May 18, 2015

Our youth will bloom where they are planted

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the final, or district-level, competition for the Communications Contest for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students (CCDHH) and the Optimist Oratorical Contest for the Pacific Northwest District - Optimist International.

This is perhaps one of the most inspirational meetings of the year for we get to hear from the best and brightest young people hailing from British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington as they share their thoughts on a common theme. This year, that theme is "How my optimism will help me press on to the greater achievements of the future."

Optimist Club members know that theme comes directly from the Optimist Creed. The young speakers, however, met the topic with their very own observations made from their experiences in their lives. We heard an impassioned cry to draw awareness to teen suicide and we heard how differently-abled persons learn to live and thrive in a world that doesn't necessarily understand them.

Ben Fullerton, a speaker with cerebral palsy, confined to a wheelchair and utilizing a computer to speak for him told the assembly, "I'm optimistic. I don't want your sympathy, but I would like you to understand my reality."

His thought, among others that I heard, made me realize, perhaps adults don't really understand what goes on in any teenager's mind. We think we do because we've been that age ourselves, but the culture and environment is different from when we were that age. I'm inspired by their perserverence. Most of all, I'm inspired by their optimism. Children really can and do bloom where they are planted. 

As an Optimist Club member, that makes me happy. We're here to serve children; but we are also here to help our peers be the best version of themselves as well. If this pursuit sounds interesting to you, I invite you to join an Optimist Club. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you or contact me and I will help you start a new Optimist Club in your community. Share optimism today. 
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