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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Virtual photography contest goes to a storefront in Vernon, BC

 We continue to be impressed by the North Okanagan Optimist Club. This post reflects its successful photography contest that was held online in April 2021.  Not only was the club able to conduct its contest online, but it is also reaching into the brick-and-mortar community with a storefront display of the results. Kudos to the North Okanagan Optimists for a job well done!

Due to the pandemic, all Optimist Clubs have had to be creative in their approach to programs. We would love to hear what your Optimist Club has done to serve its community and its members. Please send us a note here. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Rally with the Optimists in Atlanta for the Optimist International Convention

Next month, Optimist Club members will rally in Atlanta, Georgia for the 103rd Annual Optimist
International Convention. It will be a hybrid event as some members will not be able to attend in person and will enjoy a virtual program; but for those with the ability and willingness to travel, it will be a family reunion of great importance. 

It will be the first time that Optimist Club members have come together on a large scale since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

That in itself forecasts optimism. The hope and desire to gather with friends who feel like family is real and medical experts are cautiously approving travel as the global economy slowly begins to regain normalcy. 

I plan to travel in person to the Optimist International Convention and I hope that you will join me. The agenda includes two keynote presentations: Michelle Gielan will present on happiness and Blake Leeper will describe what it means to rally in the face of obstacles. Business sessions will help lead the organization and education sessions to improve skills needed to lead an Optimist Club and District with a positive impact. Fellowship activities will include a night at the Atlanta Braves baseball game, the Heritage Brunch, and the International Presidents Celebration. 

And if you have been to a convention before, you know, the networking opportunities outweigh everything else. It's where we meet new friends and finally see those in person who we've been seeing on Zoom for almost two years. It's where friends become family as optimism reigns high. Prove that you are an Optimist and join the Optimist International Convention in Atlanta.  Don't forget to wear your mask!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Rally for optimism

Optimist Clubs ask you to rally to service and to rally to optimism. 

It's fairly simple to join an Optimist Club and do both. 

Share a positive attitude and give back to your community by clicking here to find an Optimist Club near you and join.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Celebrate the International Day of Happiness with Music

pnw optimist clubs music makes people happy
 It's coming! The International Day of Happiness is March 20, 2021. 

Optimist International will kick-off the day with the Music Makes People Happy OptiForum. This upbeat opportunity is free to all Optimist Club members via Zoom. Registration is required at this link: https://bit.ly/3ewLSfM

The Music Makes People Happy OptiForum will feature inspiration by Bill Myers, a third-generation Optimist Club member, Emmy Award-Winning actor, musician, and producer. Bill will share stories of how music shaped his life and career in a positive way. 

Participants will also see the winners of the first-ever Musical Happiness program. The top three winners in the musical and vocal categories will be announced. You may watch their submissions on YouTube by searching for #OptimistMusicalHappiness2021or clicking on this link: https://www.youtube.com/hashtag/optimistmusicalhappiness2021

Optimist Clubs are encouraged to host a simple project for the Day of Happiness. It might be as simple as turning your Club's Facebook page into a Happiness wall by sharing uplifting notes of encouragement or perhaps sending an email chain of happy stories to each of your Optimist Club members.. 

If you reside in a community that has been able to relax its COVID restrictions, perhaps your Optimist Club might set up a happiness wall in a local park and ask people to write what makes them happy on a post-it note. Be creative and have fun. 

Most of all, be a #happyoptimist. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Optimist International boosts happiness with music

Optimist International to host first-ever musical happiness competition for youth on the International Day
of Happiness

Optimist International invites middle and high school youth to participate in the first-ever Optimist International Musical Happiness Competition. The entries are due March 15, 2021, and the winners will be announced on the International Day of Happiness, March 20, 2021.

optimist international day of happiness
According to Optimist International President Mark Weinsoff, Optimist International chose to recognize the International Day of Happiness with music because music makes people happy. “Optimist Clubs provide many programs for youth, based on the needs in their individual communities. With the pandemic, we thought it was especially important to reach out with as an organization to share positive emotions with children and adults.”

The winners will be recognized at a special event on Zoom, March 20, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. CT. “As Optimist Club members, we choose optimism every day. We believe optimism, happiness, and now music, go hand-in-hand,” Mr. Weinsoff concluded.

Optimist International is made up of more than 2,200 Optimist Clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and throughout the world where more than 70,000 adult and youth members strive to bring out the best in youth, community, and their very own selves. More information may be found at optimist.org

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Celebrate 50 years of the Optimist International Foundation with a donation

OIF 50th Anniversary Pin Hansen Artwork

Throughout 2021, the Optimist International Foundation (OIF) will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. It has commissioned special artwork from artist Jeff Hansen, an interesting young man who met many Optimist Club members at the Optimist International Convention in Louisville, KY.  Jeff had multiple health conditions from birth and succumbed this year to complications of the brain tumor he had lived with since a child. 

Please consider honoring both the Optimist International Foundation and Jeff's memory by making a donation to the OIF of $50 and receiving its 50th Anniversary pin. 
OIF Hansen Artwork

Scarves, ties, and other items featuring Jeff's unique style are also for sale and all money raised benefits the Childhood Health and Wellness Campaign. 

Go here to purchase these special items.

As is the OIF's way, it helps Optimist Clubs help Youth. At this time there are two grant opportunities to which  Optimist Clubs may apply.

Club Grant Application You may submit an application for a Matching Grant to start up a new project this year. The amount requested can range from $250 to $1,000. The Club Grant program is a long-standing effort by OIF to assist Clubs in helping more in their communities. The application can be found on the OIF website by clicking here. The deadline for application submission is March 15, 2021.

Childhood Health and Wellness This new Grant program, which grew out of the Childhood Cancer Campaign, is accepting applications for the second grant cycle. The deadline for applications is April 30, 2021. The next consideration cycle after that ends on August 30, 2021. The application can be found on the OIF website by clicking here. The process will award $250 – $1,000 for a Matching Grant in one of the four focus areas:
  • Healthy Lifestyles (Child Obesity, Healthy Eating, Physical Fitness, Happy Heart Advice, March of Dimes)
  • Chronic Diseases (Childhood Cancer, Juvenile Diabetes, HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Sickle Cell Anemia)
  • Mental Health (Depression, Bullying, Abuse)
  • Disabilities – Physical, Intellectual, & Developmental (Autism, Special Olympics)
Optimist Clubs and their members are the principal donors to the Optimist International Foundation. To make giving fun during this time of celebration, the OIF is hosting an online auction. The auction ends on March 11, 2021. 

Please go here to make a bid: Optimist International Foundation Auction 2021

Thursday, February 11, 2021

File the IRS Form 990 by February 15

Here is your annual reminder.
It's time for all US Optimist Clubs to file Form 990 to the IRS. The form is due February 15. The filing is simple. All you need are the following:

  • Employer identification number (EIN), also known as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
  • Tax year
  • Legal name and mailing address
  • Any other names the organization uses
  • Name and address of a principal officer
  • Web site address if the organization has one
  • Confirmation that the organization’s annual gross receipts are $50,000 or less
  • If applicable, a statement that the organization has terminated or is terminating (going out of business)
E-file is an option for tax-exempt organizations not required to file a long-form which includes nearly all Optimist Clubs except those managing large sums of money (over $50,000) or property. Please consult an accountant or tax preparer if you are uncertain if this applies to your Optimist club.

Complete instructions and log-in filing information can be found here. Form990-N Electronic Filing System e-Postcard. It is free to file and required in order to maintain your tax-exempt status as an Optimist Club.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Show your Optimist pride on February 4

optimist day information
On February 4, Optimist International encourages all Optimist Clubs and Optimist Club members to tell the world that they are proud to be an Optimist. 

Take a photo of yourself in Optimist-branded attire and post it on your Facebook page for all to see. Use the hashtag #OptimistDay and join the movement. 

I'm proud to be an Optimist and you should be, too. 

While you are at it, please share the Optimist Creed because, now, more than ever, we must Choose Optimism. 

The Optimist Creed

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Optimist Clubs encourage creativity

The United States of America inaugurated a new president on January 20, 2021. Amid the symbolic importance and gravity of the event, a 22-year-old woman amazed the audience around the world with her words, her poise, and her ideas. We share here the poem recited by Amanda Gorman at the Biden-Harris Inauguration, "The Hill We Climb."


Gorman was 14-years-old when she became the youngest poet laureate for the city of Los Angeles. As Optimist Clubs, we salute her talent and perseverance. We also want to encourage other young people to find their voices and creativity and offer the following projects promoted by Optimist International. 

The Kaleidoscope of Performing Arts and Photography Contest may be conducted at any time by an Optimist Club. The links provide ideas for conducting a project with your community. 

The Optimist Visual Arts Competition has awards provided by Optimist International. Entries must be received at the International Office by May 1, 2021. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

West Tacoma Optimist Club assists the homeless

Dick Disney John Hickman West Tacoma Optimist Club

Before the pandemic, the West Tacoma Optimist Club would help the Pierce County Emergency Food Network once per month with its repack project, taking bulk items and repacking them into family-sized bundles. Because of COVID-19, the group can't get together and that activity has had to be put on hold. 

That didn't prevent the Optimist Club from making an annual donation to the organization of peanut butter. Seven hundred jars went to the organization, half chunky and half creamy, to help fulfill their requests because peanut butter is something that can't be purchased in bulk. 
John Hickman Dick Disney West Tacoma Optimist Club

Members John Hickman and Dick Disney made the deliveries before Christmas. 

Also on the West Tacoma Optimist Club's Christmas donation list was a contribution to the Tacoma Rescue Mission. 
Ron Thompson West Tacoma Optimist Club

Member Ron Thompson visited the Rescue Mission and gave $2,000 to help them continue to serve the homeless and hurting in Tacoma and Pierce County. 

Photos contributed by the West Tacoma Optimist Club. Please click on the photos to enlarge. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Hillsboro Optimist Club inspires students to ring bells

We're all used to seeing that red kettle in front of stores during the holiday season. In fact, we might be so aware of it that we completely overlook it! Overlooking was not an option in Hillsboro, Oregon this past season as students were the designated bell-ringers for The Salvation Army.

pnw optimist clubs hillsboro

According to Monte Akers, President, Hillsboro Optimist Club:

Century High School students partnered with the Salvation Army and the Hillsboro Optimist Club to pull off a double whammy in fundraising!

Twenty students rang bells at The Salvation Army's kettles on Dec 19 and 23 and raised over $6,500 for The Salvation Army.

For their efforts, they were rewarded with $800 designated for the Century High School food pantry by the Hillsboro Optimist Club.

The Hillsboro Optimist Club hopes to perform similar 3-way partnerships with other youth groups and organizations in the future. Wayne Bohm, Hillsboro Optimist Club member and a teacher at Century High School explained that the students are usually knee-deep in the Elk's canned food drive this time of year, but that project was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Working with Tami Mandrell and Lisa Cole at The Salvation Army the students found a great way to give back to their community.

pnw optimist clubs hillsboro

Photos contributed by the Hillsboro Optimist Club.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year!

Helen Keller wrote, "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."

It is that spirit that leads all Optimist Clubs and their members to push forward, seek new challenges, overcome more hurdles, and make the world a better place. 

This year, more than ever, we must choose optimism. As you awake each morning, think of one way that you can demonstrate optimism in your daily activities and then do it. Your thoughts, put into action, will help others choose optimism, too. 

Think only of the best. Happy New Year! 

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