Lions International’s “Quest for Kindness” Float Helps Students Navigate a Sea of Emotions and Dream, Believe and Achieve their Goals

More than 20 percent of students in America report being bullied at school and 33 percent of students report being cyberbullied outside of school. Bullied kids suffer physically, mentally, emotionally and academically, but hope is on the horizon.

At the 133rd Rose Parade, one float carries a special message for students who strive to dream, believe and achieve their goals and educators who are committed to ending bullying in their schools. The vibrant Lions Clubs International’s “Quest for Kindness” float depicts three boats carrying exceptional students, educators and Lions who are on a quest to help other young people develop their social and emotional learning (SEL) skills through the Lions Quest program.

Lions Quest is an evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) program for students in grades 1-12 and is supported by the Lions Clubs International Foundation. SEL is a process through which students acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, achieve goals, show empathy for others, establish positive relationships and make responsible decisions.

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Studies have shown that students who participate in an SEL program experienced an 11 percent increase in overall grades and had better attendance. In addition, people who have the skills to deal with problems that affect them personally are better able to navigate the deep waters of adult life and, in turn, be better equipped to help others in need.

“Providing children with a safe and healthy learning environment is one of the many ways Lions serve from the heart,” said Douglas X. Alexander, International President for Lions Clubs International. “The Lions Quest program is active in more than 105 countries around the world. By partnering with exceptional educators who understand the value that social and emotional learning plays in a student’s overall success and well-being, young people are in a better place to dream, believe and achieve their goals.”

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The Lions Clubs International Quest for Kindness Float and Notable Riders

Dozens of vibrant flowers and other natural decorating materials adorn the 35-foot “Quest for Kindness” float. Boats equipped with life perseveres rise above waves that symbolize the tumultuous sea of emotions and illustrate how life-changing education can be. A lighthouse serves as a beacon of hope for young people struggling with their emotions and social skills and lights the way forward. Two large Lions flank the lighthouse. One uses nets to capture kindness and positive social and emotional skills, and the other Lion uses a telescope to always be on the lookout for those in need.

Notable riders include:

  • Douglas X. Alexander, International President for Lions Clubs International
  • Jim Klipfel, social studies teacher at Saugus High School and 2021 California Teachers of the Year
  • Alexandre Widman, 2021 Lions Club Student Speaker contest winner

“I am honored to be joined by these incredible students and teachers who, like our Lions, inspire others and serve from the heart,” said international President Alexander. “Because when people serve from their heart, there is nothing we can’t achieve.”

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