May 25, 2011

A very special project

Optimist Clubs rush to get many of their programs completed before the end of the school year. That may seem odd, as children really need things to do and places to go in the summer months. However, it is easy to engage with them while the students are still in session. Sometimes the school or school district can be a big help, and that is exactly the relationship between the Optimist Club of Jerome, Idaho and the Jerome School District for the Special Needs Fishing Derby.

The school's role: they provide the buses to get the kids to and from the event.

Sheri Mitchell, Project Chairman, the Special Needs Fishing Derby describes the event: 
The Special Needs Fishing Derby is a free event to students of all ages with physical and mental disabilities in the Jerome area. It is the only field trip for the special needs students in the Jerome High School. The students, with the help of paraprofessionals, aides, and volunteers, fish for the day making all the noise they want. They bring their lunches and at the end of the day, take home their catch. The pond is stocked with local trout that range up to 6 lbs. in size! All poles, hooks, sinkers, worms and bottled water are provided for free.
The primary goal is to make sure that each child catches a really big fish! It is also a goal that this project does not cost the Jerome Optimist Club any money as members want this to be a project that finds support, donations and volunteers in the community. 

The Special Needs Fishing Derby began in 1975.  Optimist Club member E. P. Martin, deceased, donated the use of the pond on his farm for a special day. Seeing how much fun the children had that day inspired him, his family, and the Optimist Club to return every year since. The event holds a special place in the hearts of the members of the Jerome Optimist Club. It holds an even bigger place in the hearts of the children and their families. What a great display of "Bringing out the Best in Kids."

More information is available at JSD Special Education
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