Want Your Kids/Grandkids to Win a Prize? Look to the Optimists

Optimists Dr. Mike Martini (left) and Dan Ackerman (right) had help from the Palisades High School Ambassadors (left to right) Aaron Benyamini, Eli Safaie-Kia, Kayla Hayempour, Avani Desai and Chase Cronn at the Optimist/YMCA Track Meet in 2019.

Anyone who has watched their kids apply to college knows that not only are grades and test scores considered, but also extracurricular activities and awards/prizes are requested.

Given the pandemic, there have been limited ways for teens to achieve something in the latter category. But the Pacific Palisades Optimist Club is now working with students in eighth grade through high school to help them win first place and $150 in the club’s annual essay contest. This is a nice award that can be listed on an application.

A student needs to fill out an application, which can be found on (https://www.optimist.org/Forms/20-21_Essay_Application.pdf), write an essay on the topic “Reaching Your Dreams through Optimism” and send both the essay and application to contest chair Dan Akerman: 427 10th St., Santa Monica, CA 90402 or by email in a pdf to Ackerman at farsearch@msn.com.

The application for the essay contest contains the rules, which include writing on the topic, containing between 700 and 800 words, double spaced and typed. The essay itself must not contain the entrant’s name, school or address.

The deadline is March 21. In this time of Covid-19, this is a perfect way to have students reflect on Optimism.

The Pacific Palisades Optimist Club was founded on April 17, 1956. The Wall Street Journal, in a February 6 article (“Bad Year? Don’t Gripe at this Club”) commented: “The Optimist International club hasn’t survived 110 years, two world wars, a Great Depression and untold other miseries and disasters by dwelling on the dark side of life.”

Mark Weinsoff, the president of Optimist International, said in the story, “We’ve started a campaign to put optimism first, ahead of community and civil service. Promote optimism as a way of life again. And it’s been proven in studies that optimists live longer.”

He cited studies by medical researchers, who found that individuals with greater optimism are more likely to live longer lives.

Palisades Optimist Club President Rick DeWeese invites people to join the club and notes there are great speakers, always a good joke and the opportunity for members to perform community service. The motto of the club is “Friend of Youth” and “Bringing Out the Best in Youth, in our Communities, and in Ourselves.”

To find out more about the club, contact DeWeese: toggerrick@aol.com.

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