The Optimist Club of Birmingham is a proud supporter of Gateway! The club is a service organization dedicated to “Bringing out the Best in Children” and is affiliated with the Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi District of Optimist International. In addition to the many other services that the Optimist Club of Birmingham offers for youth each year, such as Scholarship Contests, the Club sponsors several projects which benefit foster teens. (Pictured here from left to right: Board Member Ron Taylor, Vice Presidents Linda DeMarco and Anita Jackson, President Wayman B. Shiver, Jr., Treasurer Roger Vaughan, Board Members Ruby Peterson & Nancy Ryan, Secretary Jon Ryan, and Past President Margie Argo. Not pictured: Vice President Nathaniel Washington and Board Members Dr. Paul Amamoo, Joe Cassell and Leon Evans, Jr.)
The Optimist Club of Birmingham first became directly involved with Gateway in 2008 through their Kards for Kids Christmas Campaign, which they continue to sponsor each year, in part, through their partnership with Our Lady of Lourdes Church at the church’s annual Labor Day Festival. In addition to providing Christmas gift cards for foster teens in Jefferson County, the goal of the campaign is to increase awareness of the need for foster care and adoption in our community, especially for teens, and to encourage support for organizations involved with the care of foster teens, such as Gateway.
In 2011, it was brought to the club’s attention that books were desperately needed for the very outdated library at Rushton School. Books were donated from funds raised through a Books-A-Million Book Fair, sponsored by the Optimist Clubs in the greater Birmingham area, in partnership with, then Miss Center Point 2011, Chandler Champion, whose Miss Alabama platform promoted literacy. A special relationship soon developed between Chandler, Rushton School Director Armanda Purifoy, and the Optimist Club of Birmingham. Chandler and the club, with support from other clubs in the area, continued to raise funds to provide books for Rushton School. In December 2012, Ms. Purifoy approached Chandler, then Miss Leeds Area 2013, with a request to develop a functional library for the school. With the donation of time, hard work, and financial support from Chandler and the Optimist Club of Birmingham, the Chandler Champion Rushton School Library, named in Chandler’s honor, held its grand opening on April 19, 2013. Chandler was crowned Miss Alabama 2013 on June 8, 2013. She and the Optimist Club of Birmingham continue to be big supporters of Gateway and the Chandler Champion Rushton School Library!
Posted on Mon, July 14, 2014
by Karin Park