It will be an evening of new traditions for youth and adults alike in Wellesley May 8 as the village’s arena is dolled up for a gala dinner and dance to welcome a new chapter of the Optimist Club.
This event is the first of many fundraisers for a new organization: the Wellesley and District Optimist Club, with a mission to conduct positive service projects to benefit area youth in the community.
The club is affiliated with Optimist International, one of the world’s largest and most active service club organizations whose goal is the betterment of youth through its activities. The group provides opportunities for underprivileged children to experience sports and activities that may not be possible by other means.
Major Optimist programs include substance abuse prevention, public speaking and essay contests, Internet safety, youth appreciation and the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, among others.
“We want to step in and make a difference for youth in our community, not just one or two children but for many, so we have lots of work to do,” said incoming president Matt Livingstone.
Already the club has made a donation to the local youth softball league, the first donation of many, said Livingstone. Projects on their preliminary list of ideas include many events surrounding sports and education and more tangibly, the funding of a local drop-in centre.
“We have a ton of ideas floating around at the moment. It really comes down to the need from the community.”
The gala event will be a good challenge for the new team, said Livingstone, and the Wellesley community has already begun to show their support for the group.
“We have had an excellent response from local businesses so far,” he said. “They have been great about helping us with door prizes and raffle items.”
As the club is just starting up, it’s still on the lookout for new members. There is no minimum time requirement for prospective members, but participants simply must be interested in working with youths.
Officers elected to the lead the Wellesley and District Optimist Club during its first year are Livingstone, Andre Seip (secretary), Kim McElroy (treasurer), Paula Tweedle (president-elect) and Bryan Goring (vice-president). Elected to board of directors were Bridget Diebold, Kerry Schott, Chad Livingstone, Jane Anne MacDonald, Wayne Kneisel and Bridget Schneider. The club meets on the first and third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Wellesley Community Centre.
For ticket information for the gala or to find out more about becoming a member, contact Matt Livingstone at (519) 656-9587.