As part of this year's "In A World of Service" theme, International Lions President Wayne Madden is challenging Lions everywhere to participate in the Reading Action Program to focus on increasing literacy and access to learning resources through their service.

Lehighton Area Lioness Lions Club members have accepted the challenge.

Sue Anthony, LALLC club secretary, said that her club has a goal of reaching out to 1,000 people this year and initiated a reading program for children attending Lehighton Area School District.

They also sponsored a Free Kids Night Out at the Lehighton Area Memorial Library. The first of three reading dates was held on Tuesday night and will also be held on March 19 and March 26 from 6 to 7 p.m. Each time a child attends they are given a bookmark, candy and chances to win prizes. Prizes will be awarded on March 26. The Easter Bunny will also visit on March 26. No registration is required.

Club members have read to students at Shull David, Mahoning elementary schools and Lehighton Middle School and several day care center. They also held an event for seniors at the Lehighton High Rise.

The Reading Action Program is a call to action for every Lions club around the world to organize service projects and activities that underscore the importance of reading and address specific needs related to illiteracy within their own community.

Madden believes that literacy and the ability to read and write is the foundation for education and social development.

"Hundreds of millions of adults lack minimum literacy skills and millions of school-aged children are not attending school to obtain them," he wrote in a letter to Lions members.