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AUSTIN, TEXAS

A Greater Southwest Optimist Club Synopsis


In 1979 a group of local business men, academicians, and concerned citizens met with members of the Manchaca Optimist Club.  The members of the Manchaca Optimist club provided insight into the Optimist organization.  The non-profit model offered, provided what persons in attendance deemed as a pathway to address some of their concerns.  In June of that year, the Greater Southwest Optimist Club (GSWO) was chartered with 41 Charter members by Optimist International and subsequently incorporated as a non-profit organization in the state of Texas.  It was a non-traditional club in that most Optimist Clubs at the time dealt primarily with sports and sports programs – Little League Baseball etc.  The GSWO chose to make scholarships and education support as the central program of their efforts.


Over the past thirty seven plus years the GSWO Club with the help of the local Business community has been able to raise funds to issue over $450,000 in educational scholarships.   These scholarships have helped Austin area youth achieve their educational goals. A well-structured program involving written applications, teacher recommendations, and an interview process ensures worthy recipients of scholarships offered. (This year, the scholarships will be awarded at the Onion Creek Country Club in May of this year. We are currently accepting applications for scholarships.  They can go to the AISD website www.austinisd.org, click on any of the high schools and to the Naviance program and download the scholarship application or they can email Gloria Mayo at gmayomoreno@gmail.com and obtain a copy of the scholarship application.)


The sources used to finance the scholarship program have varied over the years.  From the initial sources of:  Aqua Fest – fajita sales, The fajita Cook-Off – which had as honorary sponsors – Darrell Royal, Admiral Bobby Inman, and Peach Sales.  To the more recent sources that include:  Scholarship Fundraising Banquet, Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament, Coushatta Casino Excursions, Super Bowl Raffle, and the upcoming First Annual Valentine’s Day dance which will occur February 13th at the Onion Creek Ballroom.  


While education is the primary goal, other youth programs such as the Annual Gardner Betts Juvenile Detention Center program, the Houston Elementary School Annual Christmas school program, the Oratorical Contest, the Essay Contest, and the Youth Appreciation Week programs, Respect for Law,  are also supported. The GSWO club has sponsored many youths in these programs and some that compete at the state and national levels.


The dedicated GSWO membership continues tireless efforts to help students achieve their educational goals…..and provide programs that benefit the youth in our community.  They are indeed involved in educating the Leaders of tomorrow.


OPTIMIST MISSION STATEMENT

By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids.

President

Orlando Barrera

Vice President

Rosalia Castenada

Vice President

Arthur Moreno

Secretary


Treasurer

Martin Benevides

Sergeant at Arms

Henry Fabian

Parliamentarian

Ferard Vasquez

Director

David Alvarado

Director

Norma Barrera

Director

Bill Grote

Director

Irma Montoya

Director

Rosie Tello

Director

David Vera

President-Elect

Martin Benevides

Past President

Jose Montoya