Smiles on Point: Point/Plover Optimist Club spreads positivity
By Lucas Jagodzinski
PORTAGE COUNT – In times like these (let’s call them unprecedented) one thing it seems many of us may be lacking is some positivity. A local club for like minded adults is aiming to help the community embrace some of that much needed positivity. The Stevens Point/Plover branch of the International Optimist Club aims to provide hope and vision to the community as a whole and to encourage the development of these characteristics in the youth of the area.
The International Optimist Club formed in Louisville, KY shortly after the end of the first world war in 1919. Upon the formation of the club, the members nominated William Henry Harrison (a descendant of the 9th US president) to be the club’s first president. The Stevens Point chapter of this club formed in 1961 and has now been in operation for over 60 years. Known as the Stevens Point Noon Optimist Club, the club works to embody the philosophies of its parent club. They work around the community to spread hope and vision and optimism amongst all age groups.
As part of the club’s mission, the club runs many programs and fundraisers to spread its core values. For instance, the club chooses a few local students every month to honor the student’s commitment and effort to be optimistic and hard working in school. The club rewards each student with a plaque during its meeting. In addition to monthly recognition of outstanding students, the local optimist club also awards scholarships to local students looking to attend a post-secondary school. In past years, the club has given out up to $3,000 in scholarship funds. In addition to these programs, the club has run a “Magic Paper Box” campaign to encourage residents to recycle non-confidential paper with the club. The club would then use that recycled material to earn money to donate to community causes that would support the youth.
You can often see club members around town donating their time and money on behalf of the community. If you are encouraged by what you have read and would like to join or donate to the club, you can find the club online at https://www.optimist.org/aboutoi.cfm. You can also find them on Facebook at Stevens Point/Plover Area Optimist Clubs. Club meetings are held at Grazies Italian Grill in Stevens Point at noon every Wednesday.