Who We Are
Meeting the needs of young people in communities worldwide, Optimist Clubs have been "Bringing Out the Best in Kids" since 1919. Optimist Clubs conduct positive service projects aimed at providing a helping hand to youth. Club members are best known in their communities for their upbeat attitudes. By believing in young people and empowering them to be the best that they can, Optimist volunteers continually make this world a better place in which to live. There are almost 87,000 individual members who belong to 2,900 autonomous Clubs. Optimists conduct tens of thousands of service projects each year, serving millions of young people. Optimists also spend over $50 million on their communities annually.
Our Current Work
Essay Contest: This contest is sponsored by Optimist International to give young people the opportunity to write about their own opinions regarding the world in which they live. The approach can encompass a young person’s personal experience, the experience of their country or a more historical perspective. The topic selected each year is intended to give young people the room to develop their own views around a central idea. In addition to the opportunity for written expression, participants have the opportunity to win a college scholarship of up to $5,000! Each year, more than 1,000 Clubs participate in this contest.
- Childhood Cancer Campaign (CCC): Did you know that each year more than 12,000 children and teenagers will be diagnosed with cancer? Did you also know that one in every 330 Americans develops cancer before the age of 20? Because of statistics such as these, Optimist Clubs are encouraged to participate in this program by building awareness of the disease, providing assistance for children and their families, and supporting research to find a cure.
In December 2001, the Optimist International Board of Directors established the CCC as the organization's primary focus program for the next five years. CCC was also approved as a Community Project Award (CPA) category commencing with the 2002-2003 Optimist year. The CCC program model is built to accentuate four areas
- Support to children diagnosed and receiving treatment for cancer.
- Support to families and care partners of children with cancer.
- Support to healthcare and service providers.
- Support for cancer research.
Bingo-Running a session of Bingo two or three times a month is a fundraiser that allows the Derby Optimist Club to finance and run most of its projects. The Derby Optimist Club holds Bingo sessions on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday of each month.