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Optimist Club seeking members

March 14, 2012 - Are you an optimistic person? Are you someone who cares about society's youth?

Are you the type of individual who's looking to get involved in your community and really make a difference?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Optimist Club of Oxford would like to recruit you as a member.

Founded in October 2011, the club currently consists of 19 charter members, who meet twice a month.

"We're still in our infancy," said club President Gail Toth.

Optimist Clubs are dedicated to "bringing out the best in kids" and doing their part to help others through community service projects. Optimists strive to live up to their name and maintain an upbeat attitude, which they try to pass along to the children they serve.

With five grandchildren in the Oxford area – and a sixth one on the way – Toth saw the Optimist Club as a natural fit for her.

"The youth are our future," she said. "It's important to get them started off right."

One of the ways the Optimist Club of Oxford is helping youth reach their potential is through its Oratorical Contest.

Open to students (under age 18) from Oxford High School and Oxford Middle School, the contest gives participants the opportunity to compose and recite a speech about "how my optimism helps me overcome obstacles."

Toth said the contest is designed to help young people "stretch themselves and grow" by instilling in them the kind of self-confidence that's derived from speaking in public.

"You don't know you can do something until you try it," she said.

Students who wish to enter the Oratorical Contest have until Monday, March 19 to enter by contacting Dan Sullivan at (248) 830-2575 or at dansullivan@oxparkrec.org.

The contest will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21 in the Oxford Village Council chambers located at 22 W. Burdick St.

Toth noted the Optimist Club of Oxford is also planning to conduct some fund-raisers in order to send five local kids to the Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Day Camp for a whole week this summer.

"That's a goal of ours," she said.

The Optimist Club of Oxford meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. The first meeting is held in the Oxford Village Community Room (22 W. Burdick St.) at 7:30 a.m. The second meeting is a luncheon held at Red Knapp's American Grill (2 N. Washington St.) at 11:30 a.m.

"We're always looking for members," Toth said. "Come share your optimism about youth and their potential."

For more information about the Oxford club, contact Toth at (586) 255-0709 or via e-mail at gailmtoth@gmail.com.

For more information about Optimist International, please visit www.optimist.org.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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