May 31, 2009

Optimist Club of Mandeville, Jamaica reaches out with love

Some Optimist Clubs choose to perform really big projects and they garner newspaper articles and praise for the large contributions. I am always so excited when I see a small, meaningful project make headlines and that is the feeling I have about this project from the Optimist Club of Mandeville, Jamaica.

Members of the Optimist Club visited the Hanbury Home and provided a day of entertainment and caring. Hanbury Home is made up of 80 orphaned young people. The children thrived from the interaction provided by the Optimists which including reading stories, talking one-on-one with them and providing hugs. The House Mother said the visit provided positive relations for the children, but that the adults also helped her complete her tasks.

We often forget how lending our hands and hearts in such a simple way can make a difference in the lives of so many. Thank you to the Optimist of Mandeville. Keep reaching out to others.

May 27, 2009

Fishing Derby hosted by Optimist Club of Bixby, OK

As we head into summer, what could be a better activity than fishing? You guessed it! Teaching kids to fish. That was part of the fun at the 34th Annual Optimist Fishing Derby hosted by the Optimist Club of Bixby, OK.

Bixby area personalities Dick Faurot of Channel 6 and Keith and Cody Hays of KWHB-46 were on hand to offer fishing advice and film footage that will be aired on an upcoming edition of The Future of Fishing.

According to the Optimists, 78 children from ages 2 to 15 participated in the derby. The largest fish was a black bass caught by young Easton Abel. It weighed in at 1 pound, 13 ounces. All participants received T-shirts and all the hot dogs they could eat from the Optimist Club. Zebco provided prizes for all winning anglers.

What great summer fun! See the article online at the Bixby Bulletin. Or on Scribd: Bixby Fishing Derby. Photo courtesy of Anthony Jumper.

May 25, 2009

Junior Optimist Club pays it forward in Farmington Hills, MI

“A small group of people coming together can make a big difference,” said Abhinav Reddy , a kindergarten student at the Highmeadow Elementary School in Farmington Hills, MI.

Idealistic thoughts for such a little person? Maybe so, but that is what being a part of a Junior Optimist Club is all about. The Highmeadow Elementary School recently added the Junior Optimist Club program to their list of extracurricular activities and just last week, the group completed their first community service project, a walkathon to benefit another youth serving organization: the Farmington Area Goodfellows.

Junior Optimist Clubs are student driven. With minor support from the sponsoring adult Optimist Club, the students develop, plan and execute their own projects. There are 18 students in the Highmeadow Elementary School Junior Optimist Club. For this program they recruited students from neighboring schools and enlisted parents as chaperones for the five mile hike. The Optimist Club of Farmington-Farmington Hills manned the snack stations around the course. It was a great activity, raising more than $2,000 in a pay-it-forward fashion, from one group to the next so that all can do more for others.

“I wanted to do something good. I wanted to make a difference,” said Nadia Morman-Williams, another kindergarten student. Well you did Nadia; you and your classmates all did so good! Thank you!

Read more in or read the story here.

May 22, 2009

Recognizing kids is what we do

Please enjoy a short break from Optimist Club projects as we note another awesome opportunity for kids.

Kudos to Google! With their immeasurable reach, they have once again offered an art contest for children in grades K-12 in the US. The program is called Doodle 4 Google. Children are asked to submit their drawings of the famous Google logo incorporating the theme of the year. This year's theme was "What I wish for the World." The national winner for 2009 was Christin Engelberth, Bernard A. Harris Jr High School, San Antonio, TX. Take a look at all US state finalists in the Doodle 4 Google competition. Enjoy!

May 21, 2009

Optimist Club refurbishes pool in Waxahachie

It began with a community effort in 1950, so it makes sense that it would be refurbished with a community effort in 2009. What is it? The Optimist Pool in Waxahachie, TX. The pool is being renovated with help from the Optimist Club, local contractors and the Waxahachie Foundation. The pool will reopen to the community on June 6.

Do you have to be an Optimist to chill out at the Waxahachie Optimist Pool? Of course not! The pool is open to the community. After all, the primary purpose of an Optimist Clubs is to help all children.

May 20, 2009

Optimist Club offers cash reward for new ideas

Here is a great way to help young people bring a charitable idea to fruition. The Optimist Club of Anguilla, B.W.I. is inviting persons between 13 and 30 years of age to apply for a Youth in the Community award.

The goal of the award is to recognize young people who are currently working on projects that benefit the youth of Anguilla. The projects must directly benefit the youth of Anguilla, be ongoing, be not-for-profit and have a social, educational, or sportsman benefit for youth.

Recipients will receive a weekend getaway as a personal reward and a monetary award that must be used for the project. What a great way to recognize new thinkers and doers.

May 19, 2009

More Respect for Law activities by Optimist Clubs

More and more Optimist Clubs are celebrating Respect for Law this month. Some of the honors include:

Optimist Club of Moberly, MO honor four outstanding officers.
Optimist Club of Lebanon, OH names officer of the year.
The Breakfast Optimist Club of Clay County, IN sponsors ISP camp for children.
Optimist Club of Salisbury, NC honors officer of the year.
Optimist Club of Chattanooga, TN names captain of Sheriff's Dept. with Respect for Law honor.

Optimist Clubs join with Kiwanis for bike fair

Children in Billings, MT enjoyed a bike fair over the weekend courtesy of the Billings Kiwanis, Magic City and Riverside Optimist Clubs during the eleventh annual youth bicycle rodeo.

Children were fitted for bicycle helmets, rode obstacle courses and learned safety tips from the Billings Police Department. According to the Montana CBS affiliate, kids rode their own bikes to the event and the Optimist Club made sure that those without bikes recieved a refurbished one to take home.

What a great collaborative effort by the service clubs!

May 18, 2009

Optimist Club recognizes accomplishments of young students

Let's hear a big, "Oh, yeah! This is what Optimist Clubs are all about." The Optimist Club of Del Mar/Solana Beach, CA is the most recent Optimist Club to recognize students for doing simply great things.

Eleven students in grades 1 to 6 were recognized for excellence in community service, art, humanities, courage, fellowship and service. Enjoy the full story about the Optimist Club of Del Mar/Solana Beach.

Optimist Club assists students in a right of passage

One of the big events for many children and their parents is the day they receive their drivers license. Unfortunately, many schools have made driver's education optional and the price is out of reach for many families. According to the Optimist Club of Verona, WI that is not acceptable so they have created a scholarship fund to help students afford the training course.

Optimist member Holly Dowling and her husband County Court Commissioner Todd Meuer elaborated on the program by explaining that there is a "snowball effect" of not having a license - kids who can't afford them drive anyway so they can work, get caught and have even more trouble getting a license. And because they're not trained, they are more likely to be uninsured or flee the scene of an accident.

The Optimist Club of Verona hopes to build awareness and generate more funding for this much needed program that directly benefits kids and their communities.

May 16, 2009

An open thank you to the Optimist Club of Anderson, IN

It is always heartwarming when a student does just a little more than expected. Just ask the Noon Optimist Club of Anderson, Indiana where a young oratorical contestant advanced from the club level competition, through the zone and then came in as the first place winner of District Optimist International Oratorical Contest. For his efforts, Chandler Carroll received a $1,500 scholarship and earned lots of great memories.

To show appreciation, he sent an open thank-you letter to the local newspaper. A thank you card to the club would have been nice, but sharing his enthusiasm for the event and the Noon Optimist Club was even nicer.

Congratulations to Chandler for your success and many compliments for your thoughtfulness.

May 15, 2009

Optimist Club holds Bike Safety and Tricycle Parade

Local police often get involved with the activities of our Optimist Clubs and that's another reason to salute the efforts of our men in blue. Recently, the Sheriff's Department and the Police Intermountain Biking Association joined the Optimist Club of New Iberia, LA to help instill bicycle safety to youngsters as the New Iberia Optimist Club held the Bike Safety and Tricycle Parade.

May 14, 2009

Optimist Club to hold 2-day Respect for Law celebration

Free, fun and family-oriented. That's the mission of Main Street Rogers being held May 15-16 in Rogers, Arkansas. The Optimist Club of Rogers, Arkansas is right there in the middle of the action.

The fun will include a Catfish Clinic and Fishing Derby, Heart of the Ozarks Car Show, old fashioned games, Fincher Fun Run, Historical Museum Open House, Twilight Walk and the Ninth Annual Optimist International Respect for Law Day.

The Respect for Law Day is a special attraction for it brings the local club together with law enforcement for the kids.

Across town, in front of the Rogers Police Station on Dixieland Road, the ninth annual Respect for Law Day will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Respect for Law Day is an Optimist International project. The local club partners with local law enforcement for an event that's free for local kids. According to Lt. Mike Johnson, "It's good for the police department to meet with families and kids and interact with them in a positive way." Some local children only see policemen when there's a problem at home, he said.

In addition to bonding with the police department, families can enjoy free pizza and hot dogs. Find out all about it at

Optimist Clubs promote Respect for Law

One of the purposes of an Optimist Club is to promote respect for law. Optimist Clubs do this in different ways, sometimes involving children in their efforts, but often just recognizing the officers that make a difference in their community. A few Optimist Clubs have let me know that they recently held Respect for Law events where they honored those who serve:
Optimist Club of Jackson County, FL
Optimist Club of Dundalk, MD
Downtown Optimist Club of Meridian, MS

Thank you for recognizing their important contributions to your community.

May 13, 2009

Optimist Clubs are patriotic

The Optimist Club of Dor-Wood in Kettering, Ohio has combined forces with the Kettering Leadership Academy to show patriotism on all national holidays. Together they will create an Avenue of Flags for Labor Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day and the Fourth of July.

The Dor-Wood Optimist Club acknowledges their inspiration comes from the neighboring Optimist Clubs of Springboro and Centerville Noon. All clubs involve the local business community through ongoing subscriptions to the service. For $40 annually, the Optimist Club cares for the displays and places and collects the flags.

May 12, 2009

Junior Optimist Club hosts "Senior Prom"

Optimist Clubs offer projects to benefit, involve or recognize children. Isn't it kind of neat when the kids turn that mission around? The Junior Optimist Club of Hawaii recently hosted a Senior Prom for the Lake Wylie Retirement Home and Assisted Living Center. To keep up their efforts, they are working with the residents at Lake Wylie to record their biographies.

Junior Optimist Clubs are sponsored by an adult Optimist Club; however, just like their grown-up counterparts, they decide their projects and raise the funds to ensure their completion.

High Five to the Junior Optimist Club of Hawaii. Find out more about Junior Optimist Clubs.

May 11, 2009

Optimist Clubs help other organizations make a difference

Around the world, Optimist Clubs are united as friends of youth and they share the uplifting mission "By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids." Some popular programs include oratorical and essay scholarship contests, youth appreciation awards, tri-star sports, respect for law, youth safety and the Optimist Junior Golf Championships.

But at home, in local communities, Optimist Clubs also provide support to other organizations. Here are some of the great contributions that are being made by our clubs this month:

The Optimist Club of Carlsbad, CA and the Optimist Club of Del Mar, CA will combine forces to feed 1,000 Special Olympians on May 30.

The Optimist Club of Huntington, W. Virginia shares volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club.

The Optimist Club of Yuma, AZ will raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club summer youth programs with the 31st annual Continental Night on May 15.

The Optimist Club of Gresham, OR coordinated a walkathon for all youth serving organizations in their community.

The Optimist Club of Lapeer County, MI supports Lapeer East and West High Schools by raising more than $100,000 for soccer fields.

May 10, 2009

Optimist Club honors kids "Caught in the Act"

The Optimist Club of Camdenton, MO is making a big deal of children doing little things. Every month, based on nominations from area schools, the Optimist Club recognizes students for being "caught in the act" of a random act of kindness. This can be little or big actions, but they are all positive behaviors recognized by others.

As part of the CITA Award, students receive a citation from the Optimist Club and area businesses have contributed things like free hamburgers, ice cream, movie rentals,swimming passes and more as small prizes for the achievements.

Way to go! You did so good!

Optimist Club predicts 600 children will enjoy Track & Field Day

According to Sandy Orr, President, Optimist Club of Cummings-Forsyth, GA, the 30th Annual Track and Field Day is “what we’re all about, seeing these kids have fun.” I agree!

After hosting more than 500 participants last year, the club is shooting for 600 this year. The event is completetly free and open to all students in the county from 1st through 5th grades. The children compete for ribbons in all events including 50- and 100-yard dashes, ball throw, long jump, 220- and 440-yard runs and relay races and the school that shows the most spirit is award the "Spirit Award" trophy. All participants receive a free T-shirt, hot dog, soda and participation ribbon.

Go team! Go kids! Go Optimists!

May 8, 2009

Optimist Clubs recognize the Power of Youth

The Power of Youth was the topic for the 26th Annual Optimist International Essay Contest. In 1983, Optimist International added essay writing to their list of recommended programs for Optimist Clubs to conduct. All contests begin at the Optimist Club level and advance through Zone, and District competition in an effort to win scholarships from $650 to $6,500.

Congratulations to the clubs for recognizing their youthful competitors in the local media:
Optimist Club of Kingston, Jamaica
Caribbean's best essay writers
The Optimist Club of Del Mar/Solana Beach

May 6, 2009

Optimist Clubs show appreciation for youth

This post may not seem like a big deal. After all, we've seen a couple similar ones already; but I believe the main purpose of an Optimist Club is to put on programs that benefit, involve or recognize children. To that end, I promise to publish every recognition program I discover where the kids are recognized for something other than purely athletic or academic pursuits.

Kudos to:
The Capital Area Optimist Club of San Marcos, Texas recognized students at the Baptist Academy for arts, music and community services.

The Optimist Club of Flint Hills,KS for recognizing some outstanding students from the Emporia, Northern Heights, Olpe and Hartford high schools.

The Sunrise Optimist Club of Columbia, Missouri for recognizing the children at the Coyote Hills Christion Home with a college softball tailgate party and game.

Stories are welcome! Please send your links to linda [at] newoptimistclub (dot) com.

May 4, 2009

Junior Optimist Club will hold fundraiser for parent in coma

The Junior Optimist Club at Leonardo Da Vinci School in Sacramento is reaching out to help the father of one of their classmates. Working together with the Breakfast Optimist Club of Sacramento, they will hold a Pancake Breakfast on May 16. Proceeds will go towards the medical bills for Chi Cheng who remains in a coma as a result of a car crash in early November.

According to Diane Soule, community liaison for the school, the accident has taken a toll on the students. All parents are involved in the school, plus Mr. Cheng has an even higher profile as the bassist with the Deftones.

The fundraiser will be held at the school. High five to the Junior Optimists. Nice way to reach out to one of your own.

May 3, 2009

Optimist Club holds Safetypalooza

The Optimist Club of Christian County, Missouri has served more than five hundred children with an annual bike safety program dubbed Safetypalooza. According to chairperson Terri Baum and police officer Brent Forgey, bicycle safety is one of the main components of the event. Children are taught to be safe riders, use signals, and are fitted for helmets. Those without or with poor fitting helmets are given new ones courtesy of the local hospital program.

Bicycle safety is just one safety program conducted by thousands of Optimist Clubs each year. Optimist Clubs strive to keep kids safe and raise awareness against behaviors that could cause injury or harm. According to the chairperson for the Safetypalooza, wearing a helmet is important not only for children, but also for adults. "If you put kids in a fun, friendly environment and teach them something, it might stick with them a little bit better," said Optimist Terri Baum.

Isn't that true for children of all ages?

May 1, 2009

Optimist Club sponsors blood drive

The Optimist Club of Senoia, Georgia believes in giving the gift of life. That's why they have added quarterly blood drives to the annual calender of events they conduct and promote in Senoia.

This is an important event for the community; at least I think it is because the local paper, The Citizen, has written caringly about the blood drive sponsored by the Optimist Club. According to the Red Cross, they have exceeded their target goals in each of the previous events.

Isn't it great to know that your Optimist Club can make a difference in just one day?


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