by April Givens
There is so much excitement coming from Northridge High School’s Junior Optimist Club, a group of high school students that strive to make their community a better place. This junior club is sponsored by the adult Optimist Club in Middlebury. These adults help the students to understand the importance of community service and it has been very successful! “These students are an amazing group of kids. They are so organized, and they get the job done!” said George Pietrzak, Optimist overseer of the Junior Optimist group.
The purposes of the Optimist Club is to develop optimism as a philosophy of life utilizing the tenets of the Optimist Creed, to promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs, to inspire respect for the law, to promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people, and to aid and encourage the development of youth, in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world.
Jessica Miller, president of the Junior Optimist group, shows enthusiasm and heart when it comes to putting groups of students together for service projects. What started three years ago with around 30 students has grown to approximately 100 students. The drive to serve others is contagious with students asking how they can help bring hope to others.
The Junior Optimist group currently sells cotton candy at basketball games, and collects money for different organizations. The funds have been distributed by where the group decides it should go at the end of the year. Some of those organizations have been Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief, two hometown house fires, Hoops for Hope Campaign for Goshen Hospital Cancer Center, Pennies for Peyton’s kids at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, and more.
Some of the service projects the Junior Optimist group has completed are helping keep Krider Gardens clean and looking beautiful, helping Lifeline Ministries in Elkhart with the demolition of a house, giving technical assistance with electronics to Greencroft residents in Goshen, providing daycare to parents at the school for parent-teacher conferences, keeping the banks of the Elkhart River clean, Feed the Children in Elkhart and Feed the Hungry in South Bend.
There will be a fundraiser in March where the students will cook dinner and serve tables for the Middlebury Optimist Club’s trivia night – a great opportunity for the community to give to the Optimist group so these students can continue in bringing hope and excitement to many in need.
The Optimist Creed
Promise Yourself –
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.