OPTIMISTS develop service projects and scholarships based on the needs of the community and the interests of the members.

Explore our many projects and programs and talk to us about ways you can help your community as an Optimist volunteer or donor. 


This scholarship contest is open to contestants through grade 12. Contestants must have an uncorrected hearing loss of 40 decibels or more in order to be eligible to participate. Participants must submit an audiogram or a Cochlear Implant Programming Report done within 24 months of the date of the contest from a qualified audiologist. Students with permanent correction should compete in the Optimist International Oratorical contest.

Our Club’s CCDHH contest is held at the Frost Middle School every 2 years, subject to teacher availability and support. If a contestant wins at the District level, the $2,500 scholarship will remain available and be given upon entry into post-secondary education.

The contest is open to contestants under the age of 19 as of October 1st of the current Optimist International contest year (October 1 – September 30) and who have not yet completed secondary school or its equivalent. There is no minimum age. This contest requires students to compose a 700-800 word essay around a central idea. The contest is designed to develop writing and critical thinking skills. One $2,500 scholarship per District is awarded each year by Optimist International. Look for current information from your school guidance councilor, on our home page, or contact us at fairfaxoptimists@gmail.com

The Norbert D. Grabowski Citizenship Scholarship is named after our Club’s Charter (our first or founding) President and is given to a deserving senior at Mountain View High School in Centreville, Virginia.

The Florene and Cecil Limburg Scholarship is named after two outstanding and long-time members of our Club.  The Club is sponsoring this scholarship to assist in the further education of a student who has demonstrated an interest in serving his/her community and/or exhibits the potential for leadership roles in his/her selected career path. ONLY graduating seniors from the following high schools are eligible: Fairfax, Lake Braddock, Robinson, and Woodson.

This scholarship contest requires students to compose and present a not less than 4- and not more than 5-minute speech around a central idea.

First conducted in 1928, this is the second most popular Optimist International Program. Nearly 2,000 clubs participate in this program each year. The winners at the Club level receive medallions and Zone winners receive a plaque. Districts have the opportunity to provide a first place scholarship of $2,500, a second place scholarship of $1,500, and a third place scholarship of $1,000. The student that represented our Club in 2021also won at Region and went on to become the Optimist International World Champion, accumulating $22,500 in scholarships!

The contest is open to contestants under the age of 19 as of October 1st of the current Optimist International contest year (October 1 – September 30) and who have not yet completed secondary school or its equivalent. There is no minimum age. Look for current information on our home page in January, or contact us at fairfaxoptimists@gmail.com


At the Burke Walmart on the first Saturday in December, our Club members ring the bell to solicit donations for the red kettle. Two Club members staff each one-hour shift. We have been fortunate that Walmart has also allowed us to solicit toy donations for children with cancer at the INOVA Fairfax hospital.

We collect new or gently-used books for children of all ages, but especially for pre-school and elementary school children. There are two places we support: the Main Street Child Development Center in Fairfax City and the parents who attend Mountain View High School in Centreville. Both have children in need and appreciate any donations. If we receive books that are appropriate for Young Adults, they can be used for the older siblings. If you would like to make a book donation, please email us at fairfaxoptimists@gmail.com.

Childhood Cancer is a subset of Optimist International’s Childhood Health and Wellness effort. We support children with cancer who are being treated .at the INOVA Fairfax hospital. Our club collects toys and buys character band-aids for the Childhood Cancer Ward. The Ronald McDonald House that provides temporary residence to support families whose child is in the hospital. We make an annual assessment of needs, provide what support we can, and save pull tabs from cans so they can receive financial support from the recycling.

This will give you an idea of Club volunteer possibilities. We currently focus on Childhood Cancer, but are exploring Impaired Vision. Childhood Health & Wellness includes four focus areas (not limited to the examples below):

  • Healthy Lifestyles (Child Obesity, Healthy Eating, Physical Fitness, Happy Heart Advice, March of Dimes)
  • Chronic Diseases (Childhood Cancer, Juvenile Diabetes, HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Sickle Cell Anemia)
  • Mental Health (Depression, Bullying, Abuse)
  • Disabilities – Physical, Intellectual & Developmental (Autism, Special Olympics)

Our Club sponsors two Cub Scout Packs and two Scout Troops in Fairfax City. Pack 882 is an active Pack based at Daniel’s Run Elementary School. Pack 187 meets at the Fairfax United Methodist Church. One of the fun things we help with is the annual Pinewood Derby. Troop 1525B and Troop 1526G meet at St. Mathews United Methodist Church just East of Fairfax City.

Teachers, educators and support staff are critical to our mission of providing hope and positive vision as we bring out the best in our youth. They care about the children, and many spend their own money on items that the children cannot afford or are not provided by the school. Our Club honors at least one of these deserving people annually.

Each month the JOI clubs around the world are doing amazing things for their community. JOI members have opportunities for volunteer, leadership and community service. Depending on their age, children can become a member of an Alpha Club, Junior Optimist Club, or Octagon Club. A JOI club is sponsored by an adult Optimist Club. Our Central Fairfax Club does not currently have an active JOI club, but if there is sufficient interest in the community, we have the experience of sponsoring JOI clubs. fairfaxoptimists@gmail.com

Primarily in November and December, we work with the schools and provide gift cards for one or more families to use according to their needs and preferences. This approach has proven more effective than getting lists of needs and sizes.

Project Opportunity gives support to students at Mountain View High School who are parents of children. This program provides diapers and other baby items, along with a food closet. Our Optimist Club contributes gifts to these students each year. This year books and outfits for each one of the 25 young children were given to their student parents.

It is a very successful program and extremely appreciated by the students because it helps them to continue with their education and provides help for them to succeed once they have graduated

Safety Patrol volunteers and Crossing Guards are critical for the safety of our school children, yet they are rarely recognized for their important service. We believe that recognition and a big “Thank you” is well deserved. In our sponsored elementary schools, we give every Safety Patrol member a nice certificate and for the officers, a cash award. Also we give one Safety Patrol member who is selected by the school staff special recognition.

Optimist Clubs recognize local youth for their efforts in the arts, athletics, academics and community service work.Youth Appreciation projects are intended to make children feel important and highlight their positive contributions to society. Since 1956, this program has given Optimist Clubs the occasion to work with youth toward the common goals of education, career development, physical well-being and community service.

We appreciate donations to support our youth programs. Click below to make a donation today!