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Internet Safety Program in Action
The goal of Optimist Clubs has always been to help children, and the Internet Safety program gives Members a new opportunity to continue to serve children in their local communities. The number of children abducted by strangers they meet online continues to grow. Safety guidelines and products are helpful but do not take the place of parents or concerned adults talking openly to children about everything they may experience online.
Many Optimist Members have dedicated their efforts to this program and are working diligently to educate the children and adults in their communities. Their accomplishments and commitment are yet another example of why it is a great time to be an Optimist!

Steven Awakuni, 2009-2010 Pacific Southeast District Internet Safety Chair
The City and County of Los Angeles and the city of Gardenia, California, have proclaimed April as the official Optimist Internet Safety Month.

A police officer from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was invited to speak at their last quarterly meeting. The District has decided to combine the Internet Safety program and Respect for Law by honoring the 12 officers in the Los Angeles ICAC Task Force.

Bob Schiller, 2009-2010 Michigan District Internet Safety Chair and Member of the International Programs Committee
Bob presented the Faux Paw program to the West Bloomfield Township Supervisor in Michigan. The township has officially proclaimed April as Optimist International Internet Safety Month. The proclamation was made at the township board meeting, which is broadcast to all residents of West Bloomfield.

The township board asked Bob to work with the local cable provider to develop a broadcast of the Faux Paw and Adult Education Internet Safety program presentations. The cable company will be sharing the broadcasting tape with all of their sister community cable companies. A link will also be placed on the township website for residents to learn more about Optimist efforts.

Terry Pendleton, 2009-2010 North Florida District Internet Safety Chair
The Faux Paw Internet Safety program was approved for use in the Pinellas County School District and will be added to the restricted website for teachers. Terry reports that next year, internet safety will be taught extensively in the Pinellas County School District. He has even been invited to give an overview of the Faux Paw program at a technical educators seminar.

Claire Labreche, Member of the 2009-2010 International Board of Directors
Claire has made a presentation to one school board and is already hard at work planning another one in Montreal. She intends to visit many of the local school boards to encourage them to endorse the program. Claire has also made several presentations to interested Optimist Members, including two day-long sessions at the Canadian Service Centre.

Does your Club or District have an Internet Safety story to share? Please send your story and photos to programs@optimist.org. Submissions may be posted on the Optimist website or utilized in future publications.

If you haven’t gotten started with the program, now is the time to learn more! It all starts with a Club requesting the program packet and taking the initiative to approach a youth or adult group in the community to discuss scheduling a presentation to share this vital information. If your Club would like to get involved, please contact the Programs Department at (800) 500-8130 or via e-mail at programs@optimist.org.