With the recent launch of Carmel Valley Middle School’s Junior Optimist Club, students on the campus will have plenty of opportunities to give back to the community. Sponsored by the Del Mar-Solana Beach Optimist Club, club members work to promote positive change in the community, while preparing for high school.
“We hope to make their transition to their next level of education easier and also prepare them for their life beyond,” said Jim Parrotte, a Carmel Valley resident and youth club chair of the Del Mar-Solana Beach Optimist Club.
Chartered on Oct. 31, Carmel Valley Middle School Junior Optimist Club has already grown to 30 members. Although the club is just weeks old, co-advisers Alisa Mitchell and Michael Starr and students are already planning a variety of service projects for the year, from collecting clothes for the homeless to gathering gifts for foster children.
“The youth is our future,” Parrotte said. “It’s important that we instill in them the purposes of Optimist International, which are good citizenship, respect for law and service to others.”
For some of the projects, students might work alongside their Optimist counterparts at Canyon Crest Academy and Torrey Pines High School.
In addition to the middle school club, the Del Mar-Solana Beach Optimist Club also sponsors Canyon Crest Academy Ravens, a Junior Optimist Octagon International club founded in December 2012, and Torrey Pines Friendly Falcons, which launched last October. Both local clubs have more than 20 members.
“What’s great about having a Junior Optimist Club at the middle school level is that this club feeds into the two high schools that most of these youngsters will go to once they graduate eighth grade,” Parrotte said. “This gives them transitional skills, social skills and a place to go.”