Optimists help Kiel kids achieve best
By Mary Matsumoto
Stacy Schweitzer (left) and Scott Zipperer are the co-presidents of the Kiel Optimist Club which does numerous things each year for the kids of the area.

The dictionary defines an optimist as one who has “the tendency to expect the best and see the best in all things.”

For members of the Kiel Optimist Club, that means more than a philosophy— that means community action.

Making up an international organization, Optimists number around 87,000 volunteers, sharing a desire to “Bring Out the Best in Kids.” To that end, worldwide, 2,900 clubs provide 65,000 service projects, spending $78 million to benefit over 6 million young people each year.

On a local level, the organization has provided dedicated service to charitable causes in Kiel for 32 years, offering more than $400,000 to local families through programs and projects.

Every year, for instance, the Optimists join the local Lions Club to spend hours organizing the Kiel Picnic. Actually, it’s a never-ending project because once one event ends, planning begins for the following year’s picnic.

This year, the picnic will be held Aug. 8-11. Besides providing a memorable experience for the residents of Kiel each year with good food, music, rides and association, the proceeds go to community projects.

Egg hunt on March 30

In addition to the picnic, the club will sponsor an Easter egg hunt on March 30 at Hingiss Park and invites the community to take part.

The between $15,000 to $25,000 generated each year from the events goes back into the community to fund projects that include everything from donations to the Kiel Food Pantry to the Kiel Public Library’s reading program, from Kiel Safety Patrol, Youth Baseball and the high school’s Science Club to the Domestic Violence Center and much more.

The club regularly helps students go to Washington, D. C. in April to spend an educational week learning about government through the Close Up program. Here, they tour famous monuments and memorials, walk through the halls of Congress and meet Washington insiders.

The Kiel Optimists also contribute money to send two junior boys and two junior girls to the Badger State group where they spend a week in a dorm setting on campus to learn about government on a state level.

For the past seven years, the Kiel Optimist Club has worked to provide documented identification of young children and seniors through the Safe-Assured I. D. Program.

Nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year, which means 2,000 each and every day. The faster the word gets out through law enforcement and media alerts, the more likely a missing child will be found safe. The SafeAssured Program provides the information needed to make the search quickly and efficiently by taking action ahead of time.

SafeAssured Child ID and Senior ID kits meet and exceed the standards set up by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Each kit includes all 10 electronically imaged fingerprints, a digital photograph, a streaming video showing mannerisms and the gait with a linked audio file with the child’s voice inflection and accent, the physical description, street address, date of birth, any life-threatening medical conditions, identifying scars, marks or tattoos, a full color photo data card and a Parents’ Guidebook with prevention tips.

The kit contains everything needed

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