Mary Robotti to be honored at Lions Club fashion show
by Andrew Pavia
May 07, 2013 | 656 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mary Robotti.
Mary Robotti.
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Women weren’t allowed into the Ravenswood Lion Club when Mary Robotti, 90, wanted to join, so she started her own.

In the 1980s the Lionesses were born. The two clubs, after working side by side for roughly 15 years, merged into one group. Robotti eventually became the Lions Club's first woman president.

Robotti is being honored at an upcoming Lions Club-sponsored fashion show on May 19 at Riccardo’s by the Bridge in Astoria from 1 to 5 p.m.

“I’m being honored, probably because of my age,” she said during a recent interview at her Long Island City apartment.

A main mission of the Lions Club is to serve the blind. Robotti said that while she is excited about being honored, she was focused on raising money to train a seeing eye dog to be donated to a blind person. Proceeds from the show will go toward that goal.

“Whatever we make will go to charity,” she said.

The Ravenswood Lions Club has helped purchase three seeing-eye dogs. The cost of the dog is $5,000, and the training is another $6,000. Robotti said that her club will pool its money with other Lions Clubs to reach the $11,000.

The organization also collects glasses that are sent to Third World countries. At times, doctors accompany the glasses to poverty-stricken countries to provide much-needed care.

For Robotti, fighting blindness became a personal issue when her husband lost his eyesight at the age of 20. Despite regaining his sight later in life, he ended up losing it slowly again in his old age.

Robotti said it is difficult to bring new people into the club because most of the members are older with small families. However, she hopes to see an influx of new members in the future.

“It’s like every other organization,” she said. “Membership drops off, and no new members want to come in.”

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