New Lions Club leader hopes to add younger members

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published July 7, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 5, 2013 at 11:48 a.m.
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Nick Hillemann

Julie Hixson-Wallace, a professor and the dean of the College of Pharmacy at Harding University, has begun work as president of the Searcy Lions Club. She said she hopes to get more young people active in the group.

— Julie Hixson-Wallace, a professor and the dean of the College of Pharmacy at Harding University, has now added president of the Searcy Lions Club to her list of titles.

On Monday, Hixson-Wallace began her one-year stint as president of the civic organization.

“Lions Club is the largest international civic organization,” Hixson-Wallace said.

She said the organization’s main goal is to focus on giving eye exams and eyeglasses to the people of Searcy at no cost.

“We screen people for eligibility, and we find an eye doctor to do [an exam] for free,” Hixson-Wallace said.

She said other projects of the Searcy club include donating eyeglasses to those in need, paying for Searcy children to attend a summer camp for the blind, and holding various fundraisers for local charities and nonprofit organizations.

“We did a project for the Sunshine School, where the club raised money and got a grant for new furnishings for the new school building,” Hixson-Wallace said.

The Sunshine School serves students with developmental disabilities in the Searcy community.

Along with working to improve the Sunshine School, Hixson-Wallace said being involved with the Lions Club has allowed her to interact with people from various organizations in the city.

After moving to Searcy from Atlanta, Ga., in August 2006, she became a member of Lions Club International in February 2007.

“I was asked to attend a meeting by the chancellor of our university,” Hixson-Wallace said.

Hixson-Wallace said she wanted to be a part of the organization and become involved in her new community.

“I learned [through the Lions Club] how Searcy worked,” Hixson-Wallace said. “We have very good leadership and good support of the club. We have weekly speakers who range from local business people to leaders in the community.”

As president of the club, Hixson-Wallace said, she wants to try to get more young people active in Lions Club International.

“Since I work in higher education, I interact with college-age students,” Hixson-Wallace said. “I’m trying to look for ways to get more young people involved.”

She said getting a younger population from Harding involved with the club could have other advantages.

“A lot of students at Harding aren’t from Arkansas,” Hixson-Wallace said.

With the club being international, Hixson-Wallace said, students who aren’t native to the state can take the skills they learn from Lions Club International to their respective states, become involved with a local chapter and make an impact in their communities.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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