Monday, Jun 24, 2019

LEOS formed at high school

The Harvard Leos Club recently attended a presentation about Bear Hugs of Chicagoland. Pictured, from left, front row, are: Gabriela Esquivel , Yadira Aguayo and Kenia Aguayo. Back row: Maria Ramirez, Ashley Tafur and Yesenia Guzman. COURTESY PHOTO

The Harvard chapter of the Lions Club has a protégé: the Harvard chapter of the Leos.

Organized by Harvard High School junior Yadira Aguayo, the Harvard Leos Club consists of teens ages 12 to 18 who are dedicated to serving the blind, the deaf and the community as they follow the leadership example of the Lions Club.

Cynthia Spaeth, a special education math teacher at Harvard High School who has been part of the Lions Club in Schaumburg since 1989 and the Harvard Lions Club since she moved here, said she is proud to be working with this group of teens.

“I didn’t want to wait any longer … the enthusiasm these girls had was so great. I knew we had to use that energy immediately,” Spaeth said.

She indicated that the group of seven teens began to organize last October and received its charter March 17. “They can always celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the anniversary of their group together,” Spaeth said. “It is an exciting thing to begin a new chapter with teens who are ready to really give back to their community – because we need to keep these service groups going, and we need these teens to transition into the Lions Club after they have completed high school.”

The group already has served as part of the Huggable Bears presentation at Harvard Diggins Library, assisting with drinks and serving the attendees. This international program provides teddy bears for first responders to give to children who have experienced traumatizing incidents. Harvard police and fire departments carry the teddy bears in their vehicles.

The Leos Club also participated in the K-9 Companion program where they assisted the Lions Club and learned about puppy-raising. This program pairs dogs with committed caretakers who socialize the dogs and train them for future use by an adult or adolescent with physical disabilities who can use a companion dog to assist in physical tasks.

Aguayo, president of the chapter, also has taken the initiative to speak with the chamber of commerce to see if the group will be able to assist with the upcoming Easter egg hunt. The Leos also hope to qualify for the International Convention to be held in Hawaii next year.

“They have high expectations,” Spaeth said. “And, Yadira is a real go-getter. This will be a very successful group.”

Seven members were inducted into the Harvard Leos Club at the Lions District 1D Convention in Rockford April 5.

President Yadira Aguayo, Vice President Yesenia Guzman, Secretary and Treasurer Kenia Aguayo and Gabriela Esquivel, Maria Ramirez, Ashley Tafur and Natalia Gonzalez were inducted by past International President Jimmy Ross from Texas.

This event came on the same weekend that Spaeth’s Schaumburg group held its convention. While it was a busy weekend, Spaeth committed to attending both events. She also knows Ross personally, and so it is with a sense of pride that she watched these seven young women begin their Lions Club Leos journey.

“It is truly wonderful to see these young women take the initiative to serve their community at such a young age. I envision great things for this group,” she said.