by Annemarie Mannion October 18, 2021USAStraight From a Lion’s MouthCan’t read? You can listen to LION Magazine thanks to these Georgia LionsBeing able to hear a recording of LION magazine helps Lion Andy Arvidson, who is blind, stay informed and connected with other Lions.In a project called Lions Reading to Lions, the magazine, which comes out two times a year, is recorded by members of three clubs in Georgia: the Athens Lions Club, the Oconee Lions Club, and the Forsyth County Lions Club.Listening to a fellow Lion read the magazine, as opposed to hearing a computer-generated, artificial voice, makes the recordings more enjoyable for Arvidson.“They have different people reading the magazine, so I get to hear different voices, different tones and intonations. It makes it more conversational,” says Arvidson, who is a member of the Anacortes Lions Club in Anacortes, Washington.The project to record the magazines isn’t new. It’s been around for about 15 years, but has changed as technology has evolved. Previously, volunteers recorded the magazine in a studio and mailed it on CDs to blind and visually impaired Lions in the U.S. and Canada.Today, the volunteers, three of whom are currently working on the project, record the magazine on their home computers, and email the link to about 15 Lions who currently receive it.While the process has become easier over the years, Stacie Court, a member of the Athens Lions Club who oversees the recordings, says one thing hasn’t changed: They always strive to make the recordings clear, concise, and friendly.“We want it to be like were having a conversation about the subject of the article,” says Court, who breaks the magazine down and then assigns articles and advertisements to be read by the volunteers.“My definition of a good job is that the narrator is not distracting from the information that’s being given,” she says. “We don’t want to produce something that’s going to draw attention to the reader as opposed to the information.”Volunteers are trained in how to read the articles and in the free recording software that is used.Making a recording presents some interesting challenges such as how to “read” a picture.”Court says guidelines have been established for conveying what is in picture or a graph. For a picture, for instance, the reader indicates that there is an image accompanying the article and reads the caption.“We don’t describe the pictures because every blind person experiences the world around them differently,” Court says. “I could describe a picture all day long from my view of it and not describe it in the way that person needs.”Arvidson appreciates not having to rely on someone else to read the magazine to him, and not having to use other forms of technology that may be hard to use, have a monotone sound, mispronounce words, or skip over parts of an article.“I can sit down and listen to it on my computer and it’s very clear and concise,” Arvidson says. “It makes it so I can be independent.”Court, who is visually impaired in her left eye, understands why something like this is so important. She says she learns something new every time she reads the magazine, and wants to bring that information to other Lions and their family members, friends, or anyone else who may access the recordings.“I really enjoy helping them understand a little more about what Lionism is about and learn about some of the wonderful things that Lions are doing in this country and around the world,” Court says.To receive a links to the recordings, email Stacie Court at Stacie.firstname.lastname@example.org or call directly at 706-424-9516.