Ordinary people that through their membership with the Optimist Club of Jackson, have accomplished extraordinary things, such as:
The Optimist Ice Arena that serves thousands of youth and adults yearly was purchased, then expanded and continually managed by Optimist Club members in such a way to afford the community with the lowest ice time rental rates in our area, and possibly the state. Check out our ice arena photos
Children's Christmas Shopping Spree that benefits less fortunate children and their families. These children are recommended by their school teachers. Over $4000 spent in 2004 for the children's Christmas shopping and Santa party afterwards. Check out our photos from our 2007 Shopping Spree and Christmas Party
Gordon Will Opportunity Scholarship that provides two $2,000 scholarships yearly to seniors that are graduating from high school. Students are selected on a number of criteria such as, financial need, GPA, etc. but with a heavier emphasis on community service.
Respect for Law Luncheon where the Optimist Club honors all law enforcement departments in our county. Annual awards are given to officers and departments of distinction with guest speakers such as local judges, prosecuting attorneys, and Chiefs of Police, along with other speakers such as last years speaker, Chief of Police in Southfield, Michigan, Dr. Joseph Thomas, one time Jackson Police Officer. The 2005 speaker was Jackson County Sheriff Dan Heyns. Past Photos
Salvation Army Bell Ringing where the Optimist Club members ring the Salvation Army bell during the holiday season at three locations in our community. The Optimist Club consistently is near the top of all service clubs in money collected.
Junior World Golf Tournament held annually in Jackson affords all local youth golfers the opportunity to qualify for the Optimist State tournament and the Optimist World Tournament held at a prestigious championship golf course, usually held in Florida or California. Past Tournament Photos
The Optimist Club Float, highly visible as we annually have as our guests the Rose QueenĀfs court in the Rose Parade, participate in the Holiday Parade (1st Place Winner, 2004) and have in the past participated in the Miss Michigan Parade, Grass Lake 4th of July Parade, among others. A large picture of the Optimist Float is on display in the cafeteria of the Meijer store on Airport Road.
Soap Box Derby is a new project for the Optimist Club but with the participation of the Optimist Club, The Optimist Ice Arena, and Optimist members we were able to help in more than doubling the derby participants in 2004. With the purchase of several cars many kids that otherwise would never have had the opportunity to participate were able to have the thrill of a life time. We are now the major sponsor of this event.
Government Day where county high school students interested in government and recommended by their teachers, are bused to Lansing with Optimist members to spend the day with our area elected officials. A full day is spent at the capital with our leaders and the students are recognized on the floor of both the House and Senate while in session.
Halloween Party is planned again this year in conjunction with the Parks and Recreation Department. It will be an old fashioned party for local youth with cider and donuts and lots of candy, costume judging, etc.
Donations are made by the Optimist Club and the Optimist Ice Arena to many organizations or community projects that help the youth of our community. Such as:
ē Little League Baseball, sponsoring all three Jackson leagues.
ē Sitting Tall Program for physically and mentally challenged youth and adults, purchasing a new horse, saddles, etc. The Optimist Club has donated over $3,500 in the past two years.
ē Boy Scouts of America, donating funds for projects and equipment. Troop 144 is the 2005 recipient to help fund their trip to Alaska
ē Girl Scouts of America, donating funds that are matched by Children First Trust Fund. The funds are used to sponsor girls at the Girl Scout summer camp and for improvements at the camp.
ē Youth Hockey Teams, both in house and traveling teams.
ē Jackson County Rose Festival, Paid Sustaining Member
ē Inter-Faith Shelter, donating funds and food to help those less fortunate.
ē Salvation Army, donating funds and people power through our affiliation with Christmas Bell Ringing.
ē JCC Hockey, donating funds and manpower through the sale of 50/50 tickets at JCC home games and at The Optimist Ice Arena.
ē Law Enforcement Torch Drive, donating funds and people power to serve pizza at the Torch Run.
ē VFW National Home for Children, donation to the SantaĀfs Helper fund to allow the children at the home purchase Christmas presents for their family or adoptive VFW family.
ē Northwest School Fourth Grade Mackinaw Trip (May 2005), donation to the teacher and parent volunteers to ensure no child is left behind due to their financial inability to pay for this educational trip.
ē Congressional Student Leadership Conference (Sponsored by Lead America) donation to Lead America in Christina GriffithĀfs name. She is a sophomore Honor Student at Michigan Center H.S. and will be attending the government leadership conference in July, 2005 in Washington D.C.
ē Special Days Camps, a safe place where local kids with cancer or leukemia, and their siblings can just be kids. Our 2005 donation of $1,600 was doubled by Children First Trust Fund and will enable 4 kids to be funded 100% at the summer camp.
As one can see, we are the premier service organization in Jackson County that excels in helping the youth and future of our community. We have demonstrated our commitment to this goal for over 65 years. If you have a passion to help kids grow into the kind of adults that will benefit our community, and have a great time doing it, please consider membership in the Optimist Club of Jackson