Kindness in Action

In February, the Del Sol Lions Club celebrates its 10th anniversary – a decade of serving the local communities of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Carmel Valley, and Rancho Santa Fe through programs addressing four areas of need, including at-risk youth and families, hunger, visual impairment, and veterans. We speak with Del Sol Lions Club President David Cain to learn more about how the club plans to expand its impact in the next 10 years.

Q&A with Del Sol Lions Club President David Cain

What is the Lions Club mission?
To serve the local community and to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace, and promote international understanding through Lions clubs. Put simply, we serve…one act of service, one encouraging word, one act of generosity is often all it takes to bring hope where it is needed most. Over the past 100 years the kindness of 1.4 million Lions members has multiplied across the globe and right here in our Del Sol Club community.

Please give us a brief history of the Del Sol Lions Club. When was it founded and by whom?
The Del Sol Lions Club was founded on Feb. 10, 2010 to serve the communities of Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Solana Beach, and Rancho Santa Fe. Shortly after establishing the club, we formed the Del Sol Lions Foundation, a 501(c)(3), to allow us to better partner and serve the community. All of the money raised by the foundation goes into the north coastal community.

What communities and organizations does the club serve?
Primarily the north coastal communities. Since its inception 10 years ago, the Del Sol Lions have completed 225 service and fundraising projects, totaling over 11,000 volunteer hours! To date, the Del Sol Lions Foundation has raised $360,000 and already reinvested $287,000 back into the local community with programs addressing four areas of need: at-risk youth and families, hunger, visual impairment, and veterans. Our major focus is North County San Diego. Within this local community, programs range from
providing back-to-school supplies, eye exams/glasses for at-risk kids, food
distribution to local families in need, and donations to other nonprofits
doing critical work including Next Step Service Dogs, Blind Stokers Club, and the Community Resource Center, to highlight a few of our projects.

At-A-Glance | President

Name: David A. Cain
Community: Solana Beach
Education: San Diego State University for undergrad and American College for post-grad
Family: Sherre Cain, Rebecca Motherspaw, and Gregory Cain
Hobbies and Interests: Beach, gardening, and volunteering
Favorite Local Spots: 19th Street beach and Fletcher Cove

How did you personally become involved with the Del Sol Lions?
Personal invitation by two charter members. As a lifetime resident of our service area, my business activity provided insight with certain needs of our community. Business and social contacts and friends over the years would comment on food needs of members of the community. Others would reference the dynamics of the St. Leo’s community health service program. Some would comment on the need for kids programs, educational books, and school nutrition. Helping to serve these and other social needs prompted the formation of Del Sol Lions Club.

What is your current role within the club, and what duties does it entail?
Serving as a fourth term club president has been a positive experience and focusing mainly on organization. While it is time consuming there is satisfaction in working with our club membership and its service projects. There is satisfaction in watching the development of projects, assisting with making them work, and guiding the formation of new projects that benefit the Del Sol community. A major role is ensuring our members have the financial and project resources to get things done. That is sometimes easier said than done.

What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do? The most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect is knowing that we are having a large, tangible positive impact on the people we serve. The challenge is there is always more to do! It’d be great to have a few more volunteers to further expand the programs we offer.

How many members does the club currently have?

What kinds of activities is the club involved with?
On the service side, we have a range of programs including back-to-school supplies and eye exams and glasses for at-risk kids, food distributions to 60-70 local families in need, and donations to other nonprofits doing critical work including Blind Stokers Club, Meals on Wheels, and the Community Resource Center. Recently, we received a $40,000 grant to set up a new training program for Next Step Service Dogs, a group that assists vets and first responders suffering from PTSD.

Can you elaborate on some of the projects you’ve worked on in the past?
Since inception, we have partnered with Solana Beach schools to provide eye exams and glasses for underserved children, partnered with Casa de Amistad to provide school supplies and reading books, and partnered with the La Colonia Boys & Girls Club to provide a range of things including calculators, homework rewards, and career launch meeting snacks.

We support the visually impaired by funding things like tandem cycling and adaptive wall climbing to the Blind Stokers, providing vision aids like canes and specialty devices to the San Diego Center for the Blind, and by providing MTS bus passes and new doors at the Blind Community Center. We recently helped purchase sleeping bags for homeless veterans throughout the county. We’re excited by the $40,000 grant secured for Next Step Service Dogs to create a Dog Training Academy for Veterans (DTAV). This program trains vets to become dog trainers so they have gainful employment.

We also partner with the San Diego Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, and Community Resource Center to address local food scarcity issues.

When and where does the club meet?
Fletcher Cove Community Center on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

What are the Del Sol Lions’ short-term and long-term goals?
Continue to grow membership and continue to increase the positive impact we make as a group to the local community.

Are there any exciting projects, events, or programs coming up?
I would like to mention that we received $15,000 from the Pittsburg Foundation in November to facilitate grants directly to aid American Samoa, as well as the local community. We worked with a local family on a humanitarian aid package that has been assembled and will ship to the island soon. We are reaching out to the Samoan community in north county and especially Oceanside, in order to make distributions to directly benefit that specific audience. The Del Sol Lions Board met recently to prioritize and discuss the potential recipients for the remaining funds, which we hope to distribute in the first quarter.

What have been some of the club’s most memorable achievements over the years?
Obtaining large grants to help other local nonprofits fulfill their ability to help the local community. Being able to annually provide backpacks and school supplies to over 250 local needy youth.

At-A-Glance | Del Sol Lions Club

Name of Organization: Del Sol Lions Club
President: David Cain
Year Established: 2010
Phone: 619-806-7655

How would interested community members get involved in the Del Sol Lions Club? What are the criteria for membership?
Contact one of the directors or call me directly. You just need a willingness to volunteer and commit minimum time to projects.

What can new members expect when joining the club?
New members will be welcomed by current members into an energized group of volunteers that want to continue helping the local community. Members can become immersed in all of the fundraising and volunteering efforts we do or pick one or two projects they want to focus on.

Is there anything else you’d like 92130 Magazine readers to know?
Our club members are a diverse group from retired couples, young adults, to local business owners. Our vision is the same: help the local community
through volunteering as well as financial assistance.