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Club Activities - Culture and Education

Devoted to the development and improvement of community culture and education standards such as tutoring, mentoring, school bands, orchestras, student exchanges, religious instruction, spelling bees, scholarships and reading projects.

Coralville Noon Optimist Club (40087) – Iowa District
The 25th Annual Good Reader Program
This project was established to recognize students in third and fourth grade who enhanced their reading skills, achieved goals of reading a variety of books, studied and reported on current events, used their creative skills and learned about library usage. In November, the Club contacted media specialists at local schools to discuss the program and determine the number of participants. Materials including posters, buttons and membership cards were distributed. There were three activities included in the program: talk with someone about a book, design a bookmark advertising the program, and bring in two articles about a current topic discussed in class. Students had six weeks to reach one of the program’s three award levels. Award level 1 required students to read one book and complete one of the activities. Award level 2 required students to read three books and complete all of the activities. Award level 3 required students to read nine books and complete all of the activities. Students were presented with awards for completing the requirements of each level. The Good Reader program has grown to include 21 schools and 2,300 students.

Project Contact: Mary Larew
1253 Dolen Place
Iowa City, IA 52246
(319) 337-2264

Colorado-Wyoming District (28 Clubs)
2004-2005 Optimist Brain Bowl
This project was conducted to provide a competitive outlet for middle school children with academic interests and the format is similar to the old GE College Bowl. There are three competitions held at the same time: one for sixth-graders, one for seventh-graders and one for eighth-graders. Teams of up to five players with one alternate compete in one written round and at least three verbal rounds in a test of general knowledge. The top eight teams, based on total points scored, go on to compete in the verbal, single-elimination rounds later in the day. Ultimately, the top two teams in each grade level compete in a championship verbal round at the end of the day. The teams came from 46 different schools in 32 cities in Colorado and Wyoming.

Project Contact: Paul Bernard
11495 E Cimmarron Drive
Englewood, CO 80111
(303) 721-0811

Optimist Club of Vancouver (32185) - Pacific Northwest District
The Optimist Youth Camp
The Club owns 43 acres of land and it is an ongoing project to maintain the camp in the most natural state possible while making improvements that enhance the use of it. The goal is to make the camp available at no charge to groups of young people for campouts, environmental studies, day camps and nature studies. The camp is often used by youth who wish to plan, implement and earn their Gold Award (Girl Scouts) or Eagle Scout level (Boy Scouts). This project allows every Club Member to be involved – either in physical work on the grounds, fundraising, scheduling events, planning new projects or participating in the numerous other responsibilities.

Project Contact: Sandi Fisher
280 S. 15th Ct.
P.O. Box 119
Ridgefield, WA 98642
(360) 887-4293

Optimist Club of Sierra Vista (31110) - Arizona District
A Book of My Own
The Club saw a need to provide books to elementary school readers to help them appreciate reading and improve their reading skills. Members placed bins at prearranged drop-off points. Flyers were made and posted in the community to increase donations. Ads were run in the newspaper and a public service announcement was broadcast on local radio stations. Books were picked up, sorted and repaired before being dropped off at area schools. All books were labeled with a sticker that stated the Sierra Vista Optimist Club had provided them. Book donations far exceeded the Club’s anticipations and some books were put into storage for next year’s program.

Project Contact: Barbara Schirmer
2713 Pawnee Drive
Sierra Vista, AZ 85650
(520) 378-1062

Project Contact: Mary Watts
500 Suffolk Drive
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635
(520) 459-2711

South Central Texas District (20 Clubs)
Gold Youth Leadership Seminar
The GOLD seminar provides motivation and education for high school sophomores who have exhibited outstanding leadership qualities. It is also designed to promote an understanding and appreciation of America’s economic system, democratic freedoms and volunteerism. In September, registration packets are mailed to all public and private high school principals. These are followed by a personal letter asking school counselors and principals for their help and support in selecting one outstanding student. Business leaders, educators and professionals are contacted and asked to be speakers. Optimist Clubs and other not-for-profit organizations are asked to sponsor one or more of the students. The seminar provides a forum for discussion between students and community leaders. The 3 1/2 day activity motivates students and creates a positive self-image, which gives them an opportunity to provide a positive influence in their schools and communities.

Project Contact: Bloyce Britton
1141 N. Loop 1604 E, #400
San Antonio, TX 78232
(210) 497-6688

Optimist Club of Virginia Beach (16149) - Capital–Virginia District
Read To Me
Teachers tell us that children should be read to while learning to read. Children need stories to stimulate their imaginations, and they need the benefit of positive encounters with adults. Sharing a story establishes a bond within generations. The Virginia Beach Optimist Club provides reading volunteers to elementary schools in the community. Individual Members arrange their own reading schedules with school principals or day care center directors. Reading materials utilized are based on agreements reached between Members and educators.

Project Contact: Carrollyn Cox
101 N. Lynnhaven Road, Ste. 105
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
(757) 486-4650 (work)
(757) 486-2435 (home)

MDSD District (6 Clubs) - Multiple Club Project
Shop With a Cop
Program paired 98 local police officers with 98 juveniles for a day of holiday shopping. Cops picked up kids and took them to Wal-Mart stores in the local community, where local Optimists greeted them. Optimists and corporate sponsors provided shopping money, and all volunteers and participants were treated to a pancake breakfast at Outback Steakhouse after shopping. After the meal, police officers escorted the youngsters home.

PowerPoint presentation and project narrative are available for Clubs to request.

Project Contact: William (Bill) Leizear
9519 Powderhorn Lane
Baltimore, MD 21123
(410) 661-0810
Fax: (410) 661-0910

Nebraska District (34 Clubs) - Multiple Club CPA entry
Academic Decathlon
The Decathlon is a means for students at all academic levels to pursue quality educational opportunities. Students are encouraged to understand the importance of cooperation. Letters were sent to all accredited high schools encouraging participation. Eight regional competitions were established with schools of similar size. A large school division and a small school division were held at the State Final Contest. Approximately 280 gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to individual team members in 10 events. Also, nine regular team members of the first-, second- and third-place teams in both the large and small school divisions earned scholarships. The state champion competed in the National Final contest and placed 13th in their division.

Project Contact: Rhonda Wiebers
11512 Maass Road #107
Bellevue, NE 68123
(402) 293-4710

Noontime Optimist Club of Freehold (27033) - New Jersey/Lower New York District
Scholarship Program
The Club established four categories of scholarships (Youth of the Year, Community Service, Special Education and Tools of the Trade) and awarded them at their annual scholarship luncheon program. The scholarships were initiated not only to recognize the best and the brightest, but also to honor the graduates who were community minded, physically challenged and also those who are entering the work force. For the Youth of the Year, two students (one boy and one girl) are selected from each school and invited to a special luncheon to give a three-minute talk about themselves. Members voted on the candidate they felt most met the Club’s criteria. Applications are sent to guidance counselors for the Community Service, Special Education and Tools of the Trade scholarships. The Club reviewed the applications and contacted the winners. The monetary awards help ease the burden of books and supplies. The program fosters self-esteem and acknowledges achievements.

Project Contact: Carole D. Robinson
2 Saratoga Place
Freehold, NJ 07728
(732) 431-3989

Optimist Club of Ocean City - Berlin (33211) - Maryland – South Delaware District
High School Art Exhibit
The purpose of this project was to encourage the arts and provide recognition to talented students. Three high schools were asked to participate in the exhibit. Students’ work was accepted in two categories: Painting (including oil, acrylic or watercolor) and drawing (including charcoal, graphite or pastels). Each school was allowed to submit 18 entries with one entry per student in either category. A local art gallery provided space for the exhibit for three days. The judges were two college art professors and one art professional. First prize in each category was $500, second prize was $300 and third place was $200. Four honorable mentions were also recognized with award ribbons. Award checks were presented at the Club’s monthly dinner meeting and parents and teachers were invited. The Club was recognized as strong youth supporters among parents, local artists and school officials.

Project Contact: Ralph Green
907 Walbash St.
Salisbury, MD 21804
(410) 341-4424

University Optimist Club (21022) - Georgia District
Fourth Street Reading Buddies
Members of the University Optimist Club coordinated a schedule with the media specialist at their local elementary school (Fourth Street Elementary) to read with the first- and second-graders who needed help developing their reading skills. The program involved 30 minutes a week. Three teams of three or four Optimists took turns once a month to read with one or two children each. Teachers chose up to 12 children to participate. The children were given extra attention, encouragement and support. The Club encouraged non-Members to participate and worked with a University of Georgia student majoring in elementary education. At Christmas and the end of the school year, the Club purchased books for the children from a list of recommended books supplied by the media specialist.

Project Contact: Janet Rodekohr
206 Meadow Creek Drive
Athens, GA 30605
(706) 549-8415

Other Club Activities
Childhood Cancer
Community Improvement
Health and Welfare
Joint Projects with a JOOI Club or Youth Organization
Sports and Recreation
Youth Appreciation