Community Service

Community Service

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

We’re partnering with the Mead Library to promote early childhood reading!!

This program was developed by Mead Library staff to encourage parents and other family members to read to their little ones!! Our club became the official sponsor of this program in fall 2013 by our donation of $500. These funds are used to purchase ‘rewards’ to be given to each child as they reach milestones in their reading!

500 Books Before Middle School

Building on the success of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, the club now sponsors the 500 Books Before Middle School program!  This program is open to kids in Kindergarten thru 5th grade.  Rewards are given for every 50 books read. 

Library Easter Egg Hunt

Our partnership with Mead Library keeps expanding and now includes sponsorship of the Easter Egg Hunt!!  Club members stuff over 600 eggs with candy and toys, then hide them among the books in the Children’s Room on the morning of the event. Several craft activities, face painting and a visit from the Bunny himself are also part of the morning, held on a Saturday before Easter. Sign up here.

Longfellow Holiday Party

The Optimist Club has partnered with Longfellow School staff to help make the holidays a little brighter for the students!

Without an active parent organization, a group of dedicated teachers have created the “Holiday Lights” event and we stepped up to help!  Members become “Santa’s helpers” providing small gifts that Santa gives to each child. We also play games and do craft activities with the kids at the party.  

Book Vending Machine

The Club is currently working with Longfellow staff to bring students a Book Vending Machine. Students can be given a ‘token’ for positive behaviors or achievements in academics and use it to ‘pay for’ a book to take home! We hope to have a plan in place and purchase the machine prior to the start of the 2024-2025 school year.

Back to School Basics

Our club has provided this service to our community every summer since 1997. Thanks to generous donors throughout our community, more than 1000 students per year receive the basic supplies necessary to start the school year off right. There are no requirements to be met — families simply come to the giveaway site on the date we set and receive pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, crayons, glue etc for their children. We’re very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to continue this free event for 25 years! Our partnership with the Sheboygan Area School District continues to grow and evolve, as we utilize their resources to offer this much-needed service to Sheboygan families.

Optimist Park Clean Up

Optimist Park is located on the south side of Sheboygan on Carmen Avenue between 18th – 22nd Streets. In June our club spends an evening sprucing up the park. We plant flowers, spread wood chips, trim trees…whatever we can do to improve the appearance of the park that bears our name!

Salvation Army Bell Ringing

Look for club members ringing bells at Festival Foods!  

Scholarship Contests

Optimist International has created guidelines for clubs to offer the Oratorical Contest, Essay Contest and Communication Contest for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) in their communities.  Each of these programs has specific rules regarding age, length of oral/signed or written presentation, and a specific theme established annually that can be found here:  Local clubs can offer a small award to their winners, and scholarships from the Optimist International Foundation are given to the winners at the District level.  In addition, the Optimist World Oratorical Competition is held in July where District winners from across the continent compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships. Any student interested in entering these contests is asked to contact our club through this website.
Charlie Marten, of Howards Grove High School, was our 2022 Essay Contest entrant.  Charlie completed his essay on the topic “How Does an Optimistic Mindset Change My Tomorrow?” 

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