7:30 a.m., June 7)
Optimist Club a true asset to the community
By Fred Sherwin
service club standards the Blackburn Optimist Club is
a relatively small organization with just 34 members.
But what the club lacks in size it's members make up for
in their tremendous dedication to their community and
the contribution they make to a variety of programs.
instance, the club donates $2,000 every year to the Blackburn
Fun Fair through money they raise at their weekly bingo
at the Friends Bingo Hall in Vanier.
a lot of people their only contact with the club is during
the Blackburn Fun Fair where the club's members have been
operating a fruit stand for the past 12 plus years.
Fun Faiir purchases the fruit and then the Optimist club
members spend hours cutting it and preparing little containers
which they sold this year for $2 each.
keep the price as low as we can for the kids," says
the club's treasurer Diane Charlebois. "It's nice
to have something affordable that's also healthy."
the Fun Fair, the Blackburn club gets help from Optimist
clubs in Vanier and Beacon Hill. The extra manpower helps
in preparing the fruit which is all seasonal.
club and the stand is there for the kids and young families
looking for a healthy alternative to hamburgers and hot
lot of people look for us now and new people at the fair
appreciate we're there," says Charlebois.
club provides a contribution to the Fun Fair for any of
the fruit that is leftover which they then donate to the
local food bank or other foor programs.
the Blackburn Fun Fair, the Optimist club also donates
money to local church groups, schools and Girl Guide and
the fundraising we do, the money goes back into the community.
That's what a service club is all about," says Charlebois.
of their programs helps pay for kids who want to participate
in end of year school activities like a field trip to
the Calypso Water Park.
have to demonstrate they are trying to raise money on
their own and then we'll step in and make sure they can
go," says Charlebois.
club also contributes to the Opitmists International Canada's
bursary program which awards a $2,500 scholarship to a
lucky recipient in each District every year. The Blackburn
Optimist Club is in District 49 Eastern Ontario.
Club is also involved in the Optimists' Internet Safety
program, which warns against cyber bullying and inappropriate
content, and the Toupaix program which educates children
in primary grades to be careful about what they watch
may be small, but we're very involved," says Charlebois
who has been with the Blackburn club since 1994 and at
various times has served as club secretary, president
and even governor. "One of the things I love about
the club is we're very hands on. We do what we do because
we love doing it."
club is always looking for new members and anyone interested
in finding out more information can contact Diane by e-mail
One question they get asked a lot is the time commitment
required to be a member. The answer is only two hours
more information about the Optimist Club visit http://optimistcanada.org.
club members (l to r) Paul Lapensee, Michel
Belanger, Carole Guindon, Marc Charlebois,
Stephanie Belanger and Diane Charlebois pose
with Ottawa-Orléans MPP Phil McNeely at the
Blackburn Fun Fair.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business
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