February 17, 2012

Mentors through reading

It's JOOI of Reading Month in Nebraska. This is the month that students involved in Junior Optimist and Octagon International Clubs encourage others to read as they share the magic of literature.

According to the Nebraska District JOOI director, Mark Claussen, JOOI members participated in JOOI of Reading month in a number of ways including proclamation ceremonies with Governor Dave Heineman and Mayor Sue Fuchtman and reading to students in grades K-2 in five different elementary schools and at Head Start. They also collected and gave away 300 books to students.

Like any Optimist Club, JOOI Clubs are autonomous and can choose the projects that they think will benefit their communities most. I am always impressed when children engage with their younger cohorts. To offer friendship, serve as mentors or just a positive role model builds character for all.

Their adult sponsors are equally rewarded when they see the good deeds of time and attention being paid forward. It gives every Optimist Club member hope that optimism – and Optimist Clubs – will live on in the years to come.

I'm especially touched by this program because of my love for writing, but most of all, it is through the eyes of these children that we keep our ideas fresh and forward-thinking. Optimist Clubs, like all service clubs, stay vital and vibrant when we embrace the wisdom of all generations.

Photo credit: Mark Claussen
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