The Beauty of Life Can Be Felt In the Heart

Lions Clubs International President Alexander

Dear Lions,

It’s been a while since I’ve walked the halls of the Boys’ High School in Brooklyn, New York, where I went to school, and a lot has changed since I graduated. In the seventies it became the Boys’ and Girls’ High School and relocated to a bigger campus on Fulton and Utica. But the original building at 832 Marcy Ave, the one I remember so well, is known for its Romanesque Revival architecture, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is considered one of Brooklyn’s finest buildings. It was a memorable place to spend my formative years as a young man in Bedford–Stuyvesant. A place like that leaves quite an impression.

So when I went back years ago to participate in the Principal for a Day program, what surprised me was how nostalgic it felt, even though the high school I stepped into that day was no longer just for boys and, in fact, was in an entirely different location.

Yet, the moment I stepped into the building I was transported back in time. I was suddenly immersed in memories of my days walking the halls, laughing with my friends, and studying hard. The smell of sharpened pencils in the air, the squeak of shoes on the polished floors, the coolness of the lockers when you lean against them – these sensations were just as alive in this new place as they were in my memories. I realized it wasn’t the beauty and historical significance of the original building that made the biggest impression on me, it was what I felt when I walked through the doors. And those kinds of memories are made through the people, the values, and the soul of a place. Those are the things that have made a place in my heart.

Of course, the beauty of sight is a blessing. But there is so much more.

We are Lions and we are dedicated to helping end preventable blindness and to making life better for those with vision impairment. But I feel it’s important to note what many without sight have told me over and over again – yes, life is more challenging without sight. But it is still rich with beauty and color of a different kind.

So, this October, which is Vision Awareness Month, I’d like to celebrate the beauty of life beyond what we can see. Helen Keller said it best: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.”

Yours in service,



Douglas X. Alexander

International President, Lions Clubs International


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