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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Optimist Club working to help area kids

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  • Have you ever heard a child ask, "I'm bored; why is there nothing to do?" A group of individuals are in the process of answering that very question.
    The Optimist Club is a service organization whose No. 1 focus is to provide youth with activities, events and projects to help them grow and develop into responsible adults. Brenda Baumann is one of the individuals trying to bring the Optimist Club back to Nebraska City.
    "We're trying to provide involvement and a place to keep kids out of trouble," Baumann said.
    The organization was an active club in Nebraska City, but it fizzled out. The group of eight to 10 people are trying to rebuild the organization after hearing about the growing need of providing positive outlets for children in town.
    "There's a need for an Optimist Club in Nebraska City," member Jason Holman said. "To make it a more youth-friendly Nebraska City."
    In order for the Optimist Club to become a chartered club it needs more members. Past Gov. of the Nebraska District of Optimist International Al Penner said that the local club will need to have 15 people in order to become chartered.
    "It's an effort to bring some people together that are interested in helping youth in Nebraska City," Penner said.
    Penner said that an ideal number of new members would be between 20 to 25 people.
    On July 14, the group had an informal discussion at Pizza Hut to talk about what the organization can do for youth, and to get the club started. They discussed providing projects for children during the evening hours or on weekends.
    "We were throwing ideas out there to figure out what we can do for the youth of Nebraska City. To give them different avenues for things to do in Nebraska City," Holman said about the discussion. "I think it went good. … It's just a matter of getting members involved and then also getting the numbers up to make an organization."
    In the past the Optimists have sponsored many activities and programs for youth, such as: the Nebraska Academic Decathlon, Childhood Cancer Campaign, the Bike Rodeo, essay and oratorical contests, Safety on Wheels, Respect for the Law, youth appreciation, youth sports, substance abuse prevention and Optimist International Junior Golf.
    Nebraska District Zone 5 of Optimist International Lt. Gov. and Auburn Optimist Club member Marvin Shimmel attended the meeting to help get the organization off of the ground. He said being a part of the Optimist Club has been very rewarding for him.
     "I've been a member for over 25 years now and the reason that I continue to be a member is because I love working with the kids, and I believe what the Optimist Club stands for … bringing out the best in kids," Shimmel said.
    Page 2 of 2 -  Anyone is welcome to attend the club's meetings to provide ideas on projects or activities for youth, and people are encouraged to become members. Members must be at least 18 years old to join.
    "Our focus is to be a positive influence for the youth of the local community," Penner added. "That's what we're hoping to do."
     The club's next meeting is Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. in the American National Bank Community Room.
     For more information about the club or to provide ideas on projects for youth, contact Baumann at 873-4906 or Shimmel at 209-0511.
        
       

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