June 29, 2009

Find your calling to serve

This notice @ niagarathisweek.com caught my attention:

"The Boys and Girls Club of Niagara is seeking volunteers to help work the Lions Club bingo at the Optimist Club on June 28, 29, 30, and July 1, 2009. If you would like to come out and help please contact Dana Snyder at events@boysandgirlsclubniagara.org."

Add in the Rotary Club and Kiwanis Club and everyone would come to the party! This has been the way of many service organizations in recent years; they all lend their hands to help each other accomplish tasks and carry out fund raising activities. Since the mottos of the major service clubs are similar, one might wonder why so many different clubs are needed.

Kiwanis International - Serving children of the world.

Lions Clubs International - We Serve.

Optimist International - Friend of youth.

Rotary International - Service above self.

The reason is simple; each club goes about their mission a little differently. Rotary clubs unite business professionals in service. Optimist clubs bring community leaders together with business and offer a positive outlook on life. Kiwanis clubs have artfully blended the above together for an eclectic membership base and Lions clubs were the first to capitalize on membership for all walks of life with a unified international service project.

I encourage you to visit a service club in your community, find the one that fits your personality and get involved. Yes, I like Optimist Clubs because of the Optimist Creed, but I know that every flavor of club is needed. You are needed. Don't miss your calling to serve.

June 26, 2009

Optimist Club of Hagerstown, IN says Happy Sweet Sixteen

What would you think if a big bunch of Optimists turned out for your birthday? That is just what happened in Richmond, Indiana when the Optimist Club of Hagerstown surprised Whitney Jennings for her 16th birthday celebration. They brought a special gift: a handicap accessible van to help Whitney go more places.

Whitney has had health complications since very early in her life when she was diagnosed with diabetes. In 2007 she suffered a stroke in her spinal column during a multipurpose surgery. The spinal cord injury left her paralyzed and requires her to use different medical devices daily. The community has stepped in to help with upgrading the electricity in her family's home and expanding her bedroom to accommodate the equipment. Friends from the Boy's and Girl's Club frequently visits her, but the van will help her visit others.

It's a special community that works together to make a young woman feel included. Read the full story here.

June 19, 2009

Frankfort Optimist Club takes part in Longest Day of Play

For three years Franklin County, Kentucky has celebrated the longest day of the year as the Longest Day of Play. Sounds like a perfect event for kids, but it is meant for kids of all ages. According to the Franklin County Health Department, Kentucky ranks fifth in the nation for heart related mortality, sixth in the nation for diabetes related mortality, and second in the nation for inactivity.

The event at Lakeview Park in Frankfort, KY is designed to get people moving. Different groups and organizations man activity stations and help children and adults play. The Optimist Club of Frankort was in charge of the scooter obstacle course. What fun! And as the famous athletic shoe maker says, just do it! Get active now.

June 18, 2009

Optimist Club helps Battle Creek celebrate 150 years

Battle Creek, MI - the cereal city, home to Kellogg Company and their famous breakfast cereals celebrated Fun Before Breakfast last week with the help of the Optimist Club of Battle Creek.

The event kicked off with a parade with the noisy Snap, Crackle and Pop threesome. Clowns, Shriners, motorcycles and classic cars traveled down Michigan Avenue for this family event. The big attraction though happened as promoted - before breakfast - when the community laid out the world's longest breakfast table and everyone enjoyed a meal together from 8:00 to 10:00 am on Saturday, June 14, 2009. The fun continued into the afternoon when other cereal celebrities made an appearance. This was the 150th celebration of the city of Battle Creek.

Photo courtesy of The Battle Creek Enquirer.

June 16, 2009

Optimist Club raises awareness for their amazing programs

Optimist Clubs really do amazing things in all communities that they touch. They build playgrounds, hold relay races, sponsor scholarship programs, take kids to the movies, buy them lunch and many other big and small projects.
The main thing that every Optimist Club does is provide services needed most in their hometown. Our mission is to help Optimist Clubs promote their good deeds. We look for special programs and spotlight them on our blog. It is especially rewarding when we find Optimist Clubs making a concerted effort to promote themselves.
Kudos to the Optimist Club of Meridian, Idaho for telling their story to all who will listen. They will be walking the streets, talking to businesses and inviting Meridian residents and business owners to learn more by visiting a club meeting. According to the club spokesperson, communication creates transparency and awareness. They would love to add members from the effort, but most of all they want people to know that the Optimist Club is there when you need them.

June 9, 2009

Optimist Club of Shelby, NC contributes $40,000 for universally accessible playground

Here is a big project that required using a lot of savings, but according to the Optimist Club of Shelby, NC, it was worth it. In conjunction with the Shelby Parks and Recreation Department, the Club has supported the Optimist Park which includes a ball field, recreation space, playground and picnic area.

Over the years, the equipment became worn and deteriorated so this year the ten-member Optimist Club decided it was time for renovations - $40,000 worth of playground equipment that is safer and more accessible for children of all abilities.

According to Optimist Club President Roger Wuest, the community could make a lot of improvements if other groups would dedicate themselves to similar projects. The Optimist Club performs annual fund raising activities and saves a little each year for a really big project like this, but it also required the club to dip into their savings. That savings is made up of kind donations given in remembrance over the years for and by past Optimist Club members.

With a 56-year heritage, the Optimist Club is seeking new members. They welcome the community to join them at the community barbecue held on the first Thursday of every month during the summer, 6:00 pm, Optimist Park where they can learn more and sample the park for themselves.

June 7, 2009

Optimist Clubs are always on the lookout for new members

In order to provide uninterrupted service in our communities, Optimist Clubs must replenish themselves. So while there are no bright young people that directly benefit from this activity, every child indirectly benefits when an Optimist Club holds a membership drive.

The Optimist Club of Steamboat Springs, CO recently had a nice article published about their membership drive. According to Rob McCarthy, a twenty year veteran member, he joined because his kids, now 21 and 25, enjoyed the club's activities. Ron Wendler has eight years of membership to his credit. He says that it is all about the kids and in order to keep their activities going, they need adults to ensure it happens.

Not every Optimist Club advertises that they are welcoming new members. I think that is such a mistake; it's almost like they forget to say they are open for business. But don't be afraid to seek out the Optimist Club in your town. I promise, they will welcome you with open arms.

June 6, 2009

More than sixty students participate in Optimist Oratorical Contest in Pensacola

The Optimist International Oratorical Contest has been challenging students for seventy-eight years, but this is absolutely the largest, youngest, and most optimistic group of orators that I have ever seen. More than sixty youngsters in grades 3, 4, and 5 from the Pensacola Beach
Elementary School were delighted to share their versions of "What Optimism means to me..."

The finalists were:
Third Grade: Macy Mateer, Abby Jacobs and Zosia Uszok
Fourth Grade: Starfish Holk, Reddon McLaurine and Kylie Finkbone
Fifth Grade: Lia Lampone, Lexi McNamara and Trey Wright.

Winning the competion were:
First Place: Macy Mateer,
Second Place: Abby Jacobs, and
Third Place: Kylie Finkbone.

All participants participated in a celebration following the event. Congratulations to the Optimist Club of Pensacola Beach, FL for a very successful Optimist Oratorical Contest. See the article in the Gulf Breeze News.

June 5, 2009

Three hundred young artists participate in Optimist Art Expo

More than 700 pieces of art designed by more than three hundred students made up the immense body of work at the Allegheny Valley Optimist Club's "Cultural Arts Expo 2009" on April 27.

This is the fourth year that the club has coordinated the event. According to Optimist Club member Rege Fleck it is a great way to teach, recognize and inspire children. The exposure and experience of displaying their artwork in a professionally designed setting gives them an appreciation they don't receive from earning a grade. It helps them learn the business, share their passion and accept praise.

In addition to helping children from preschool age through high school showcase their creativity, the Allegheny Valley Optimist Club of Tarentum, PA also awarded a $500 scholarship to Springdale senior graphics artist Tyler Tomasino. Tyler was recognized for his service to others, helping them create posters and advertisements for their clubs and projects. He also helped design a poster for this show.

Read more about it online at Pittsburgh Live or see a pdf version of the original story here.

June 4, 2009

Fishing for Families with the Sunrise Optimist Club of Columbia, MO

The Sunrise Optimist Club of Columbia, MO has a close relationship with the Coyote Hills Children's Home. The latest activity was new program for this year: Fishing for Families. The kids and Optimists shared a day of fun with all of the catch going to the Central Missouri Food Bank.

The Coyote Hills Children's Home is a recipient of the food bank, but according to Optimist sponsors and mentors, the activity let them learn that all could contribute by reaching out a hand to help someone.

Food Bank Director Peggy Kirkpatrick said this was a unique project. No group has ever "caught" their donation to the food bank.

I think you'll agree that the Columbia Tribune gave the project the right headline: "Catching Compassion." Read as a pdf file here.

June 3, 2009

Optimist Club of Paris, ON to build skateboard park

The Optimist Club of Paris, Ontario is celebrating its 6oth Anniversary this year. As one of their pet projects, they have decided to raise $360,000 for a skateboard park. According to members, it's a big amount of money to raise, but they can do it because they are Optimists.

They plan to partner with the County of Brant to secure the land and they are seeking a grant from the Trillium Foundation, but the major portion of the money will come from fund raising and in kind donations. Skateboards.com is sponsoring a skateboard event with money raised going to the park and young boarders have been raising money by taking the message to other local events.
It is a community effort driven by the "old time" Optimists. Now that's one way to stay young. Read the full article here.


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