"I grew up in Timmins," says Mike Taylor, the president of the Orillia Lions Club, "but by the age of nine, I knew that if I wanted to go to university, I'd
have to leave home."
Mike is now a long-time Orillia resident, a dedicated community volunteer, and an enthusiastic cheerleader for Lakehead University.
"I've been to several high school graduation ceremonies over the years, and before Lakehead, the students would be going to the typical places like U of T and Waterloo. But there were just a handful of them going to university. Now, there's so many high school students who say they are going to Lakehead – it's made a huge difference."
Of course, the Orillia Lions Club has been making a difference since 1937. It's part of a network of international Lions Clubs united by the motto "we serve."
"The Orillia Lions Club supports many organizations and individuals in the community," Mike explains.
"From planting trees to preparing meals for people who are
homeless, we are men and women of like mind and like heart."
That's why he was happy when the Lions began donating to Lakehead Orillia's Humanities 101 program. This door-opening program was created for community members who face financial or social barriers to a postsecondary education. The Lions Club's decision to support the program was driven by their goal of ensuring that no community member has to worry about going hungry.
Education helps resolve the issue of hunger," Mike says. "How do you stop hunger? By giving people the opportunity to acquire skills that make them employable.
Humanities 101 is a semester long, non-credit course. Students take part in classes spanning the university disciplines of social work, chemistry, English, political science, and sustainability sciences. Local social service agencies recommend community members they think could benefit from Humanities 101. Taking part in the program offers a university experience that not only provides access to the library and school supplies, but also removes barriers that participants might face by covering childcare and transportation costs, as well as a meal on the evening of their class.
The Orillia Lions Club's generous supports one student's enrolment in the program every year. Both Lakehead and the Orillia Lions want to give students the confidence to envision a different future for themselves.
"People who never thought postsecondary schooling would be an option for them are able to take this course," Mike says. When he had the chance to attend a Humanities 101 graduation ceremony, Mike was inspired by what he witnessed.
"One of the graduates was there with her mother and her daughter," he says. "Humanities 101 changed three people's perspectives on university. And that's what change is."
annual gift to Humanities 101