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Winter 2014 • 25 24 • The Optimist

hen my wife was in the hospital in Branson, we met a friendly nurse named Beth, who often spoke with us. Her daughter, Amy Junge was working to earn money to attend a special training session. After completing the training, Amy would become an advocate for girls and young women rescued from sex slave traffcking.

My wife and I felt that our

Club, the Optimist Club of Branson might be able to help with fundraising. The number of people that would be affected by this 18-year-old young lady could make a difference too many. My wife and I spoke with Amy to learn about what her training would entail and how it would impact the world.

I shared this idea with our Club and it was decided that we would help by hosting a meal fundraiser. We held a pancake breakfast at a local Applebee’s restaurant. Amy and her friends helped serve and clean up. The proceeds were given to Amy to help fund her education.

In January, Amy began her education in Australia. We received a letter from her and she is now stationed in a remote village outside of Papua New Guinea. She said the only way to get there was by boat. Most of the residents had never been outside their village. They had no idea about things we often take for granted, including roads, maps, mirrors and doctors. Amy’s group traveled with a dentist who was providing exams and helping with dental hygiene.

Part of the specialized training Amy received was to travel to a third world country to educate parents on what happens to their daughters when traffckers offer to purchase them and give them a better life. This was the frst task she had to

accomplish in the feld. Amy said she was very grateful to our Club for supporting her in this endeavor. She was enjoying her work and sharing the outside world with the residents of this remote village. She was having a meaningful experience, making

friends with many of the young children and their parents.

After Amy completes her training, she will return to the Ozarks to help rescued girls and young women return to productive lives. She will teach them to live without fear and to realize they can be valuable assets to their communities. Another important aspect of her work will be helping these young women rebuild their self-esteem.

We are very proud of Amy and her work. No matter where this endeavor takes her, she will be bringing out the best in young people. Our Club is pleased we were able to play a role in this wonderful ef fort.

The recently completed year was very rewarding for my wife, Patty, and me in spite of missing some of our key goals. We spent our time traversing the great state of Iowa, while visiting 51 of the 67 Clubs. We were guests as many as three times at some Clubs and found ourselves reenergized after each visit. It was very rewarding to see the great variety of activities that were being done to “bring out the best in kids” and to help those suffering from cancer.

Our Childhood Cancer Campaign was the US District fundraising leader through the Optimist Foundation, with such great efforts as Davenport’s $5,500 at their spaghetti dinner and the “Miles of Pennies” campaigns in Kalona and Greenfeld that raised approximately $2,500 each. Many other Clubs held fundraisers that added to the approximate total of $20,000. This campaign renewed my strong faith in the big hearts of Iowa Optimists.

We were pleased with the great Youth Appreciation activities conducted throughout the District. We felt

privileged to be invited to Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Carter Lake to witness these programs. I must apologize to other Clubs who also had great Youth Appreciation programs that we were unable to attend.

We were also very happy to be present at Respect for Law functions in Greenfeld, Des Moines, Lemars and Maquoketa, which made us extra appreciative of all who work to protect us in law enforcement.

Patty and I enjoyed having the

opportunity to attend our frst International JOOI Convention in Cincinnati, just prior to the adult convention. We came away with an even stronger belief that our future is in good hands, after seeing the type of leadership exhibited by the international youth involved in our JOOI program.

I can emphatically assure anyone who is given the opportunity to serve as Governor of their Optimist District that they will gain so much more from the experience than they will expend in energy. If you embrace everything that comes along during your year as Governor, you will truly be fulflled.

Stories of Optimism

Rewards of Being Governor

By Dave Mason, Immediate Past Governor of the Iowa District

Serving Many by Helping One

By Carl Hoglund, Past District Governor, West Missouri District

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“We are very proud of Amy and her work. No matter where this endeavor takes her, she will be bringing out the best in young people. Our Club is pleased we were able to play a role in this wonderful effort.”

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