The Optimist Club is a member of the Wilmette Chamber of Commerce and an active supporter of community events. Among our community service activities are the following:
- Wilmette Police Department
The club provides child safety seats, which the police department loans to visitors and others on a short-term basis. The club also donates funds to support the department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, which educates young people on the hazards of drug use. Members of the club assist the department in conducting its annual community open house.
- Holiday parade
The club provides the float that brings Santa Claus to Wilmette at the beginning of each Christmas season. In addition, members help organize the parade and serve as marshals throughout the parade route. We also contribute funds to help underwrite this important community event.
- Misericordia Heart of Mercy
For several years, Optimists have spearheaded the collection of funds in Wilmette to support Misericordia, which provides support to children and adults with developmental disabilities. In 2006, 20 Optimist volunteers collected approximately $2,000 to aid this cause.
- Taste of Wilmette
Our club operates an informational booth at this well-attended event and aids in serving visitors.
- Toys for Tots
The club cooperates annually with the US Marine Corps to collect new toys for distribution at Christmastime to children in need. Typically, the club places 25 collection boxes in various locations and gathers more than 2,300 toys. Over the last seven years, we have provided more than 16,000 new toys for needy kids.
- Wilmette Days Sidewalk Sale
The club provides manpower to assist in the conduct of Chamber-sponsored activities at this event. Optimists also staff a booth that promotes the club's fundraisers and other activities.