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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Optimist Club coming to Essex Youth Centre

by Adam Gault

For the past 30 years, the Junior Optimist youth service organization has made positive impacts in communities across the world in its mission to embrace positive values and support community service and fundraising efforts at the local level.

Now, youth in Essex, between the ages of 13 and 18 (grade 8 to graduating grade 12), will have the opportunity to take part in this internationally recognized service club beginning Thursday, June 27, as the Essex Youth Centre founded its own chapter of the venerated organization.

“The whole club is going to be youth-run,” Essex Youth Centre Co-ordinator, Tauner Martin, explained. “They’re going to come up with their own ideas, and they’re going to act on them, and then we would just be their mentors.”

The parenting Essex Optimist Club is sponsoring the Junior Optimist Club, which will be free to all youth looking to take part. Getting involved will offer an excellent way to fulfill high school graduation requirements for community service. Youth may even learn some very important real-world skills.

“This is a great way for anyone who wants to get more involved,” Bryanna Currie said, who is a fellow Essex Youth Centre Coordinator. “I know for kids now, it’s hard to build resumes. So, it’s really great for people who want to get more involved in the community, build their interpersonal skills, too. Whoever’s voted in as the secretary or treasurer will be able to learn financial skills. It helps kids become more well-rounded.”

As for what sort of community-based efforts or fundraisers the Essex Junior Optimist Club will take part in, that is entirely up to the youth involved. It will be up to them to vote and decide upon what they would like their group to focus. They will demonstrate cooperation and compromise in the decision-making process.

“It’s all service-learning projects that they’ll do,” Martin said. “They’ll come up with fundraisers, they’ll raise money and give it back to somewhere in their community, or they do community service. They can volunteer for things. It’s all about giving back to Essex.”

The first meeting is Thursday, June 27, at 7pm. There are still spaces available for registration, and there is no commitment necessary.

To register, call the Essex Youth Centre at 519-776-9000 or visit


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