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Amigos de Vista Lions Club Keeps on Giving

By Julie Smith Taylor

Over the last 50+ years, members of the Amigos de Vista Lions Club have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support community programs and several local charities.

In April of 1970, the organization was formed to help the sight-impaired,

local youth programs and the needy. Since then, the Amigos have expanded their reach to include a wide variety of organizations such as Operation HOPE, Center for the Blind, financial support to Vista students with vision issues, Meals with Love, Alta Vista Botanical Gardens, Vista American Little League, MVHS Basketball, Women’s Resource Center and Pathway Health Clinic, just to name a few.

To support their efforts, the members put on six major events per year. Coming up next is the “9th Annual Novemberfest in the Gardens,” a craft beer, mead, and wine festival at Brengle Terrace Park, on Saturday, November 18th from Noon to 4 p.m. The event also features live music, food from local restaurants, a variety of vendors, and a silent auction. Visit www.novemberfest. eventbrite.com to purchase tickets.

Save $5 per person by purchasing in advance!

“We are pleased that 100 percent of our proceeds are divided 50/50 between Alta Vista Gardens due to our long-standing partnership with them, and a variety of local charities we support,” says Jodi Blakley, chapter secretary. “This popular event creates a win-win because so many local businesses participate and also benefit from the exposure and product sales.”

Other events this dynamic group of about 30 dedicated members hosts each year include the Annual Pancake Break-fast in March for Vista American Little League and MVHS Basketball. “We encourage the team members to assist and serve during the event so they get


“…we support so many local organizations and host high quality, impor- tant events that I know are directly and positively im- pacting our community.”


a taste of what it’s like to raise money and help support their community,” says Blakley. The Amigos also support Vista’s Earth Day Celebration in April, host the Tim Black Charity Golf Event in May, and another golf tourney in Rancho Santa Margarita in September. In October they host a BBQ to support Alta Vista Botanical Gardens during their Fall Fun Festival.

“We also ensure that children in Operation HOPE receive at least two of the items on their Christmas wish lists,” says Blakley. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see the looks on their faces when they open their gifts. Working with children is one of my favorite things about being a member of the Lion’s Club.” Blakley, a realtor with Coldwell Banker, is originally from a small town in Missouri. She has been involved with the Lion’s since moving here almost seven years ago. “My mother was very active in the community and I was raised to value the importance of giving back,” she explains. “The Lion’s Club is the perfect fit for me because we support so many local organizations and host high quality, important events that I know are directly and positively impacting our community.”

Although Blakley is somewhat of a newbie in the club, most of the members have been active for decades. Ron Holloway, a board member and past president joined in 1986. “I’ve lived in Vista since 1978 and I just wanted to do something good for the community,” he says. “There is tremendous satisfaction in helping others and the Lion’s Club focuses on organizations that I really care about. I also am the President of the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens and have been a member since 1999. We started with nothing and now there’s a beautiful 14-acre garden for people to come and enjoy. The partnership between the Lion’s Club and the Gardens has made all the difference. It’s just another example of what is possible through long-term partnerships and community support,” he says.

The Amigos de Vista are looking to expand their chapter. If you’re interested in supporting local charities and making a difference in our community, consider membership! Meetings are held the first and third Fridays of each month starting at 7 a.m. at Pegah’s Kitchen on South Santa Fe Road. It’s a great way to give back knowing what an impact you are making in people’s lives.

For more information, visit

www.e-clubhouse.org/sites/vista_amigos/ or email Jodi Blakley at amigosdevistalionsclub@gmail.com.

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