year and said she hopes the Zumbathon will encourage younger people to join the club.

“Everyone is welcome,” said Kraut. “We want to put a spin on it that we are a fun club. We don’t want to have it that we are all serious, all bookwork. We want to involve families in our community…We’re the best kept secret.”

So far, the club, which currently has 21 members, has been hosting pancake breakfasts for the public in order to build up its charity account, according to John and Margaret Dutkowski, who have also been members since the club was formed last July.

“Any penny we collect from the public must go to charity,” John said.

Charities that the club has contributed to so far include the Erie Eye Bank, the Beacon Lodge Camp for the Blind and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Zumbathon will cost $10 for pre-registration at fb.com/WestCountyLionsClub using Paypal and $15 at the door. The dance will be led by Pennsylvania Choreo Zumba Jammer Kristine Yurkovic.

After the Zumbathon, the club plans to host a “Dinner in the Dark” event to raise money to restore kennels for Leader Dogs for the Blind, an organization that trains seeing-eye dogs. The event, which will cost $50 a person, will be a dinner completely in the dark.

“The idea is to give people who participate the experience of what it would be like to not be able to see,” said Margaret Dutkowski. “It’s fun but it raises money for a good cause.”
John Dutkowski, who serves as an adviser for the West County Lions Club, having previously been a District Governor for a chapter of the club in New Jersey, encourages local college students to become more involved with the Lions Club as well.

“Everybody has to do service work,” said Dutkowski. “The club has got to learn together, and we work together well. The officers they have this year are excellent. They did their homework and I think we’re doing a great club.”