The Southside Optimist Club of Fort Wayne, recently held its annual Christmas Awards Banquet. The Club celebrated the wonderful year of “Bringing out the BEST in our KIDS” and honored a member the Optimist of the Year.
The club was founded in 1956, focusing from that time until this day entirely on bettering children’s lives, and showing them the power of optimism through our interactions. The Club members are a part of a worldwide volunteer organization of Optimist International, always volunteering for the various committees to help our kids.
The Club hosts an Oratorical/Essay contest for boys and girls, coordinate the TriStar Basketball program for the local Boys and Girls Club with 50-60 kids participating in 3 basketball drills. The last 4 years sponsored a Little League baseball team at the Elmhurst Park and delivered over 2,500 dictionaries to the 3rd graders in the Fort Wayne/New Haven school districts. Along with these activities the Club sponsors over 20 various charities and organizations with a combined total of $10,000.00.
To provide this generosity, the Club volunteers their time to work the annual Johnny Appleseed Festival, serving 5,670 bowls of ham and beans, 5,370 pieces/slices of cornbread and over 3,500 bottles of water and cups of lemonade.
While attending the 2014 Optimist International Convention in Las Vegas in July, the Club was the first place winner in the Reel Optimism Video Contest which paid $1,000 for our Club to disperse to various organizations of our choosing. The Southside Optimist Club is a functioning/giving organization and in so many ways we have touched the lives of thousands of children. “Bringing out the BEST in our KIDS”.
The Christmas Awards Banquet continued our tradition of sponsoring a Christmas Family, honoring a Barry Shaw Star Award winner, inducting New Members, induction of 2014-2015 officers and the announcement of the Optimist of the Year.
Our Club matched the money it raised by holding a white elephant auction, for our Christmas family and was able to present Mr. and Mrs. Lee Bracey, from the Woodburn Christian Children’s Home, with a check for $1,000.
Matthew Deverell from Leo High School was the special young man receiving the Barry Shaw Star Award of $1,000 to go towards school tuition or a donation in the recipient’s name to an established local non-profit organization of his choice.
Inducting new members; Karen Perkins, Loretta Loy and John Heingartner helps give the Club new ideas in better serving our Kids.
Our Club has 36 very dedicated and committed members, to support and inspire our 2014-2015 officers: Jon Perkins-President; Ron Perkins-Vice President; Barbara Lambert-Secretary; and Jim Lambert-Treasurer. Our District Lt. Governor Steve Paske preformed the Induction ceremony.
One of the Clubs most prestigious awards is the Optimist of the Year Award. This award represents the respect and admiration earned from the fellow members, which means you play an important part in shaping and molding this club by example. This year’s recipient was Ron Perkins. Ron has been a member for 23 years, sponsored 5 new members, and held 3 Executive offices including being President 3 times. The Club has been honoring a member every year since 1982.
The Club was honored to have Mr. Brad Shank of the Fort Wayne Tincaps, as our guest speaker. Brad is the Vice President in Ticket Sales and responsible for the field promotions.
Musical entertainment was provided by Rob Greene and Cai Caudill of the Secret Messanine.
As you can see the Southside Optimist Club has been SHARING OPTIMISM ALL YEAR. We provided hope and positive vision, worked hard to make the future brighter to bring out the best in children, in our community, and in ourselves. Our Club would LOVE to have you visit us, at 7A.M. any Tuesday morning at the Waynewood Inn, to see how dedicated and committed the members are. You might even “CATCH THE OPTIMISM WE SHARE!” If you would like to hear more about our Optimist Club, call Ron Perkins at 747-6186 or Jim Lambert at 747-7907.
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