Page 1

Governor Dwight’s Message

“Power of One” Optimists, I

would like, on behalf of the Powerful Caribbean District, to congratulate the tremendous work done by IP Gov. Joe, PDST Sandi and the Hands Across the Caribbean team. You have laid a very solid foundation on which we are going to build the Power of One year. Because of the work done, we are going to experience the best optimist year yet, as I can feel the ground swell, the positive vibes, the renewed commitment and the outpouring of LOVE. Optimists, I am thanking you now for the tremendous year that we are going to have. You are indeed, the BEST people I know. I encourage all of us, to step up a notch in our optimist service, as we continue to allow our children to shine. They need us now more than ever, so we cannot afford to let them down. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. It is my desire that every club undertakes the various optimist projects, such as Essay, Oratorical, CCDHH, Internet Safety, YAW, CCC and the like.

You probably know my mantra by now; “ Let every member feel special” . As we serve the children, let us not forget to serve our members as well, as this is guaranteed to ensure a more committed membership. I look forward to seeing you all at 1st quarter conference, where there will be excellent training opportunities for all, especially our leaders. A reminder: ensure that while we serve the children, that we have FUN. This conference promises to be one of fun and laughter, make sure that you are not left out – be in the arena. We need all optimists to take their obligations seriously, and ensure that dues are paid. I encourage joint projects, so that we can continue to support each other and strengthen each other, to achieve 100%, and then some. Let us re-commit ourselves and continue to provide hope and a positive vision for the children that you serve. For some, we might be their only hope. Have a wonderful conference and continue to Reach Out, Join

IPG Joe’s Message

“Thank you for a great year…“ e did it. In a year when the challenges were many and it would have been easy to give up but we did it. We as Caribbean Optimists stuck to the task and reached out and served the children of our great Caribbean District. Thank you. Thanks to all the District Chairpersons who stepped up to serve and make a difference. Without your selfless service and the tireless efforts of the members who worked with you and assisted you in reaching your goals the Caribbean District would have been poorer. Thank you. Thanks to all our Lieutenant Governors and one very special past governor who stepped in and filled a breach when one of my brave soldiers was forced to step back. You had a tough task and most of you did it well. I can’ t thank you enough for your extraordinary efforts managing your clubs, ensuring they were fully participating organs of our movement, encouraging them to greater efforts and guiding them to embrace the five pillars we set as our goals for the year. We are a better District for your efforts. Thank you. I cannot begin to think how much more difficult it would have been serving as your Governor had it not been for the efforts of my Assistants. They were my body people. Representing me on the fly. Liaising and interacting with the various committees. Ensuring that I and the District were always represented in the best possible light. I thank you. During my year we were blessed with a District Secretary Treasurer, a Finance Chairperson and an Administrator who by their professionalism, dedication, commitment to excellence and their desire to see the


District excel made my job much easier and guaranteed that the District was administered in accordance with the high standards of Optimist International and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. What a year it has been. We built seven new clubs, recruited hundreds of new members, completed a record number of projects, signed up a record number of life members, raised the awareness of Optimism sky high with our projects; fundraisers and various initiatives and by our actions made a difference in the lives of so many children and for that my fellow Optimists I have to thank you the members and officers of all our clubs who despite the challenges looked at the sunny side of everything and made their Optimism shine through. Caribbean Optimists take a bow. Unfortunately good work begets more good work. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Our children need us and I urge you to be uncompromising in your support of Governor Dwight and the Power of One team. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you over the next few months to personally thank you for reaching out. Immediate Past Governor Joseph O. Benfield


Governor Elect

he start of a new Optimist Year is for me a time of great anticipation. It is the time when the new administration steps in and spirits are high. It is a time of recommitment and with refreshed energy we seek to reach greater heights. This year is no different yet it is even more special. We have a dynamic team in place and so my hope is that we will all put the power of one into action for the children in our District. Some of you may have watched the G-Force series popular a few years ago. One fascinating feature was their ability to pool their individual powers into one force and so overcome an otherwise insurmountable foe. This year with the Power of One we can imitate G-Force as we face head on the challenges facing our children. Too often we hear of children

Lynden’s Message

going missing. Some do return home after a few days but it is reported that some end up in undesirable places, intimidated by adults and forced into drug trafficking and prostitution. Many others are ill-treated by their parents/guardian and many others still fall victim to broken homes and are sent to Children’s Homes. Our challenge therefore is to channel our “powers” to influence the welfare of as many of these children as possible. As the Governor Elect, I am on board to lend my “power” to make a difference in the lives of our children, and I challenge the entire Caribbean District of Optimist International to join in and make this a special year. We joined hands last year, let us synchronize our hearts and complete those impactful projects so that the world at large can know that we are powerful people. It is important also that we begin from the outset to think of leadership succession and so I ask

NEW CLUB Optimist Club of


The organisation ceremony for the Optimist Club of Kingston Central which was held on the 29th September 2011 at the Coke Methodist Church Hall, Kingston. Past IVP Ron Bourne and GD Dwight (at the time) performed the organisation formalities. The ceremony was attended by Gov Joe, who was visiting Jamaica at the time.

Optimist Club of


President Grace Ann of the Optimist Club of Christiana making a presentation to the Assistant Matron of the Grey Ground Infirmary in Manchester, Oct 22, 2011

OPTIMIST CLUB North Portmore of



ager to ensure that the youth of Portmore have a safe start to Youth Appreciation Week, members of the Optimist Club of North Portmore assisted by representatives from the National Works Agency repainted the pedestrian crossing in the vicinity of Mega Mart on Saturday November 5. The busy intersection is comprised of two laybys for several bus routes in the sunshine city. Work commenced at 6:30 a.m. with the marking of the area for painting and cordoning off the roadway from vehicular traffic. Three staff members of the National Works Agency, nine club members and two prospective club members completed the job in a record three hours.

The efforts of the club were commended by taxi and bus drivers who honked their horns in support.

Many stated that the repainting

of the pedestrian cross was long overdue and thanked the club for making it happen.


Books for children project

eading is the gateway to knowledge. As a Caribbean people we need to appropriate the vast knowledge around us as a means to accelerate our national, cultural and economic development. It is therefore important that our children learn to read at an early age and continue to do so throughout their lifetime. Optimists seek to bring out the best in children and providing reading material was seen as a good way to encourage a good habit and bring out the best qualities in a group of children. In the September 2011 phase one of a very special program was accomplished. The photo below captures the hand-over of hundreds of books to the St. Ann Parish Library on September 20, 2011. This was the culmination of a series of events. As Lt. Governor then, I sought to initiate a zone project that would have a meaningful impact on the children in the community. Focus was turned to the Paediatric Ward at the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital. This ward has a 48 bed capacity and with average bed occupancy of

77%, it means that any one day there would be some 37 children on the ward. These are averages (NEHRA Heath Care Delivery Report 2008) and so there are usually more children on ward at times. This was considered therefore a wonderful opportunity to have children read. Many are in various stages of recovery and instead of just playing with the many toys or watching television, reading a book was considered a good alternative. This would be extended to have Optimist members spend time to read to children who may not be in the physical condition to read by themselves. P. Lt. Gov Kevin Grant introduced us to Mr. Trevor Purcell and Ms Geraldine Mintz, both in the USA, who were at the time seeking an outlet to donate books to institutions in Jamaica. The books were duly shipped and received earlier in the year. The books would be taken to the Library, where they are being processed to be taken to the Paediatric ward. A ‘drop box’ will be put in place so that books can be rotated and repaired where necessary. This is intended to be a long term project and Optimists will be monitoring the process and ensuring that our children, even when they are out of the classroom for a while for medical reasons,


barbados central


Up and Away by Optimist Merlene

When last did you relive some memorable moment in your childhood - something like a book you read many, many, many years ago. Well the story goes like this. Once upon a time, a group of optimists from a certain optimist club in the land of the Flying Fish, gathered at a primary school to sort books in preparation for the task of setting up a library there.

Photos of the Library before the cleanup

One by one they came, they toiled, they sorted the books: gold dots for teacher resource books; purple for poetry; pink for art/craft/music/cooking/sport/hobbies; pale blue dot for farming/products/ manufacturing/food; pale green dot for geography/flags/weather/festivals; based on the categories identified by the Reading Specialist at the school. Now mind you, Optimist AG also doubles as the JOOI Club Advisor and Reading Club Advisor and Youth Clubs Chair.

The Cataloguing scheme

Members and one member’s daughter

JOOI Club Parent sorting

From time to time they came across familiar stories and even some unfamiliar ones and they stopped to read a little...they were going back in time.

Then they heard one optimist who was once an Optimist First Lady, shout out - Up and Away! Folks this is a book I read as a little child! She recognised the book first by the cover so she delved deeper. She remembered the story, she remembered the names of the characters, she was in heaven...Everybody just stopped work to rejoice with her. Everyone wanted to touch and feel this precious bookď‚žan absolute treasure.

The Great discovery See their faces of delight!!!

She immediately declared that she would take it home to read to her own daughter and better still she could not wait to call her sister over and away on Florida to tell her she had found Up and Away! That was the find of the day. That book was stamped 17th May, 1956, and no, Optimist AWE was not born then, but the book existed way back then. And to top it off, when the Advisor checked on us to see how we were progressing with the sorting she too exclaimed that she had read that story.

The stamp on the book

But you know who got to borrow the first book from the unfinished library...and note too that there is a fine for late return for the book because by now everybody wanted to read that book....well get in line....Up and Away! And if you don’t believe me, check out the photos and watch the expressions on their faces....


Optimist Club

our club. On Saturday mornings we go there from 9 A.M. – 12P.M. to teach a set of fourth grade students English, in preparation for the Grade Four Assessment Test, which the students are required to pass in order to be eligible to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Examinations. Our team was further inspired to know that not only has the pass rate increased since the beginning of the programme, but some of the students from last year have actually returned to solidify the lessons they have learnt and are still able to participate in the classes we keep. We are looking to increase the pass rate for students in these exams by at least another 20% this year. Saturday, October 29, 2011 was a day packed with service for our members, as we had the usual Mountain View Tutoring in the morning, and then we had our visit to the University Hospital of the West Indies Wards 14-16 (The children’s wards) scheduled from 2P.M. that afternoon. This is one of the ways in which the club ensures that there is something for all of our members to do. It was a touching visit, to say the very least and was attended mainly by members who lived on hall. There were at least three children in the hospital who were receiving treatment for Leukemia, which is a devastating cancer of the bone and marrow. The stories we heard were tear-jerking and real, to imagine a three-month-old baby who was admitted and has not been visited by parents or any family for three weeks is not something any normal person, much less an Optimist, could hear without feeling anything. The most rewarding thing to see was the nature of Optimism in children, who through the telling of their stories did nothing but smile, as they enjoyed the attention and the get-well cards we presented them. Between the children and their thankful relatives, we enjoyed ourselves and gave” every living creature a smile”. One of our new initiatives is our toy drive which we began on Thursday, November 3, 2011 and we have begun to collect already! We will


aving celebrated our two-year anniversary on October 9, 2011, the Optimist Club of UWI Mona (a College Club) continues to actively deliver on its mandate, “Helping Young People Excel”. Not only have we continued to deliver on our service programmes, but we have widened the scope of our outreach, incorporating more initiatives being undertaken by Optimist International.


Since the start of our year (September), we have completed two projects, two International Mandates and have two more on-going projects. On September 15, 2011 - our Club made Caribbean District History, by hosting our first Inter-Club N.O.W. Meeting with The Optimist Club of Shortwood Gardens. It was only fitting that this initiative should be taken on by two college clubs in the District, and it was a great success. The idea came from the fact that it would be more efficient to pool our resources into holding one fantastic meeting, at which our prospective members could see the power of Optimists working together not only in the field, but also in our own clubs to truly bring out the best in kids. From that meeting, we have managed to close thirteen members, and there are now forty prospective members, who are in the process of completing their membership obligations. One OI Mandate covered, one to go! Merely two days later (September 17, 2011), we were out in the field, doing what we do best - serving! We worked for hours on International Beach Cleanup Day with our sponsor Club (Sunset Kingston) to clean up the beach at Wickie Wackie, St. Thomas. Our cumulative efforts saw us collecting more than 60 bags of garbage. We believed that starting our year off with joint service was the best way. Next up, was the commencement of one of our flagship projects: The Tutoring programme at the Mountain View Primary School. This was an initiative set up by our sponsor club, but which has essentially been taken up and continued by


Oratorical contest

CCDHH COMPETITION Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) Topic: “How my Optimism Helps me Overcome Obstacles”


he Oratotical contest is one of the most desired and relevant contests in the history of Optimisim. Lieutenant Governors kindly check with your presidents to encourage and ensure that all clubs have their prospective contentants and have received Application Forms and the Rules of the contest. The topic for the Power of One Year: ‘ HOW MY OPTIMISM HELPS ME OVERCOME OBSTACLES’

Who: The contest is open to young people through

grade 12 in the United States and Canada, to CEGEP in Québec and grade 13 in the Caribbean, who are educated in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean. Students must submit the results of an audiogram completed no longer than 24 months prior to the date of the contest by a qualified audiologist. Students must be certified to have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or more, which must be supported by the audiogram in order to be eligible to compete.

How To Enter: Interested students should contact their local Optimist Club.

The deadline to enter is determined by the sponsoring Club.

It’s imperative that we assist our young people to strive for excelence as this is one of the ways we can certainly ‘bring out the best in them’

Clubs and Districts

The earlier the children start to prepare the better advantage they will have in achieving at the top, and this will build their morale and confidence

This contest offers an opportunity for children who are deaf or hard of hearing to present their thoughts in the community, gaining skills, which can only come from signing or speaking to a large audience. Patterned after the Optimist Oratorical Contest, the Communication Contest For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing offers hearing impaired youth the chance to compete in speech or sign language.

which will contribute in making them better individuals and making us proud. Please, let’s do it for the children.

The deadline for Clubs to submit their winner to the next level of competition is set by the District. District deadline to submit a winner to Optimist International is June 15, 2012.

Optimist International Foundations fund a $2,500 scholarship to any District that meets the minimum participation criteria.

Certificates of Participation

If your Club or District is sponsoring a contest, certificates of participation can be presented to contestants.


Progressive Optimist Club of



he Progressive Optimist Club of Barbados, the newest Optimist Club on the island, conducted its first Respect for Law project on November 25, 2011 at the Sayes Court Children’s Home. The Sayes Court Children’s Home was adopted by the Progressive Optimist Club of Barbados in July 2011 and it currently cares for nine children (three girls, six boys) between the ages of six and 10 years old. The Respect for Law Project involved a visit by by Sargeant Carl Williams of the Royal Barbados Police Force to speak to the youngsters on their roles and responsibilities as good citizens. At the start of the session, many of the children seemed to have a one-sided view of what the Police were responsible for in the community. Many of them saw the Police as the force that “locks people away”. They did not see it as an entity that was there to serve and protect people. Once the discussions started, many of the children started to open up more and see the police in a different, more favourable light.

The Progressive Optimist Club of Barbados chose to run this project as part of our development

work with the Sayes Court Children’s Home due to the identified need for the children to be given some guidance in understanding the importance of respecting persons in authority and other peoples’ property, as some of the attendants and supervisors at the home had identified disobedience and petty theft as areas of concern. Along with the talk by Sargeant Williams, the children were also encouraged to complete a Progressive Respect for Law Activity Booklet, which encouraged them to reflect on the positive attitudes associated with being law abiding and to identify other persons within the wider community who deserved their respect. Each child was awarded a certificate at the end of the session as a reward for their participation, which they accepted with visible pride. The Progressive Optimist Club hopes that this project will have a positive effect on their interactions with each other and their caretakers at the home, as well as a spill-over effect into their school environ, community, and family for those who still remain in close contact with their relatives.

Optimist Club of



President Marcia and Sec/treasurer Annesha reading to children from the Children’s ward of the Princess Margaret Hospital : Optimist reading day 2011

Optimist Club of

Anguilla O

ptimist Club of Anguilla partners with Civic minded Individual for a Young Quadriplegic in Anguilla. Celsa Connor is a civic minded individual who is making a mark in the Anguillian community. She first came to the attention of the Optimist Club of Anguilla when she approached the club asking for assistance for Mr. Quinn Claxton, a young male quadriplegic in Anguilla. Zenas Quinn Claxton (D.O.B. 17 October1990) was a straight ‘A’ student. He commenced his studies at the University of St. Thomas in July 2009. Three and a half months into his tenure there, he was travelling from one end of the Campus to the library at the other end when he was tragically thrown from the back of a pick-up and sustained massive head injuries for which he was subsequently treated in St. Thomas, Puerto Rico and Anguilla. Since early 2010 he has been back in Anguilla, being taken care of primarily by his mother, brother and grandmother. He can breathe on his own but is fed by a tube in his stomach. Because of his condition her requires 24/7 care provided by his mother. The Optimist Club of Anguilla was moved by this

story and by the selfless actions of Celsa Connor who has been putting a portion of her own money into the care of this young man. Celsa has also been working tirelessly to secure funding from the private sector, non-governmental organisations and the general public for Quinn’s ongoing care. Optimist Penny Hope-Ross volunteered as the liaison for the Optimist Club of Anguilla and is working directly with Celsa to solicit help from the Anguillian Community. The Optimist Club of Anguilla has sent letters to all Churches and numerous business places asking for assistance. We were gratified and rewarded for our efforts when a local business stepped forward to provide a washer and dryer to Quinn’s family. The family’s washer had broken down and his mother was washing sheets and other items daily by hand. Through the use of the Optimist name and reputation, we hope to help Celsa and the family to secure further donations and assistance which can help to reduce the financial burden they now bear. The Optimist Club of Anguilla remains committed to helping youth and we hope that somehow we can help to make a difference in the life of this young man whose future has been so tragically

Liguanea Optimist Club of

Breakfast at Marie Atkins Basic School


any consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day, a good breakfast provides the nutrients that people need to start their day off right. Children who eat a good breakfast tend to perform better in school, and have a better attendance and decreased hyperactivity. Children who don’t eat breakfast tend to perform not as well, and also tend to have behavior problems such as fighting, stealing, and not listening to their teachers (Dr. Ronald Kleinman, Harvard Medical School). Armed with this information, the Sunset Optimist Club of Liguanea decided to “start the day of right” for students at the Marie Atkins Basic school in the Waterhouse community. The Activity was the first in a set of activities as the club carried out as a part of Youth Appreciation Week. Act II Restaurants provided 30 mini meals for the children that morning. After a short devotion, it

became quite clear how much the breakfast was appreciated as President Glaister Green and members of the club served each child with their meal. The delighted children could hardly wait to complete saying their grace before enjoying their meal. The activity also gave club members an opportunity to connect with some of the students as each sat to assist some of the smaller children open their mini breakfast. “Its quite a satisfying feeling to work with children in this way, what they are unable to express in words is certainly said with smiles” said President Glaister. The Marie Atkins Basic School is just one of the adopted schools by the club where various projects aimed at the schools overall improvement are conducted throughout the year. Other Youth Appreciation Week activities included a tour of the Gleaner Company with students at Rousseau Primary, a presentation at the Queens High School and a $5000.00 Book Grant Ceremony for




n September 25, 2011, the Sunshine Optimist Club held its Annual Wine, Cheese and Jazz fundraising function at The Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, Rockley, Christ Church. Guests were treated to a wide selection of cheeses and wines while enjoying the cool Atlantic breezes and being serenaded by the strains of sweet, mellow music played by Willie Kerr, guitarist and Terry Arthur, steel pannist. The door prize of dinner for two at one of Accra’s restaurants, Wytukai, was generously donated by the hotel. At the request of Optimist Faye Wharton-Parris of the Bridgetown club, Immediate Past LTG Adrian Sinckler carried the message of Internet Safety for Adults to the PTA of The St. Michael School on Thursday, October 13, 2011. Adrian did a wonderful job presenting the material which was well received by the parents and guardians.

IP LTG Adrian doing the Internet Safety for Adults presentation at the St. Michael School.

St. John Optimist Club of

Prison rehab programme to give inmates educational boost


T JOHN’S, Antigua – A new prisoner rehabilitation programme is underway at 1735, with inmates who completed secondary and tertiary level education helping to tutor those who fell through the cracks at school. But teachers are being urged to come forward, “even if once a week, for an hour” for the Optimist Club of St John’s and Directorate of Gender Affairs initiative. “Pressing on to the Greater Achievement of the Future” was formally launched on Friday with the dedication of the library and a classroom at Her Majesty’s Prison. Just before reading a self-penned poem titled “Achievement” an inmate encouraged his peers to “support the positive education opportunity with open minds”. He referenced the conversion of Saul the persecutor of Christians into an apostle of Jesus Christ. All the speakers espoused the importance of education to the rehabilitation of those who had run afoul of the law. President Elect of the Optimist Club of St John’s Craig Rijkaard said the Declaration of Kampala recommends that prisoners have access to education and to a vocational training programme that would give them the opportunity to better reintegrate into society. He said the intention is to eventually have, “con-

tinuous, fulltime classes scheduled,” in as many as 10 areas. “We suggest classes should be small at first, not more than eight students, to allow quality contact time,” advised the research officer at the Directorate of Gender Affairs. He is optimistic that at least 15 inmates could be prepared to take one or two CXC/CSEC subjects in May and June next year. And a scholarship programme has been established to fund the exam registration fees of inmates, but again assistance is being sought this time from the private sector and civil society. It’s been acknowledged that the library and classroom are “small”, but this is being seen as the first step towards “bigger things”. Rijkaard’s Optimist predecessor, Karen HarrisQuinland said a “change has come over her majesty’s prison”. And she heaped praise on the inmates, saying they had done most of the work in refurbishing the library and classroom. Superintendent of Prison, Percy Adams, welcomed the rehabilitation programme saying it would go a long way to help inmates “acquire better things” when they are released. “It’s about giving inmates a leg up when they are released,” was how National Security Minister, Dr Errol Cort, summed it up.

Optimist Club of

St. Andrew

Optimist Club of North St. Andrew increases its membership. Sponsor members stand proudly beside the new members of our club  after receiving their pins.  

Going Green! Members of the Optimist Club of North St. Andrew among other Optimist members who helped to plant a tree during the JOOI clubs Tree Planting Project held at the Salvation Army for the Blind recently.

Optimist Club of North St. Andrew increases its membership. Sponsor members stand proudly beside the new members of our club after receiving their pins. 

Optimist Club of


a well deserved visit from the optimist club of Mandeville

President Melione and Optimist Omar, making a cheque presentation of $15,000 to cancer student Shana Campbell and Mom children waiting for optimist Kristel to wish hair

Clarendon Optimist Club of

Prayer Breakfast and installation Ceremony

Head table - Gov. Dwight, Ltg Rupert (Zone 7), Guest Speaker Pastor Robert Ellis and the CP Vernon.

OI Caribbean District's 1st Quarter Newsletter-2012  
OI Caribbean District's 1st Quarter Newsletter-2012  

Optimist International -Caribbean District shares some of the great projects that are conducted throughout the caribbean.