March United Way Volunteer Spotlight: Wisconsin Rapids Optimist Club
For the City Times
Submitted by Angela Loucks, Volunteer Center Director
Looking for a civic organization to become a part of? With a name like “The Optimists Club” you know this will be a positive and fun group!
This hidden gem has been helping local youth for over 30 years with fundraising events that support programs such as the Wisconsin Rapids Safety Patrols, the Caring Closet, Samoset Council Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes and Optimist’s own Dictionary Project, which distributes free dictionaries to all third grade students at area schools.
The Optimists also support college scholarships, a summer ice skating event, Children’s Community Theatre, Rapids Family Backpacks and help WRPS/PIER students attend Sam’s Blu Play Sunday.
Optimist International is one of the largest service club organizations in the world. Their motto is “Friend of Youth.” Membership in the club represents a cross section of the business, social and cultural life of the community and consists of adults of good character and community standing who reside or have community interest in the Wisconsin Rapids area.
Members of the Optimist Club obviously care a lot about local youth. “I volunteer because of the positive activities the club does for and with our youth in our area,” said Secretary/Treasurer Debra Jaborek.
“I think it’s important to show kids what it means to be actively participating in the community,” said President Chelsie Thuecks, “and this group gives me the chance to do just that!”
Board member Raquel Nowak added, “I volunteer to aid and encourage the development of youth while making a positive impact on their lives today and tomorrow.”
To get involved, simply attend one of the meetings! Or if you need more information you can contact a current member through Facebook (search for “Optimist Club of Wisconsin Rapids”) or contact the Club President Chelsie Thuecks at 715-323-3904 or[email protected].
But as the saying goes, volunteers typically get more than they give! “It gives me a great feeling of satisfaction that I am helping to make a positive impact on our youth for the betterment of the community,” said board member Richard Weymouth. And member Kelly Schaeffer put it simply: “A positive outlook can go a long way!”
· Name: Wisconsin Rapids Optimist Club
· Meeting Times and locations: The club meets the first and third Thursday of the month from 7am to 8am. The first Thursday is held at Grace’s Family Restaurant at 1371 8th Street So. Wisconsin Rapids. The third Thursday of the month is held at the Grand Avenue Tavern at the Hotel Mead located at 451 East Grand Avenue, Wisconsin Rapids. The club encourages guest speakers to attend and talk about areas where they can help local youth.
· When Started: September 24,1981
· How many members: 20 to 25
· Ages of members: 30 to 60 years of age.
· Activities: Roadside Clean-Up, Children’s Festival, Charity Golf Outing, Corvettes of the North Car Cruise, Neighborhood Table, Optimist Essay Competition, Dictionary Project.