- Bridges and Partners Clubs (for special needs kids)
- Childhood Cancer support
- Cub Scout support
- Excellence in Education
- Fourth of July Parade and Float
- Halloween at Lake Royal
- Internet Safety for Children and Parents
- Junior Optimist-Octagon International (JOOI) youth clubs
- Kids’ Field Days
- Needy Families support
- Newspaper and Yearbook Editor Awards
- Respect for Law Awards
- SafeAssuredID (child identification system in partnership with Fairfax City Police)
- Scholarship Contests:
- Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH)
- Grabowski Good Citizenship Scholarship
- Limburg Scholarship for High School Seniors
- Youth Appreciation
The Childhood Cancer program has several aspects to it. School clubs and students can help conduct toy drives for children with cancer. For example, our club collects pacifiers and safe toys for infants under 1-year-old, and character Band-Aids (ex: Dora, Sponge Bob) for patients of all ages.
Semi-annually we help the Ronald McDonald House, near INOVA Fairfax Hospital, doing yard work and general cleaning to help keep the home pleasant for families who are staying near where their child is being treated for cancer. This community service project is suitable for students as well.
We raise money for our Childhood Cancer programs through individual donations and coin banks that are placed in businesses, with the proceeds going to support families in need and research at Johns Hopkins University. School clubs and individuals are welcome to help us in this project as well.
We’ll provide showings of the Optimist International DVD, “The New Normal,” which provides information to families when their child is first diagnosed with cancer. We also provide the book, “Reflections,” which contains pictures and letters of encouragement from famous people as well as pages for children to draw or write on, ensuring they have a way to express their thoughts during their treatment.
Fourth of July Parade
Our club builds a float and proudly walks in the Fairfax City Fourth of July Parade. We invite youths from the Cub Scout pack we sponsor and the Fairfax area to participate with us. Our float has won First Place more than once! Our club welcomes area young people who would like to ride or walk with us.
- Statistics show that 99% of all teens access the Internet, and 94% of students have experienced cyber-bullying. Many did not tell an adult. Protecting the children in our community is a major undertaking, and the Optimists of Central Fairfax are proud to play a vital role in that effort by providing videos and information to area students and parents alike. We partner with local PTAs, church and Scout groups, and other organizations to promote Internet safety.
- We also offer 15-, 30-, and 60-second audio Public Service Announcements (PSA) produced by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We also offer video PSAs. These PSAs are ideal for educating middle and high school teenagers about the dangers of posting inappropriate material on the Internet.
- We offer training and educational programs to adult groups of any size in order to educate them about the dangers that young people on the Internet can unknowingly fall into. The focus of our program is how to keep children safe while they are in the on-line world.
For Elementary Schools: Faux Paw, the Techno Cat
Optimist International has partnered with the Internet Keep Safe Coalition to educate children about the potential dangers of the internet and how to protect themselves while online. Materials for this program are available below.
The Faux Paw program is designed for children in first through fourth grades and teaches about the dangers of Internet Safety through an animated story. This program is also designed to be presented by Optimist Clubs to a group of any size.
The purposes of the JOOI clubs are to teach the value of community service and offer leadership opportunities for the students. We would like to sponsor clubs in several of our schools.
There are three kinds of JOOI clubs:
- Alpha Clubs – for ages 6-9
- Junior Optimist Clubs – for ages 10-13
- Octagon Clubs – for ages 14-18
With special guidance and support from a sponsoring Optimist Club and/or Club Advisor, your JOOI Club completes fun projects and activities to improve the community and better the lives of its residents. Members have opportunities to polish leadership skills, manage money, and practice good citizenship.
Much like Optimist International, JOOI is governed by an International Board of Directors as well as by District Officers. Each year, JOOI club members attend District and International Conventions to elect their peers to fill these important offices.
Limburg Scholarship for High School Seniors
Named after two outstanding club members, Flo and Cecil Limburg, a $1,000 scholarship is available to a graduating senior from one of the five high schools in our area: Fairfax, Lake Braddock, Paul VI, Robinson, and Woodson.
Do you have a needy family at your school? At Thanksgiving and Christmas, we sponsor at least one family with children. We deliver Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and also provide toys for the children at Christmas time.
Newspaper & Yearbook Editors Awards and Excellence in Education
We honor the editors of high school newspapers and yearbooks because they have a tremendous responsibility, work very hard, and receive little recognition. Concurrently, we recognize an adult who has made a difference in the lives of children in a school.
Respect for the Law/Promotion of Non-Violence
Each year we honor someone in the law enforcement community who has done something to improve our community and help our youth. We have also honored crossing guards and safety patrols. Optimist International has a planning guide that suggests other projects and ways to encourage respect for the law and promote non-violence. What are your school’s needs?
Our club partners with the Fairfax city Police Department to bring the SafeAssured ID program to our local community. This program is endorsed by not only Optimist International, but also by the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children. The SafeAssured privacy-protected mini-CD offers a single repository of important information:
- All ten electronically imaged fingerprints
- Digital photograph
- Streaming video showing mannerisms and gait with linked audio file providing the child’s voice inflection and accent.
- Private information (general physical description, street address, date of birth, life-threatening medical conditions, identifying scars or marks, and tattoos)
- Ability to create missing person poster from the mini-CD
Families also receive a full-color photo data card and a Parents’ Guidebook with prevention tips, written in conjunction with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Optimist International sponsors three scholarship contests for students to earn money to pursue opportunities in higher education: the Essay Contest, the Oratorical Contest, and the Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH). The contests are conducted at the Club level, then at the Zone and the Capital Virginia District levels. The Essay Contest also has an International-level competition. District- and International-level scholarships are funded by the Optimist International Foundations and awarded by Optimist International.
This contest requires students under the age of 19 who have not yet graduated from high school or the equivalent to compose a 700- to 800-word essay around a central idea. The contest is designed to develop writing and critical thinking skills. One scholarship of $2,500 per District is awarded by Optimist International each year. Go to your school’s career center (at Fairfax, Lake Braddock, Mountain View, Paul VI, Robinson or Woodson) and ask for the Essay Announcement and the Essay Application Form. Deadline to complete all requirements is January 14, 2015.
This contest requires students under the age of 19 who have not yet graduated from high school or the equivalent to compose a 700- to 800-word essay around a central idea. The contest is designed to develop writing and critical thinking skills. One scholarship of $2,500 per District is awarded by Optimist International each year. Go to your school’s career center (at Fairfax, Lake Braddock, Mountain View, Paul VI, Robinson or Woodson) and ask for the Oratorical Contest Announcement and the Oratorical Contest Application Form 2014-15. Deadline to apply is February 25, 2015.
Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Students who are certified to have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or more may compete in this contest designed to help them develop the skills and confidence to present in sign or orally to an audience.
*Optimist International scholarships are made possible by the Optimist International Foundations.
The purpose of this program is to recognize children so they receive positive reinforcement of their value and the value of community service. Youth Appreciation awards are intended to make children feel important and highlight their positive contributions. Reasons for submitting their nomination include, but are not limited to: leadership, outstanding character and integrity, commitment to school or family, overcoming difficulty in their life, community service, courageous acts, theatrical/musical achievements, academic achievements, religious service, athletic achievements, or others.