Optimist Club: Azalea Festival And New Projects

On Mondays here in LaGrange, there is a group that always meets with the sole purpose of helping the children in our community. This is a group that does not receive enough attention as they should because they are committed to the growth and prospering of the children in our community and are always prepared to help those in need. This is the LaGrange chapter of Optimist International and they have big things planned to help meet their goal of helping the youth, one step at a time.

At this past Monday’s meeting, the first item on the agenda was the guest speaker of the day, Carol Cain. Carol was visiting the group on behalf of the Azalea Storytelling Festival and she did not disappoint. She dispelled some of the myths about storytelling before launching into some stories of her own past and of her childhood memories.

Cain captivated the group with fervor, the same fervor that you could all experience at the festival this year. The Azalea Festival this year takes place on March 4th, 5th, and 6th and will feature nationally acclaimed tellers such as Donald Davis, Michael Reno Harrell, Barbara McBride-Smith, and Ed Stivender. Mrs. Cain will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The event will be held at LaGrange College Callaway Auditorium and will run throughout the entire weekend.

The members of Optimist then discussed to new projects that they will be helping to sponsor. The first of these projects involves the Boys and Girls Club of West Georgia. Recently the head of Boys and Girls Club of West Georgia, Bart McFadden, met with the State Board of Education to discuss implementing the use of Brainjogging.

Brainjogging is a program where visual stimuli are used to enhance learning efficiency. It has been proven to improve attention levels, long term memory retention, build perceptual skills, decrease the amount of tutoring needed, and improve motor skills. After a joint meeting between the Boys and Girls Club and the Optimist Club of La-Grange, as well as Camp Academia, a plan was put into place where funding would be provided so that over 85 children would benefit from this over an 18 week period. Optimist is proud to be involved in project such as this and will have more development in the coming weeks.

Another project being discussed among the group is also again in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club. This project would see that children who are caught in random acts of doing good, such as helping another child or doing their homework without being prompted to, are presented with ‘bucks’or some form of currency which would provide them with a chance to buy things such as a pizza or ice cream party. Optimist knows what a great project this is and wants to take even further steps to help the youth in this community.

In a time where most things in the news or with the press is negative in nature, it is nice to know that there are great groups out there like Optimist International who are still sponsoring projects to help build the future. It is an organization that more than deserves of your time and investment. Be thankful that there are those out there invested in your future, your children’s future, and the future of the world.

Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer