County has ‘new reason to be optimistic’
by Robert Joseph Baker | July 13, 2017 1:38 pm
Clarendon County has a new organization dedicated to a variety of causes that support children.
The Optimist Club of Clarendon County was officially chartered this spring, and its next meeting will be 6 p.m. July 13 at Shoney’s of Manning.
“Clarendon County has a new reason to be optimistic,” said club President Lisa Justice. “We plan to begin several projects advocating for local children this fall.”
Also know as Friends of Youth, Optimist Club members volunteer their time for a variety of causes and events aimed at supporting local kids. Optimist International has nearby chapters in Sumter, and Sumter Evening Optimist Club Member Outreach Coordinator Gail Hyatt was instrumental in starting the local chapter, Justice said.
“Members can do a little or a lot, and each chapter chooses its own focus,” she said. “So far, we have made plans to collect school supplies for the Turbeville Home for Children and to volunteer with the Special Olympics. We hope to sponsor a fundraiser soon.”
Justice is hopeful that the club will eventually “get involved with our local school districts (to) sponsor awards for student recognition or tutoring,” she said.
She said charter members of the club and a Board of Directors were sworn-in May 11 by South Carolina District Gov. Ginny Ricker. Board members include Justice, Secretary-Treasurer Moira Kammerer, Beth Brownlee, Mark Justice and Brittany Tindal. Charter members include Sharon Andrews, Susan Barkley, Charles Brownlee, Ann Cutter, Janie Dennis, Amber Dollard, Doug Griffin, Sharon and Tommy Hall, Judy Hershberger, Gail Hyatt, Buddy Justice, Jenn McNeely, Margaret Perkins and Russell Urga.
While Optimist members are volunteers, they do pay membership dues to help with club activities. The current initial membership fee is only $15 through September. Quarterly dues are $25.
“These dues provide for our connection to Optimist International, as well as a nest egg to start our projects,” Justice said. “We are always looking for new members who want to make a difference in our community. All are welcome.”
Board member Brittany Tindal said she is proud to be part of such an organization. She added that it’s one of the more “budget friendly” civic organizations in the Clarendon area.
“It’s a great organization for anyone in our community who has been looking for ways to inspire, lead and care for our youth,” she said. “You can be an instrumental part of a child’s life while making friends and often seeing a positive change in yourself. You can devote as much or as little time as your schedule allows.”
For more information, call Justice at (803) 473-2531.