COMMUNITY PROJECTS

Bringing Up Grades (BUG) Awards
One day each month during the school year club members go to East Elementary School, Field Elementary School, and Columbine Hills Elementary School. They then present a BUG award to one student in each class who has been selected by the teacher for doing a successful job of bringing up grades. The student might not be the smartest, or have the highest marks, but is honored for working diligently for improvement. The student receives a Certificate recognizing this achievement, and a special BUG Pencil and T-Shirt.

Toward the end of the school year club members treat the BUG award recipients to a pizza and ice cream party at their schools.

Brain Bowl
This is a general knowledge contest for youths in grades 6, 7 and 8, and is usually held in January through March each year. It is very similar to the old TV program “GE College Bowl” seen back in the 1960s and 70s. Teams from middle schools are paired up to compete against each other scoring points for being the first team to answer very difficult questions in several fields, including math, geography, literature, current events, history and science. There are three regional events; Northern Colorado and Wyoming; Central Colorado; and Southern Colorado. The top teams in each grade from these Regionals then go on to compete in the Championship Finals. Winning and placing team members all get prize medals, and the winning schools receive plaques for their trophy cases.

Club members help to organize these contests and also enjoy participating in them as question readers, scorekeepers, timekeepers and proctors. The Brain Bowl has been held continuously since 1981 and we are joined by Optimists from many other clubs in Colorado and Wyoming.

The "Know Brainer"
The “Know Brainer” was started in 2012 and was originated by OCL member Ralph Dergance. It has now been added to the activity list of other Optimist Clubs. It is held in April and is patterned after the Brain Bowl but is a one-day contest and is open to 4th and 5th graders in local elementary schools.

Oratorical Contest
This is an annual speech contest for boys and girls ages 18 years and younger. The topic of their speeches, which are selected by the Optimist International organization, is used worldwide. Recent topics have been “How I Can Make My Optimism Come True” and “Why My Voice Matters” Speeches at our club level are judged and scored by independent judges with the top boy and girl contestants each winning a $100 cash prize and advancing to the next level of competition. The club contest is usually held one night in early April. The finals for the Colorado-Wyoming District are held in May each year. The winner of the District contest is awarded a $1,500.00 college scholarship.

Club members participate by finding judges, providing refreshments, setting up and restoring the room, recitation of an opening prayer, and providing a master of ceremonies and a timekeeper.

Essay Contest
Each year Optimist International selects a topic on which students, up to age 19 may write a 600 to 700 word essay. Our club holds a contest for students to submit essays for entry into our club’s contest. Our essay chairperson finds three judges to individually judge and score each essay using a scoring rubric provided by Optimist International. Our club’s first place essay is sent to the Colorado Wyoming District where other winning essays from local Optimist clubs throughout the District are again scored. A $650 college scholarship is awarded to the District’s 1st place essay writer. This District winning essay is automatically entered into the Optimist International contest and a panel of judges selects the top three essays from the District winners. Optimist International awards scholarships to the writers of the first place ($6,000); second place ($3,750); and third place ($2,250) essays.

Arapahoe Community College (ACC) Pre-School Mittens and Gloves
Many children attend a pre-school at Arapahoe Community College while their parents are in classes there. They often come from needy families. Each winter the club collects gloves and mittens. Then our members – often with their spouses – get together and sew simple fleece hats for the children.

Club members take these to the pre-school one morning in the cold of winter and usually read the class a story in addition to giving them the hats and mittens.

Field Elementary School Harvest Festival
Optimists go to Field Elementary School during the school day when the staff of the school is holding their Harvest Festival to help the staff run events and activities such as fun races and contests, somewhat like an old fashion county fair.

Youth Appreciation Day
Observed each May. Youths from the community, usually middle school students, who have accomplished something significant during the year are recognized and honored at one of our weekly breakfasts.

Tutoring and Mentoring
A number of our club members volunteer to be a mentor for an individual student through the entire school year. Other members volunteer to help individual students as tutors in what has become the Homework Club.  Additional volunteers serve as storytellers in elementary schools through an organization known as Spellbinders.

Meals-on-Wheels
Twice a week, every week throughout the year, several club teams take turns delivering hot lunches to many senior residents in the Littleton Housing Authority apartments Allyson Court and Bradley House.

Storytelling
We have a number of club members who volunteer as individuals to be storytellers at elementary schools through and organization called Spellbinders. These are individual activities the club helps facilitate by assisting in contacting schools and key individuals to help the Optimist become a mentor.

Respect for Law Week
In May, George Ackerman invites deserving law enforcement professionals from the community to be recognized and honored at one of our weekly breakfasts.

International Junior Golf Championships
Every year more than 200 boys and girls compete in Colorado/Wyoming District qualifying golf tournament. The best of the golfers advance to the OI Junior Golf Championships usually held in Florida.

Junior Optimist Octagon International (Alpha Club)
The club sponsors a JOOI club at Field Elementary

Pride in America (Flag) Program
For exactly 50 years the club has been posting American flags in front of businesses and offices in downtown Littleton on about ten holidays per year. This project gives the city a patriotic appearance on the designated days and serves as a fund-raising activity. Currently, about 70 subscribers make an annual contribution to the club to participate in the program. Teams of two or three club members set up flags early in the morning and pick them up in the evening. All proceeds go to the support of the club’s youth and community activities.