August 20, 2015

Children need adults who care about what they do

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It's pretty simple. Children should not be left alone to run through a deserted subway station. Nor should they be left alone to run through a crowded one either. However, every day, children are left alone while parents work and other less than positive reasons.

Boys and Girls Clubs, among other organizations, have stepped in to ensure that latchkey kiddos have a place to go after school; but so many more are still left alone to fend for themselves. Sometimes it seems that there are just not enough adults to go around. That's where an Optimist Club can help.

The motto of Optimist International is "Friend of Youth." The organization demonstrates its friendship through more than 65,000 projects conducted annually throughout North America and the Caribbean.

Optimist Club projects are based on what adults see is needed in their own community. When they come together as an Optimist Club, these adults share hopes, dreams and friendship. They make plans and carry them out to make a positive difference in their community. Projects might be as simple as a bicycle rodeo or as complicated as developing a city park to host a youth football program. The point is, the adults make them happen, and along the way they make certain that youths are not left alone.

When an Optimist Club is formed, it makes a promise to its community that together they will care about what children do and they will work to make sure they are reaching their full potential, one child at a time. Don't you want to be a part of that promise?

Join an Optimist Club today. Click here to find an Optimist Club in your community or contact me and I will help you get one started.

August 15, 2015

PNW Optimists take on the Rainiers

A little rain didn't deter our crazy PNW Optimists from enjoying a night at the ballpark. Now that is a Real Friend of Youth.

August 8, 2015

BTS: Shop with a Cop

With so many communities struggling to find ways to connect police officers to those they serve and protect in a positive manner, here is a thought. Many Optimist Clubs, among other service clubs and groups, host Shop with a Cop events at Christmas. Why not hold a similar event right now to help children get ready to go back to school?

I would like to take credit for this little brainstorm, but I borrowed the idea from Caldwell, Idaho where the Fraternal Order of Police recently launched its first Back to School Shop with a Cop event. Shopping day will take place on August 14, 2015 and it will be similar to the Christmas event; however, this shopping spree will find the children buying school supplies, backpacks and shoes, among other things that students need throughout the year.

Each participant will receive $200 and the police officers will accompany the young students on their shopping  trips to ensure they are using their money for the intendend purposes. As we Optimist Club members know, given the chance, the children often try to buy for others first before buying for themselves.

Shop with a Cop programs help humanize the police officers and set a positive tone betwen young people and those in authority so that if a child finds himself or herself in trouble, they are able to trust the police.

Why would an Optimist Club be involved in such a program? Because it meets two of the purposes of Optimist International:
  • To inspire respect for law 
  • To aid and encourage the development of youth, in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world
Along with our other two purposes: 
  • To promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people
  • To develop optimism as a philosophy of life, utilizing the tenets of the Optimist Creed
Optimist Clubs are working to bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves; right here, right now.

Photo credit: Canyon County Sheriff's Office

August 6, 2015

To 100 members and beyond!

Another Optimist Club that is on a big wave of additions is the Optimist Club of Lebanon, Oregon. On its Facebook page today, it shared, "Getting so crowded with Optimists that some had to be cool kids and sit in the back."

It went on to explain that the club was only 10 members away from fulfilling a challenge. Club members Jim and Heather McDaniel have promised to donate $25,000 to the Lebanon Skate Park when the club reaches 100 members. At 90, it's close!

lebanon optimist club pnw district optimist

The Lebanon Optimists have already met one challenge this year. By reaching 80 members, the McDaniels gave each member a commemmorative coin designed to celebrate the community. What's more, the Optimist Club, as of this writing, has added 44 new members for a net gain of 30 new members for this year.

lebanon optimist club commemmorative coin

Asked how they do it, the humble-brag is that the Optimist Club is the happ'n'st club in town. They are also optimistic at their meetings. No drama allowed. This club gets together to make a positive change it its community.

I had the wonderful experience of visiting the Lebanon Optimists in June 2015. At that time, the membership was between 80 and 85. At least 50 members were in attendance to share fellowship, learn about community events, and to stand together to recite the Optimist Creed. All of those elements combine to make them a truly outstanding Optimist Club.

That's why I'm sure it will meet its challenge. To 100 members and beyond! Keep going, Lebanon Optimists!

August 3, 2015

Seventy-six and growing

You often hear that membership is waning in service clubs around the globe, especially in the United States. That's not true for the Noon Optimist Club of Rome, Georgia. According to the club president, Charles Graves, the Noon Optimist Club recently held a membership drive and over a two-month period has added 12 new Optimist Club members.

new optimist club members georgia district

Shown in the photo, from left, are Wendy Huckaby, Larry Morrow, Sr., Justin Mitchell, Rodney Bailey, Tim Leonard, Cindy Green Fricks and Ben Simmons. They join 69 other members to make up the largest Optimist Club in the Georgia District.

Like most Optimist Clubs, the Noon Club hosts a number of student appreciation programs including "A Terrific Kid" annual banquet that honors students from each middle school in Rome and Floyd Counties. The club is also active in the district and local scholarship programs. It has been serving its community for 54 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Noon Rome Optimist Club or if you would like to find an Optimist Club near you and get involved, please click on this Optimist Club directory link.

Photo credit: Noon Optimist Club of Rome, GA


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