Aventura, Fla. – Lynda Roberts fought back tears when she accomplished a milestone in the 69-year history of a local international service organization, becoming the first Black woman president of the Aventura/North Miami Beach Lions Club.

During the organization’s membership banquet at Miami Lakes Hotel, Roberts, 62, was elected to a one-year term to lead the organization which offers an array of services ranging from raising money for college scholarships for students and community cleanup projects to bringing sight to the world’s blind.

Roberts, a Police Athletic League (PAL) executive director and community youth coordinator for the North Miami Beach Police Department, told the South Florida Times she was "overwhelmed with excitement and concerns. I want to make sure I stand within the organization to find out who I am and what I can do to be ready to serve. I say I can do this, I can make this organization better."

Roberts, who’s been a member of the club since 2014 and previously was its vice president, said she was "very surprised that in 69 years not a Black female was president of the Aventura/North Miami Beach Lions Club." She added that "It’s like the first Black female police chief in North Miami,” a reference to the appointment of Harvette Smith there.

“Being the first Black woman president of the organization and the first Black police chief is mind blowing that it took this long to get to that position,” she said. “A lot of people look at Blacks as athletes for success but we also have a brain and an education. And no one can take that away from you."

Roberts, a native of Miami, said she wants to take the Lions Club, which currently has more than 30 members, to new heights as its new president. She will oversee a membership growth initiative that is designed to empower other local Lions Clubs, and encourage clubs to undertake ambitious service projects that can increase their global impact.

"As the new president, I’m presenting new ideas and platforms for the organization," she said. "One of my goals is bringing in more people in the organization to benefit the group."

Roberts said her new role is "very" important because she’s working with people with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to help make the club a success. That also includes working with other local Lions Clubs from Hialeah-Miami Lakes and Miami Springs. To prepare her for her new role, Roberts said she is studying for her doctoral degree in psychology and ethnic leadership.

Roberts said the Lions Club raises money for college scholarships for the PAL and other community programs, and helps children and adults with medical issues like foot surgery and dental. But the main focus is making sure kids don’t lose their eyesight due to a medical condition, which is close to home for Roberts, whose daughter was born with an eye disease and needed surgery to prevent blindness.

CORRECTION: The Healthcare Heroes Awards event reported in the Aug. 25 article “Frontliner appreciation” was hosted by Shenetria Moore of Sha’s Community Initiatives, Inc. in collaboration with SHE Holdings LLC (sheholdingsllc.com).