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each September for 15-plus years.

In recent years, some of those funds raised have gone toward Challenge Day at Kiel High School. Challenge Day works to pull classmates and school communities closer together by ending bullying and helping students get to know each other better as individuals. Hecker, Lefeber and other Optimists have volunteered their time at Challenge Day and have seen its power. Lefeber has even donated some of his time to help Valders High School bring the program there. “It’s nice to see that program staying alive and growing,” he said. “You almost have to live it.”

The Kiel Optimist Club also has donated toward the Kiel Area Youth Theatre. In the past it has given to Kiel youth sports and the Kiel robotics team. It continues to sponsor the annual Easter Egg Hunt in the community, it still sends youth representatives to the Closeup program in Washington, D. C., and it donates toward local seventh graders going to camp each year.

All those activities require more than money—they also require person power. The club presently has between 30 and 35 members. It hopes to add to those numbers on Tuesday, April 12 via a NOW program—New Optimists Wanted—at Millhome. To attend that program or learn more about the club, call Hecker at (920) 901-4641 or e-mail her at bnbhecker@tm.net.

The Kiel Optimist Club meets the second Tuesday of each month starting at 6:30 p. m. with the location of those meetings changing on a monthly basis.