Lions International chooses 2014 Rose Parade Theme

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Lions International chooses 2014 Rose Parade Theme

Dreams come true – “Lions” built “Matteo’s Dream”


"Lions Built Matteo's Dream" Lions Clubs International 2014 Rose Parade float theme.

“Lions Built Matteo’s Dream” Lions Clubs International 2014 Rose Parade float theme.


By Loreen Berlin.  This article was originally published in the Buena Park Independent.  Loreen can be reached at 

Lions Clubs International has chosen the theme of its 2014 float for the Pasadena Rose Parade.  Local Lions Clubs, including the Buena Park Noon Lions Club, Garden Grove and Seal Beach Lions Clubs, to name a few, will help to decorate the 2014 float on a volunteer basis.  Proving that dreams do come true, the Lions Club helped Concord, Calif. resident Liz Lamach and her son, Matteo, who has cerebral palsy, with their dream.

They dreamed of a playground where children who cannot walk, see or hear, could play safely alongside children who have normal abilities – giving children of all abilities a place to play.

The Matteo’s Dream Playground allows children of all abilities to communicate, build friendships and gain an understanding of all cultures and abilities through the universal language of play.  Lamach said she wanted what all mothers want – a safe place for her son to play with other kids, but most playgrounds don’t have the ramps or the space needed to move a wheelchair.  Determined to find a way to create a place where children of all abilities could come together to play, Lamach did research and began to plan for the new playground but with the cost at nearly $750,000, it would take a lot more than she could give.
She rallied the local Lions, and with a generous $75,000 grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation, the project began.
Lions from 45 clubs went on to raise nearly $500,000 and also joined forces with other community groups to build the park themselves.  In just eight days, 3,000 volunteers erected the 12,000 square foot playground. Ron Hudson from the Dawn Breakers Lions Club was one of them.  “I spent eight days building Matteo’s Dream,” Breakers said, “and it was the best thing I have ever done in my life.”

When “Matteo’s Dream: A Playground for Children of All Abilities” opened to the public, local parents like Tamara Borba were elated. They finally had a place where their children could play alongside siblings with special needs.
“To have Matteo’s Dream in our neighborhood is wonderful,” Borba said. “Both my kids can play; Nicky can be set free where he can wheel himself up and down the ramps and play with everything.”  Laura Hoffmesiter, former mayor of Concord, said, “The dream really did become a reality and we hope this can become a model for other communities.”

The project reestablished the Concord Lions Club with Liz Lamach as the charter president. The Concord Lions Club not only maintains the playground – it also holds club meetings there.
A side note: a local play ground that is wheelchair accessible is the Harry M. Dotson Park, 10350 N. Fern Ave., in Stanton, dedicated in honor of former Stanton Lion member and Stanton mayor Dotson, who was a champion of the children. The park includes a basketball court, climbing area, water feature which allows kids to get wet, and a pirate ship, all wheelchair accessible.
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“Lions Built Matteo’s Dream” Lions Clubs International 2014 Rose Parade float theme.