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Winter 2014 • 19 18 • The Optimist

Training, Fellowship and FUN IN THE SUN

The Mainland Optimist Club of Texas City recently welcomed three new JOOI Clubs. 

With the Cougar Octagon Optimist Club at the high school, the Cougar Junior Optimist Club at the middle school and the Cougar Alpha Club at the elementary school, the La Marque Independent School District now has a JOOI Club in every school.

“The Mainland Optimist Club is committed to our Junior Optimist Clubs,” said Club President Terry Pettijohn. “These Clubs will provide support and encouragement to La Marque students as they grow in self-confdence, character and Optimism to become great citizens.”

The response by students has been enthusiastic with over 120 Members already signed up and more joining every day. This is not surprising since today’s youth are eager to volunteer. A survey of US youth by the Corporation

for National and Community Service found that 55 percent of young people ages 12 to 18 volunteer each year.

The La Marque Independent School District serves about 2,500 students, the majority of whom are economically disadvantaged. The Mainland Optimist Club in the South Texas District, formed in 2010, boasts three Members who are on the La Marque School Board, including President Pettijohn.

For information on building a JOOI Club in your area, contact the Youth Clubs department at 800-500-8130 or youthclubs@optimist.org.

The Junior Optimist Club Advisors at El Descanso Elementary School are fourth and ffth grade teachers, Violet and Gregg Adams. A person can hear and feel the warmth and respect between the advisors and students, as well as from student to student. The advisors give the youth numerous opportunities to work together, experience and demonstrate kindness, thoughtfulness to others, compassion and respect.

“The very best stories are of how our Club kids have shifted from being selfsh to selfess. One story is of a boy we had last year. He came into fourth grade feeling as if everything was about him,” said Violet. “He really embraced the idea behind our Club and by the end of the year, he changed from being one of the most selfsh to the most giving kid out of all 66 students! Our Club allows the kids to take our idea of being more selfess and put it to practical use to help the school and local community.”

Their Club is comprised of a signifcant population of children from low-income families. Gregg and Violet make no excuses

for any of the students. Everyone is expected to work hard academically and do his or her best. They are all expected to participate in activities, share in responsibilities and be respectful to everyone. The delivery of expectations and any disciplinary discussions are done with frmness and conviction, yet deep respect for every child.

The El Descanso Alpha Club is

actively involved on their campus and also participates in many projects for their sponsoring adult Optimist Club. These students are learning valuable lessons about character that will beneft them throughout their lives.

JOOI Grows in Texas

Youth Club

Develops Character & Caring

By William McGarvey, Secretary of Mainland Optimist Club of Texas City, TX

By Joyce Amer, Member of the Optimist Club of Camarillo-Noontime, PSW District

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