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Teen Leaders club helps with humanitarian project

| Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, 8:05 p.m.
SUBMITTED Handing off backpacks to Lions Club President Dave Thompson of Monongahela are members of the YMCA Teen Leaders Club members Dimetri Rossi, 16, of Carroll Township and Jessica Hindman, 15, of Belle Vernon.

Brother's Brother Foundation has provided more than $4 billion of medical supplies, textbooks, food, seeds and other humanitarian supplies to people around the world in more than 146 countries.

When the 54-year-old Pittsburgh-based international charity recently delivered supplies into devastated areas abroad, they did so in backpacks collected by Valley teens.

Recently, the Mon Valley YMCA Teen Leaders Volunteering and Community Service Club collected backpacks, helping the Monongahela/Donora Area Lions Club Chapter. The Lions Club provided the backpacks to Brother's Brother organization, which transported them to doctors who filled them with medications for people in villages in Asia and Africa.

Lions President Dave Thompson of Monongahela said Brother's Brother arranges for doctors to go abroad a couple of times a year.

The Monongahela/Donora Area Lions Club is new to the area. Both communities operated Lions clubs before disbanding by the 1960s, Thompson said.

“When we started back up in 2009, we became a joint club,” Thompson said.

The International Lions Club is located in Chicago. It is the largest service organization in the world, with 1.5 million members in 206 countries.

“Our local helps with anything within our communities,” Thompsons said. “Every penny we raise goes back into our communities.”

The club provides vision machines for both libraries and large print books for both communities. They work to provide funding for new equipment for fire companies in both communities. A car show in the summer will aid in that effort.

The YMCA Teen Leaders collected more than 100 backpacks. The affiliation with the Lions happened after Thompson was invited to speak to them about the club.

“I'm proud of the kids because they pick what they want to do,” said Youth and Teen Director Adorée DeLuca. “They picked this program after (Thompson's) talk. Their faces lit up after hearing him talk.”

DeLuca said she oversees the program, but the teens organize their participation in all community events in which they are involved.

For example, the 29 teen leaders are involved with the pet adoption league, the YMCA's Saturday Night Live program and various events for the Lions Club.

They accept donations and collections for people with needs and pack food at the Monessen Food Pantry.

Teen leaders also ring the bells for the Mon Valley Citadel of the Salvation Army.

DeLuca sits of the board for the Monessen Communities That Care, another organization that the teens support.

The middle and high school teens helped with Santa rides at the Trolley museum and plan to help restore a trolley there in the spring.

On the third Saturday of each month, the teens volunteer at the Presbyterian Church clothes closet, cooking, serving and cleaning up after for a free community breakfast.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or