I don't know which channel you may have watched the Rose Parade on this Jan. 1. But the one I used barely showed the Lions Clubs float at all, for it was almost the last float in the parade and they were out of time. I only knew about this float because of two of my readers, Carol and Jan, who went down to Pasadena to help decorate the float.

This year the theme was "Dreams Come True" and their float was called "Matteo's Dream." It honored a deceased young disabled boy who had inspired the Lions Club to build a playground for challenged children to be able to play with other children in Concord. The float won the Tournament Special Award, which is given for exceptional merit in multiple classifications and it was well-deserved.

The different Lions Clubs raised $750,000 to assist in building this wonderful multipurpose park. This amazing place was one of the first inclusive-type parks built in this area and has been followed by many others. Maybe one of the most astonishing facts about this park is that it was built in only eight days!

This was accomplished by an estimated 3,000 volunteers, which included members from 45 different Lions Clubs in the area and members of the community. Matteo got to play in this wondrous park with his parents and friends before he passed and now his legacy lives on for all children to enjoy.

One person can make a difference in this world with the help of others. Please remember the Lions Club if you have glasses you no longer wear, or even old hearing aids. They will repair them as needed and pass them on to others less fortunate.

Speaking about sharing and giving, please don't donate to the ASPCA with their tear-jerking commercials about abused animals; your money will never leave New York. The other agency that advertises on TV with its awful heart-tearing commercial at least states in fine print that your money will not go to local agencies. Your money is better spent on your own SPCA, where the funds go directly to help our local animals.

It's really hard to figure out which charities to give your money to. You need to do a lot of research to find out exactly how much of your donation goes to help the cause and not fatten someone's wallet.

But it is possible to find these facts out before you make your donation. It's like people who use the handicapped placards and or license plates for their own convenience when they were meant for someone else's use. There is always someone out there waiting to use the system for his own benefit.

Many of us seniors are just too trusting and that can get you in a lot of trouble now. Never give out your personal information over the phone unless you made the call to a number that you know belongs to someone or someplace you trust.

You could get a phone call saying you just won a free step-in bath, or free "Help, I can't get up" service. They want your credit card information before they'll send you the product. Don't give them any type of information; tell them to mail you the paper work. This will result in you never getting anything from the company in the mail. I know for sure about this as I've received these calls over and over again.

Protect your credit and banking information, it can save you a lot of money.

A native of Minnesota, Carol Olson grew up in South Dakota and Walnut Creek and now lives in Pittsburg. She can be reached at carolleeolson@aol.com.