South Texas District of Optimist International

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A Message from the Governor
Gateway Optimist Club of Laredo, the youngest and newly formed club in South Texas District had its first fundraiser and community project. I was very proud and excited to attend this event. The fundraiser included selling raffles for three items donated from Best Buy. This event raised $2,000. The community project was a Christmas party for the families and kids who resided at the Bethany House. This included five families and over 20 kids. Santa was present to lift the spirits and hand out gifts.  The kids were asked in advanced what they wanted for Christmas and each kid and family received exactly what they asked for. To see the happy faces on the kids and to see the parents cry let everyone involved know that this community project was a success.
The community project included receiving gifts from Santa, breaking a piñata, playing arcade games, receiving gift bags and assorted gifts from the Club, and pizza from Peter Piper Pizza. The families were able to take pizza home with them. The Club demonstrated unity by wearing their Club shirts designed for this community project. The Club President Guadalupe Sandoval stated that during this holiday season she felt that this was a needed community project because so many kids go throughout this season without knowing the importance of giving and receiving.  One parent stood up and thanked the Gateway Club for having this event because her 7 year old daughter had never celebrated Christmas and she neither knew nor believed in the spirit of Christmas. Mother and daughter cried from happiness. 
Bethany House started in 1982 as a soup kitchen to feed 18 people.  The life and purpose of the Bethany House is to ”feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.”  Bethany House was named after the city of Bethany, Israel.  It is noteworthy because it had significance during Jesus’ era.
Bethany is a small village outside of Jerusalem. For Jesus it was a place where he could go when he needed to rest and, for a little while, escape the cares and problems of the world. The founder, Father McNaboe, a Catholic Priest, wanted Bethany House to also be a place of respite, a place where anyone who was hungry could come and get something to eat, a cup of coffee, and temporarily escape the cares of their day to day existence.”  For over 30 years, Bethany House has continued to carry on the original mission to “feed the hungry and shelter the homeless”. Today they have grown to an entity that serves more than 30,000 meals each month to the indigent, the homeless, the homebound, or anyone who is hungry and asks for their help. They are the only agency of its kind in Laredo. They serve three hot meals a day six days per week, deliver meals to the homes for the elderly and disabled and prepare meals for children’s programs throughout the city.
Second Quarter District Meeting
Our next District Meeting will take place February 20th through the 22nd at the Holiday Inn Airport in San Antonio. Below is a link to the Registration Form and also a link to book your hotel room online. The rate is $99.00 and the group is OPT (the link already knows that info)
A Great District Meeting

We had a successful First Quarter Conference in Laredo October 24 – 26, 2014. In attendance, we had the First Lady of Optimist International, the Southwest Region Vice President, the Governor of North Texas, and local dignitaries. The first full day was filled with training, ice breakers, and guest speakers. Viky Garcia from the Laredo Humanitarian Relief Team gave us a presentation involving young kids and families from Central America on their plight to the United States. The presentation was both heartwarming and sad. To see the look on the faces of the kids on the pictures when they were being helped made everyone present feel proud to be optimists. We are making a difference in kid’s lives. The presentation of a local heroine was given by the Webb County Heritage Society. Laredo is embedded with a rich history. The presentation was informative and exciting.

That evening, the banquet began with most people wearing costumes. It was hard to pick winners. Each costume had a meaningful and funny theme. Near the end of the banquet, several people in attendance left the banquet to form a new club. Jack Hopkins was the field representative who graciously installed the new club. The International President, Ken Garner, skyped and spoke to the new members. This was exciting. The new club, Gateway Optimist Club of Laredo, was introduced to the South Texas District.

The next day we had the General Session and a report of each committee within the District was given. The status of the District is strong. The Conference ended with a presentation by the Southwest Region Vice President by our own Jan Oord Graves. She delivered an inspiring and motivational speech. We cited the Optimist Creed and adjourned the Conference. You could feel the optimism in the air. We are well on our way to achieving our District Goals. We will continue to Stay the Course.


The Metrocom Optimist Club built a new Junior Optimist Club at Elaine S. Schlather Intermediate in Live Oak. The Installation, conducted by O. I. Vice President Jan Oord Graves was held November 14, 2014, with numerous District officers and past officers present. Pictured below is Metrocom President Nancy Mason, the kids, and the Principal of the school.

Gateway Optimist Club of Laredo
Some of the 30 members of the new Gateway Optimist Club at the New Club Follow Up Program put on by Fay Hopkins on December 2nd.
Zone 6 Competition
Zone 6 Lt. Governor Jack Hopkins announced the 2014-2015 Zone 6 Competition at the November 8th Zone Meeting. To see the current score sheet, with its Navy theme, CLICK HERE...
Young Texan/TexAnne
New information, forms and instructions are available for the Young Texan/TexAnne program. CLICK HERE to see the details
Optimist International has a new official supplier for Optimist International logo and trademark items, Shumsky, Inc. Contact Information is:
(877) 678-2582
Fax: (800) 414-8943

Read Optimist Internatioal Executive Director Benny Ellerbe's announcement letter. CLICK HERE...
Club of the year Guidelines CLICK HERE...
Christmas Party
The Fort Sam Houston Optimist Club had its annual Christmas Party for the patients at the San Antonio Military Medical Center Pediatric Oncology/Hematoly unit on December 13th. Over 180 patients and family members were in attendance. There was lunch for all, and many games for the kids. A face painter and balloon twister were very popular. There were prizes for all the kids, and Santa's visit was very special.
Other Holiday Happenings

2015-2016 O.I. President-Elect Nominations
Our own Ron Graves, Past Distinguished South Central Texas District Governor in 2002-2003, past O.I. Vice President, Past Optimist International Foundation President, has been nominated, along with 2 others, to run for the position of O.I. President for 2017-2018. Lets all give Ron our support.
The final nominee witll be determined by the committee on January 29th.