February 1, 2015

Family ties

I joined the Optimist Club of Granite City, Illinois in 1987. I've written about it before; I had wanted to join for some time, but it took quite a while for the men in this civic service club to allow women to enter its hallowed halls.

Once admitted, I got very involved moving through club leadership to district leadership and eventually landing a job at Optimist International headquarters as the director of membership development.

That position led me to visit Idaho and eventually move to the Pacific Northwest District - Optimist International. Once there, I took a hiatus. I never stopped my membership in an Optimist Club; however, my position as the executive director of the Gem County Chamber of Commerce encouraged me to participate in a different community organization, so I did. Service to our community is important, vital and necessary, no matter its flavor of membership and my involvement in the brand K club gave me the opportunity to learn about its inner-workings as I was quickly elected to be the club secretary-treasurer and appointed chairperson of the Key Club at the high school.

Fast forward several years when it was time to make a career move. I left the community and the club behind and never looked back because the Optimist family opened its arms, welcoming me on my return.

I was happy to be home because the people are different in an Optimist Club. I think it comes from the overarching goodness of the Optimist Creed. When people come together to promise themselves to look at the sunny side of everything and make their optimism come true, you know they are working on their personal development, they want to be good people, as well as doing projects that improve their community. That's important because positive psychology tells us that people with a positive mental attitude are happy and successful.

People who are connected to others with strong social bonds are happier still. When you reach out to an Optimist Club, the club members open their heart, and sometimes, literally, their arms, in true warmth and connection. You are welcomed to the family and no matter where you go in life, the Optimist Club family, more than 2,000 clubs strong, is there to welcome and cheer you and above all, inspire you to keep moving forward with your strong family ties.

You should become part of the Optimist family. Join an Optimist Club near you or start an Optimist Club family of your own. Please send me a message and I'll help you get one started today.



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