The Leo Program was designed to provide youth with an opportunity for personal development by volunteering. Community service is the cornerstone of the program. In total, more than 144,000 young people in 139 countries are proud to call themselves Leos. These young community leaders are friendly, active and dedicated to creating new and exciting opportunities by participating in their local Leo clubs.
The Leo Motto is: “Leadership, Education and Opportunity”
Serve and Learn Student Association (SALSA)
The Sioux Falls Help!Line Center founded the Serve and Learn Student Association in 1999 to promote volunteerism with area youth. In 2004, the Sioux Falls Downtown Lions Club adopted the SALSA Program as our Leo Club. The SALSA Group has grown to become the largest Leo group in the world. Today SALSA involves 5 area schools (Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Joe Foss & Brandon Valley High Schools) with over 1,700 students logging more than 12,500 hours of service per year. A SALSA meeting is held at each of these schools once a month. Those meetings feature a speaker from a local non-profit that needs youth volunteers. Teens at the meetings also do a hands-on service project. Twice a month SALSA members gather to volunteer at SALSA-wide projects, helping paint homes, feed the hungry, rake yards for seniors and much more!
Individual and SALSA-wide group opportunities are provided every month throughout the year. The Sioux Falls Downtown Lions are pleased to work with these young people as they learn, grow and serve. We honor their efforts each spring with the Annual Youth Recognition Luncheon when we formally recognize them in two categories: over 50 hours of volunteer service, and over 100 hours of volunteer service. During the last school year, SALSA members reported 12,678 hours of service, up from 10,378 hours of service the previous year. In addition, SALSA staff gave out an average of 88 referrals each month to SALSA members looking to volunteer outside of SALSA-wide events.