“iMagining a New Club Project in your Community”*
Serving our Community and Engaging our Members
[*The listing of projects is in no particular order]
1. Shop with a Cop: This is a club program aimed at under privileged children who might not have the type of Christmas that you and I enjoy and helps to connect the children and police officers one on one in a positive way. This is a guide to help you plan this program, below are the steps
you will need to take to see if your club would like to do this.
A. The first step is to contact your local police department to see if you can get them
on board with the program because without them you cannot even start.
B. Money. The club will need to raise money for this event. There are several methods to raising money and your club may already have the funds for this however here are just a few ideas
that have worked in the past.
(i) Send out letters to local business and ask them to sponsor a child and don’t be afraid to put a dollar amount we usually ask for $100.00 per child so they know what each child gets to spend.
(ii) Raffles such as 50/50 or some other raffle
(iii) Quarter Auctions this is where your club members can work at a quarter auction
to earn funds for your group (this can be explained in more detail)
(iv) Bull Roast, Dance, Crab Feast, Bingo, Etc. there are many ways to raise money.
C. The Children. Unfortunately we can always find the children for this program, however the best way is to reach out the local schools and ask the guidance counselors who they would recommend they have a good idea of the children who are in need of this kind of program.
D. Walmart has always been very happy to help us with this program and has even helped with a club grant (Which you apply for threw their website). But if you don’t have a Walmart any store that is similar will work, Be sure to contact the store manger to let them know of your plans for the event they may be willing to help you once you explain the project to them.
E. Restaurant, Outback Steak House has been very happy to serve lunch or breakfast to the children and officers while the club members wrap the gifts that the children bought for their family members. But if you have a local restaurant or VFW, American Legion hall that is willing to DONATE the food and space you need then buy all means use them.
F. Volunteers, You will need the club members and outside volunteers to help on the day of the event, at the store you will need about 6-8 members there to help give out the gift cards to the officers and if you are providing coffee and juice for them you will need help with that, you will also need to have baggers at the checkout line to assist the cashiers. At the restaurant we will wrap the gifts for the children while they eat so depending on the amount of kids you have you will need 1 volunteer for every 2-4 children or more depending on the person so if you can get between 15 to 20 people to help out on the day of the event you can make it work.
G. CHAIRPERSON you need 1 person to be the chair and to coordinate this event,
but they will need HELP from everyone.
H. Gift Wrap Chairperson you will need someone to head this part up, they are responsible for getting together the supplies needed for the wrapping. (donations from places like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Kmart etc.)
Contact: MDSD District, David Bowman Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Spelling Bee: Optimist Club of Naples
It is a co-joint with Collier County public Schools and is held at the school board District Board Room and is live broadcasted. It takes about 2-3 hours to go through all the contestants. At the conclusion we pay for the winner and a parent’s airfare, hotel stay and meals for five days to Washington, SD for the national competition. Cost: $5,000
Contact: John Dina Email: email@example.com
3. Downtowners Regina Optimist Band Festival: A Multi day, musical education program – 130 Bands, 7000 musicians, mostly school students. Bands perform on Main stage at our Premier Arts Facility, receive clinic time and adjudicated by Top clinicians/musical educators in North America. Financial partnership with Saskatchewan Band Association, Technical partnership with St. John’s Music, educational partnership with local music educators, headed by Department Head - Music, U of R. Bands from all over province and neighbouring provinces/states. $80,000 annual project, very little cost to club. NOTE: This successful project has been going on for 35 years.
(Start the project small and watch it grow.)
4. Sensory Movie Night: Wapakoneta Noon Optimists, Ohio
Movie night for special needs students and their family members
Contact: Connie Krites c/o Sue Armstrong Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Prom for Special Needs Students: Bazetta Cortland Optimist Club, Ohio
Contact: Mike Popadak and David Kelm c/o Sue Armstrong Email: email@example.com
6. Fishing Derby for Special Needs Students:
Fairfield Optimist Club and Hamilton Optimist Club, Ohio
Contact: Jim Elder of Fairfield Optimist Club c/o Sue Armstrong Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Sleeping Mats for the Homeless: Paragon Optimist Club of Fairfield, Ohio
They crocheted sleeping mats using plastic grocery bags that were cut into strips to make the plastic “yarn” to crochet. Several of these were made and donated to a homeless shelter.
Contact: Andrea Rensing c/o Sue Armstrong Email: email@example.com
8. Police Are My Heroes Poster Contest: Austintown Optimists, Ohio
Contact: Pete Gabriel and William “Bill” Sulenski
c/o Sue Armstrong Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Creating Pet Toys: Greenemont Voices Optimist Club, Ohio Making pet toys for dogs and cats at local pet adoption facility. This is an adult special needs Optimist club. We had a speaker from SICSA to tell them about what they do and how a small group like ours might help. They needed some pet toys made for the animals they have until they are adopted. We worked with the special needs adults to teach and assist them with making simple cat toys and dog toys.
Contact person: Jennifer Kendo Email: email@example.com
10. Optimist Kids Day in the Park: Sponsored by both Kettering Dor-Wood & Kettering Noon Optimist Club, Ohio (other area clubs are invited to participate and provide an activities for kids). This is a free event for families and we work with the local city park department to reserve Delco Park for the event. Activities are stationed around the park for the kids to do, plus a free lunch is provided. Adult clubs, a college club, special needs adult club, and Ohio JOI students provide activities. Police Dept. has officers there to see and police car for kids to see and sit in. Fire Dept. brings a fire truck. The city’s Safety Dept. provides bicycle helmets for children. Contact: Sue Armstrong Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Kite Day Activity: Greene Optimist Club, Ohio Children decorate a kite provided and have fun flying it. Club members put the kites together for the children and colored markers are provided if they want to decorate their kite before flying it. Contact: Craig Kigar and/or Rob Fortman c/o Sue Armstrong Email: email@example.com
12. Adult Easter Egg Hunt: Brookville Optimist Club, Ohio
Contact: Roger Hoover Sue Armstrong Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
13. Safety City: Lima Optimists, Ohio They have a park with their club house and multiple building that make up Safety City and they work with their Lima Police Dept. and Lima Fire Dept. to provide a Safety Academy for children ages 5-9 during the June and July with multiple sessions available for families to register their children to attend. It’s a pretty impressive site utilized by their community
Contact: Susan Fantz c/o Sue Armstrong Email: email@example.com
14. Safety Village: Dor-Wood Optimists, Ohio They have a small village and materials they set up and provide pedestrian safety training classes for children who will enter Kindergarten at the start of the upcoming school year. The sessions are available during the summer. They work with the Kettering City Police and Safety Dept. to provide the trading classes and activity. Optimist volunteers have been providing Safety Village for over forty years. Contacts: Mike McGrew, Tom Kendo, Jerry Barnett, Bryan McCormick Email: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
15. Girl Power: Kettering Noon Optimist Club, Ohio This is a project done by a ladies’ Optimist club. It’s an evening where we provide self-esteem building activities for fifth grade girls. WE go to a different elementary school in our community each year. We provide dinner (usually walking tacos, apples, and water), then they go to activities in the gym (dancing, human knot, minute to win it challenges, etc. this may vary yearly), then they go back to the cafeteria and have several stations to go thru with activities. The girls are divided into small groups to rotate through each of the stations: journal decorating (markers, stickers, colored tape are provided); journal writing—positive words that utilize letters of their name are used and other prompts are suggested; necklace making, nail polish station, and a craft station or bead bracelet station. After all station activities are completed by all the girls, we end the evening making ice cream sundaes for them. Parents pick them up to go home and we cleanup. Contact: Peg Engelhardt c/o Sue Armstrong Email: email@example.com
16. Divas’ Day Out fundraiser Event: Kettering Noon Optimist Club, Ohio Brunch event with a few vendors for ladies to be able to shop, several raffle baskets, split the pot/50-50 raffle, entertainment, and more. We do this event each year in February and have a different theme each year for our decorations, etc. It’s promoted by club members in the community and our members sell tickets to friends, family, co-workers. The event has grown from 200 attendees to close to 300 the past few years. Sue Armstrong, Secretary Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
17. Shoes that Fit: East Dayton Optimists, Ohio AND Optimist Shoes for Kids: Kettering Noon Optimists, Ohio This project is done by more than one club in the district. They provide shoes and socks for kindergarten students at an elementary school. East Dayton Optimist Club and Kettering Noon Optimist Club both do this. A good contact person would be Sue Labatzky. She is a member in both clubs. She chairs the event for East Dayton and helped Kettering Noon start the project and Debbie Howdeshelt is the chair for Kettering Noon.
Contact: Sue Armstrong Email: email@example.com
18. Battle Buddies: Palmetto Optimist Club, South Carolina Battle Buddies is a children’s obstacle course that combines the physical fitness aspect of the Health and Wellness program with the Respect for Law program. Local law enforcement (Police, Sheriff, Fire, Military) assist the kids through the obstacle course as a metaphor for how law enforcement can assist people through the obstacles in life while also allowing kids to enjoy fitness. The first annual event was small with approximately 40 children in attendance. The first annual event in 2019 hosted approximately 800 people. Each year, the event grows in popularity and size. This project is fully detailed and written out in a booklet form. For more information, Contact: Bonnie Jean Sherbert Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
19. Once a month reading to children at the local Library for each month in a year. If able, the club could donate some books to the library.
20. Hold a bicycle workshop in the Spring working with the local police department and teaching children how to use arm signals when biking along with proper street etiquette. If able, have members who are able to check the bicycles for safety and fix them, if needed. If able, donate some bicycle helmets to the children. Tricycles can also be included for the younger children to pedal around an obstacle course. Get little signs that say Stop and teach the younger children what the sign means. At an intersection in the obstacle course, the children must stop; look both ways, before pedaling on.
21. Make blankets for children to be given to homeless shelters or local food shelf.
22. Get involved with your City and Community to raise money and make an outside ice rink.
23. Get together with a business and have lawn signs with club name and optimist logo made and give one to every member in town. This is a great way to let your community know that you are there.
24. In the Community work with the City, Police Dept, Fire Dept, etc. and have an event where your Club has fire trucks, police cars, garbage trucks, power line trucks with the buckets that go into the air, an ambulance, a vintage car, a motorcycle, a horse drawn wagon, a tractor, or anything that moves. It is at this event where children and their parents get to touch the vehicle(s) and sit in them. In addition, there is popcorn popping (donated), along with water (donated) and ice cream sundaes (donated) for the children and parents. All is free to the public. A donation box could be placed near the food.
25. Look for people that no one ever thinks about serving. - A good example would be to give gift baskets to nurses who work in the children’s wing at a hospital at any holiday time (Christmas, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving, etc). Everyone is eager to do something for the kids and their family but no one ever does anything for the doctors, nurses and staff of the hospital. Even though this is a small task, it may have a huge impact. Other people that are often overlooked would be trash collectors,
employees of a store. You can find forgotten people everywhere.
iMagine the endless array of projects and/or programs you could do in your Community.
Put the Projects into action and start your legacy.
YOUR CLUB can make a difference in your Community!