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Hello,

My name is Sophie-Chanel Bourré, and it is an honor to represent you as your Junior Optimist International President for the 2020-2021 year. I am from Ottawa, Ontario, in Canada and a member of the Samuel-Genest high school Optimist club, in the Eastern Ontario District, where I have held the position of President for the past four years. I am also proud to begin my eighth year as a Junior Optimist International member. This organization encourages youth to give back to their community and makes me feel that I am part of a big worldwide Optimist family. I have met so many wonderful people throughout my optimist journey that have the same vision that I do, as well as a place for me to give back to my community, no matter where I am in the world for years to come! I am excited to announce this year’s JOI theme: Shooting for the stars of Optimism. This theme is very dear to my heart. In my day to day life, I have always been encouraged to reach for the stars in other galaxies. I was told that by reaching that far, if I missed, I would still land among the stars! This year, by working with my extremely talented Board of Directors, I plan to help you, our stars of Optimism shine bright as you continue the great work that is accomplished by our organization and by encouraging new members to shoot for the stars of Optimism with you. My goals this year are very clear. To begin my mandate, I plan on improving communication with the youth throughout our organization, by creating an easily shareable distribution list. This will ensure that important information is sent and received at all levels. Also, we will be organizing quarterly, online meetings with the District youth Governors and their advisors to find and share new ways to help our organization thrive and I will strongly encourage our District Governors to do the same with their Club Presidents. We need you, our valued JOI members to help improve participation, growth, inclusion and to continue in the promotion of our organization globally. Let’s work together to help our organization continue to thrive, by continuing to create new international clubs, improve our visibility worldwide via different social media communication platforms and find and share new innovative ways to help our communities and youth in need. This year will be a very different kind of year. But I firmly believe that as optimists we will be able to find new ways to continue helping our communities in need, both virtually and by finding and sharing fun and original ways to give back. Together, while adapting to these changes in our daily lives, let’s make this year an unforgettable one for our organization and youth in need worldwide, by choosing optimism. As written in our optimist creed: Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true, and don't forget to smile because life is beautiful! I hope to see you all either virtually or in person at the 2020-2021 International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Sincerely with Optimism,

Sophie-Chanel Bourré Junior Optimist International President, 2020-2021 scbourre@gmail.com or youthclub@optimist.org

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JULIA COOPER

JAYCE ABRAMS

Hello my Junior Optimist Family,

Hello, my fellow junior optimist!

My name is Julia Cooper and I am the Past President of Junior Optimist International. I am in my first year of university studying teaching at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. A little about myself outside of Junior Optimist International, I love to sing, act and dance (even though I’m not very good). I also love spending time at my family’s cottage where I go boating and wakeboarding.

My name is Jayce Abrams and I was elected to be on your Junior Optimist International Board for the 2020-2021 year. This is a huge honor, I have held many positions in my eight years of Junior Optimist including District Governor.

Past President

Director

I live in a small town called Corunna, Ontario. Outside of Junior Optimist you will usually find me training and teaching Taekwondo. I have been in Taekwondo for seven years, through that time I have competed in twenty-five tournaments and got my black belt.

Being your president has been such an honour for me as I had the honour to lead our organization and got to see all of the amazing things each and everyone of you have accomplished. This year, we pulled off our very first virtual international convention and managed to charter our very first virtual club. Throughout the course of this pandemic, you all have shown immense perseverance, initiative and optimism and every single one of you should be extremely proud of all the hard work you put into this year. This organization and your communities would be nothing without your passion and drive for optimism and for that I thank you.

Also outside of Junior optimist, you will find me down by the water with my friends. Junior optimist has given me the opportunity to meet some of my best friends and I will always be thankful for that. One thing I would like to improve on is communication, I would like to make a website/app/server where people can get on and talk to different people throughout International. I think this is an amazing idea that would be a fun and new way to talk to different people.

I hope that you all continue to lead and serve your communities with the same excitement and drive as this past year because you are all capable of amazing things. You all inspire me so much and I can’t wait to see what this year brings. It is going to be a year to remember and I cannot wait to serve alongside the new board under the leadership of our 2020-2021 president Sophie-Chanel Bourre. Always remember to be Singing in the Key of Optimism and I hope to see you in Atlanta, Georgia!

I am so excited to serve all of you this year. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch with me. I am looking forward to hopefully seeing all of you in Atlanta. Stay safe.

Yours in Optimism, Julia Cooper

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BRYNN GORNEY

ERIN KRAMER

ALEX MONA

Hello!

Hi all!

Hello!

My name is Brynn Gorney and I am beyond excited to serve you on this year’s Board of Directors! I am going into my senior year at Mater Deí Catholic High School in California, where I have been President of our Junior Optimist Club for all four years. When I’m not doing school work or leading service projects, I’m usually creating art, doing music, or running. As I go into my fifth year of Optimism, I’m so grateful for the many friendships, fond memories and personal growth that has resulted from joining the Junior Optimist family.

My name is Erin Kramer and I’m super excited to be a part of the JOI Board this year!

Growing up in an Optimist family, I been involved in Optimist my entire life. With the help of my sister, Amanda, I started a JOI Club in West Des Moines, Iowa, three years ago. I have served in several officer roles, including: Treasurer, Director of Fundraising, Director of Community Service, and District Lt. Governor.

Director

My main goals are to strengthen communication between all members, help to grow JOI membership, and increase participation in Convention. Even with the current circumstances, I know we can continue to live out the Optimist Creed and serve our communities. I will be here along the way to help however I can. I wish you all the best of luck and hope to see you (in person?) at the 2021 International Convention!”

Director

Director

Just a little about me: my favorite color is red, favorite food is chocolate, and I love to read. This year so far has been absolutely insane, but I am certain that we can find the silver lining in all this and use these experiences for the betterment of the future. For this year, my goal is to expand and deepen the connection that international has to local clubs and lay the groundwork for new clubs in parts of South America. If you feel the need to reach out or would like to help me achieve these goals then please, please, please contact me. I look forward to what the future holds for us.

In addition to JOI, I have also actively been involved in activities such as Cross Country, FCA, Show Choir, Jazz Band, Theatre, and Chamber Choir. I am very excited to work with all the other hard-working members of the JOI International Board of Directors and meet JOI members from across the organization! My goals include expanding outreach and impact of our JOI clubs, strengthening communication through platforms such as Zoom and Discord, and committing to being a JOI Board member who listens and provides a voice for Junior Optimists across our organization.

Junior Optimist International was officially formed in 1988. It is the umbrella organization which links the local Junior Optimist International Clubs and Members to others throughout the world. Much like Optimist International, Junior Optimist is governed by an International Board of Directors, as well as District Officers. From the Club level on up, Members have the opportunity to develop leadership and teambuilding skills all while helping communities. Each year there is an International Convention, which gives Members the opportunity to share in the decision-making process of the organization, meet young people with similar interests and goals, grow from training seminars…...and have fun! THE

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Oh, The Places I Would Grow

by Kyra Woodley, Past JOI Board Member

Never did I imagine the places I would grow. Beginning in October, 2011, I was introduced to Junior Optimist from a peer at school. I remember attending my first meeting and it really was a JOI filled experience so I continued to return. More than just games and fun Junior Optimist enabled me to see the potential for impact among ordinary places in my community. Whether it was the classroom, my sports team, or work I was encouraged to reflect the optimist creed and promise myself to commit to improving myself and always seeing the potential in others. 1st Optimist International Convention and celebrating award of Excellence with my advisor Ms. Thames

“

I dare you to choose to be the difference that challenges others to dream.�

In my community with Making a Difference (MAD) JOI on the Club level I began to be stretched beyond my comfort zone and given the opportunity to tap into creative capacities. Southfield/Lathrup Village MAD JOI Club for me was a safe place to grow as well as a great place to be challenged. Sooner than I would have imagined I began to see myself slowly emerging. Junior Optimist provided the perfect space for practicing and developing skill sets without judgement. With the support of Junior Optimist and a wonderful advisor, I would begin delving into responsibility such as chairing projects and collaborating with other optimists in acts of service throughout the state on the district level. The cultivation of curiosity and creativity inside began to expand through the new connections via community outreaches and inspiring collaborative events. Junior Optimist functions challenged my outlook at every encounter and inspired a call to do more in my sphere of impact from the tools, training and workshops I acquired. Before the opportunity presented itself, I wanted to do more. After experiencing several conventions, workshops, and community outreaches, I decided

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maybe I could make an impact at the international level. I began to reach, not knowing if this aspiration of impact would be attainable at the international level. I’m reminded of these familiar words of Wayne Gretzky “we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take”. So, yes while seethed with fear, trepidation, anxiousness, and nervousness, I did it anyway; Reaching, knowing there was a great possibility of failing. Yet as an optimist still we know failure does not have to be final but perhaps a great fall forward committed to learning from our mistakes. Fortunately, onward I went indeed to make an impact at the International level becoming a board of director in the 2014-2015 year. I was able to help put my creativity and ideas to use by helping plan the international convention and even created a workshop “the why not approach”, and lead and overseen committees with other optimists throughout the globe.

Committing to continuous learning of cultures at Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Growing I did; but, arriving I have not. The sights, positions, and places were not the aim or goal but the Joy of operating in more potential. Potential we all have and impact we all can do like brightening a face, providing a welcoming embrace, and encouraging others with what we do and say. Everyday is a new opportunity to choose to be a difference maker. Everyday we can choose to see what is not as if it were and choose to reach.

Currently I am developing in the role as a direct support professional helping to empower others with mental health challenges, working on writing projects, and serving as a youth leader at my church in Muskegon, Michigan.

We can choose to be a difference maker that someone might see. Choose to remember there is always a reason to reach because you may just be the Kobe that inspires greatness from others witnessing your reach. I dare you to choose to be the difference that challenges others to dream. Choose to awaken more greatness that lies within you by beginning to reach. Reach, stretch, grow, and grow and you may be a difference this world will know. You can indeed inspire hope from the daily seeds you intentionally sow. Fun times with Junior Optimist

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O PTI MI ST I NT ER NAT I O N A L YO UT H CO N TE S TS 20 2 0 - 20 2 1 ORATORICAL CONTEST Beginning in 1928, the Oratorical Contest has become the longest-running program of Optimist International. The contest is designed for young people to gain experience in public speaking and provide them with an opportunity to compete for multiple college scholarships with a pre-assigned topic. Topic

District Scholarships: First Place: $2,500 • Second Place: $1,500 • Third Place: $1,000

“Healing the World with Optimism”

with a chance to win up to $22,500 at the World Championships level

ESSAY CONTEST The Essay Contest is sponsored by Optimist International to give young people the opportunity to write about their own opinions regarding the world in which they live. The approach can encompass a young person’s personal experience, the experience of their country or a more historical perspective. In addition to developing skills for written expression, participants also have the opportunity to win a college scholarship!

Topic

“Reaching your Dreams by Choosing Optimism”

One District Scholarship of $2,500

COMMUNICATION CONTEST FOR THE DEAF & HARD OF HEARING This contest offers an opportunity for students 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 contest offers youth the chance to compete in speech or sign language with the chance to win a college scholarship.

Topic

“Healing the World with Optimism”

One District Scholarship of $2,500

KIDS SPEAK OUT! SPEECH CONTEST All young people can compete in the Optimist Oratorical Contest. The “Kids Speak Out” contest is a “pre-Oratorical” program that provides a more equitable competition for younger speakers.

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JOI Pilot Program for International Clubs Created by the 2019-2020 JOI Board

New International JOI Clubs, in the first two years of creation, will receive allocated funds from the JOI Legacy Fund in the amount of $150 for the initial charter and $100 the following year as a renewal. These new International JOI Clubs must not already have sponsor clubs, are not already an existing International Club, or are not currently in an established District. The International Pilot Program will be for the first 24 JOI Clubs , so please contact junioroptimist@optimist.org for more information!

Current International JOI Clubs: Uganda, Sri Lanka, Nepal

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SAVE THE DATE! 2021 JUNIOR OPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL

CONVENTION June 30-July 2, 2021 • Atlanta, Georgia

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Covid-19 Update

As communities around the world are in different phases of pandemic response, we know many Optimists are considering how to return safely to meetings and community-service projects. Optimist International advises Clubs and Members to refer to guidelines from the CDC, WHO and other applicable local and federal health agencies in order to plan careful and safe operations. Please utilize all necessary protective procedures, such as wearing masks, social distancing. Please email junioroptimist@optimist.org your COVID related projects that can be shared with other clubs!

Communication

Throughout the year, there will be Zoom invites with the JOI Board and Committee. Please make sure you have the correct email address submitted to ensure you will be invited to the webinars and meetings!

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The Optimist Creed Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel that there is something in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

C O N TA C T I N F O R M AT I O N

Donna Priester, Chair donnapriester@hotmail.com

Maria Giorlando maria_14_1995@hotmail.com Mary Lou Abrams mlabrams@cogeco.ca

Nancy Wickham mrsnancywickham@gmail.com

Nicole Powell nicolephotography@yahoo.com KimPriebe Kpriebe@rogers.com

CONNECT WITH J U N I O R O P T I M I S T I N T E R N AT I O N A L !

junioroptimist@optimist.org junioroptimist.org Facebook: Junior Optimist International Twitter: @Junior_Optimist Instagram: @junioroptimist Snapchat: junioroptimist Use the hashtag #junioroptimist when tagging photos or stories on social media.

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The Torch - Fall 2020