Stories of Optimism

Dozens of Students Honored at Youth Appreciation Luncheon
December 6, 2012

When an Optimist service project has been held annually for 34 years, you can assume that the clubs involved have experienced significant success. The Des Moines Metro Area Optimists Youth Appreciation Celebration, first held in 1978, is organized by four Optimist clubs in the Des Moines, Iowa, area in November each year.  The clubs deserve to be recognized by name: Des Moines, Des Moines-Western Noon, Ankeny and Urbandale. Each club plays an important part in coordinating for each of the participating 33 schools to select and send one girl and one boy to the luncheon.

The children are selected by their respective middle and high schools to represent themselves and their school. They qualify based on their overall community service activities and involvement.  During the Youth Appreciation luncheon, the children are recognized in front of 170-180 attendees including friends, family members, school faculty and Optimists. The Optimists present each child with a certificate to commemorate their achievement.

Des Moines area students recognized at Youth Appreciation Week Celebration

In addition to the support of the Optimists in each Des Moines-area club, the event is supported with major financial backing by Bankers Trust.  The Wells Fargo Foundation also made a contribution for the luncheon to the Des Moines Optimist Club.

According to one of the event organizers, Tom Lloyd, the Youth Appreciation luncheon is the signature event for the Optimists in the Des Moines area.  All of the Optimist clubs in the area are involved and the effect on the youth of Des Moines is significant: “I have held that by having a positive influence on a person early in his or her life, there won't be as much of a need to ‘fix’ them as an adult,” says Lloyd.  “Being a member of Optimist International has allowed me many opportunities to fulfill just that.”

This is yet another example of the profound impact Optimists can have on a community when they partner together to show their commitment to bringing out the best in kids.   For more information on Optimist International’s Youth Appreciation programs, click here.


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