The Optimist Club of Merrill has elected Amanda Kostman for 2013-2014 Merrill Noon Optimist President. Kostman began her term on Oct. 1 by presenting donations. Kostman has been a dedicated member of the Optimist Club for six years. “I am looking forward to serving as the leader of such a dedicated group of individuals in the coming year,” Kostman said. “I am proud of the work we do for children locally, and I hope to see our club strive in its efforts in the year ahead.” The Optimist Club of Merrill has been supporting the youth of Merrill for since 1968.
Kostman started her duties by presenting a check to Jessica DeJong of Merrill and her sons for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Caleb DeJong has type 1 diabetes and the family participated in the JDRF’s Annual Central Wisconsin Walk to Cure Diabetes event on Oct. 5. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D) by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating and preventing T1D. The Optimist club of Merrill also supports Juvenile Cancer Research through donations into the Optimist International Childhood Cancer Campaign to combat this disease as well by passing a piggy bank at each club meeting. Optimist International established the Childhood Cancer Campaign (CCC) in the hopes of bringing greater service to affected families, helping to fund research and supporting projects at the local community level.
The Optimist Club of Merrill believe that giving youth a safe and positive place to socialize after community event that are not only is a lot of fun but also encourages healthy behavior. Kostman presented Dawn Smith of the Merrill Parks and Recreation Department a donation for the 5th quarter program. 5th Quarters are held for grades 6, 7 and 8 after home football games at the Smith Center in Merrill. Kostman also presented a check to the After the Bell program at Prairie River Middle School. This program is available for all middle school students whether they attend public or parochial school from 3:05 – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the Prairie River Middle School on regular school days. Overall, the research shows that children who are supervised and engaged in structured activities are less likely to participate in high risk activities. For middle school students, being supervised after-school reduces by half the risk that they will smoke, drink, or abuse drugs. At a time when families and communities are struggling financially and kids are falling behind academically, afterschool programs are needed now more than ever.
Optimist International is one of the world’s largest service club organizations with 93,000 adult and youth members in 3,200 clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico and throughout the world. Carrying the motto “Bringing Out the Best in Kids,” Optimists conduct positive service projects that reach more than six million young people each year. To learn more about Optimist International, please call (314) 371-6000 or visit the organization’s website at www.optimist.org.