Originally published in the Around Town Magazine in May of 2008.
The Optimist Club of Vacaville cares about kids. The Club’s motto is “Optimists—Bringing out the best in Kids”. The Club’s mission statement explains the purpose of an Optimist Club: “By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids.” Optimist Club members gain the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of kids as well as serving their community. The Optimist Club of Vacaville, chartered in 1996, is part of Optimist International, an international service club organization founded in 1911.
Today, Optimist International has grown to 3,200 Optimist Clubs and over 100,000 members. Optimist Clubs help youth in the United States, Canada, nations of the Caribbean and other countries throughout the world. In our local region, Optimist Clubs are located in Napa, Concord, Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco as well as Vacaville. The Vacaville Optimist Club is in the Optimist International Pacific Central District, which includes 52 Optimist Clubs.
What do Optimist Club members do? Each Optimist Club is an autonomous volunteer Club, and Vacaville Optimists strive to recognizes community needs in Vacaville and react to those needs. Because the club is run by local members, members have a unique flexibility to select a broad range of projects particularly serving youth in Vacaville.
Christmas is a busy time for the Vacaville Optimist Club. Members have designed and decorated a Christmas tree for the Vacaville Festival of Trees for the past four years. The Optimist “Bee Movie” Christmas tree won the 2007 Festival’s “People’s Choice” award for the most popular miniature tree. In previous years Optimists have taken on the role of Santa and his elves and passed out presents to kids at Opportunity House.
High school students may recognize the Optimist Club from their annual scholarship opportunities. The winner of the Optimist District Essay Contest receives a $650 college scholarship and advances to the Optimist International Essay Contest offering a $6,000 college scholarship. The winners of this year’s Vacaville Optimist Club Essay Contest (offering prize medallions) are 1st Place: Emily Nelson, Vacaville High School; 2ndPlace: Jillian Loustaunau, Vacaville High School; and 3rd Place: Kayla Denman, Will C. Wood High School.
The annual Optimist Oratorical Contest allows kids to gain experience in public speaking and inspires today’s youth to motivate others through the art of public speaking. Young speakers from Optimist Clubs throughout Northern California compete in the Optimist District Oratorical Contest finals—a unique learning experience. The best boy and best girl speaker in the contest finals are each awarded a$1,500 college scholarship.
Optimist Club members have joined the fight against childhood cancer. Partnering with the Solano Children’s Cancer Foundation, Optimists provided volunteers at the Foundation’s monthly meetings to conduct art projects with kids while parents met with a counselor.
In February 2008, The Optimists organized a “Curing Cancer with Comedy” fundraiser and donated$2,000 to the Solano Children’s Cancer Foundation.
The Vacaville Optimist Club is always looking for new members to help meet the needs of children in Vacaville and to put into action our Optimistic philosophy: “to think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best”.
If you would like to be an Optimist-please call Dick Brownell (707) 451-9674.
All inquiries are encouraged and welcomed.