Optimist Club's golf tournament just a month away

Warren High's Humanitarian Society often partners with the Optimist Club of Downey.

Warren High's Humanitarian Society often partners with the Optimist Club of Downey.

DOWNEY – “We all know children in our community who are deserving of a rich, full life, but don’t have the support or family resources to pursue their dreams,” says Optimist Club of Downey President and former Downey Mayor Bob Winningham. Whether it’s a child who wants to be a Girl Scout, a young man who desperately needs a computer so he can properly do his homework, or a young adult who dreams of attending a four-year university but is unable to do so because of family financial challenges, the Optimist Club has crafted its annual Golf Tournament to help special young people in need in the local area.

“Those who work with our local youth know that the only way to help ease the financial challenges faced by these kids and their families is to give them a hand up until they are able to help themselves,” Bob said. “That’s why caring people in our community are working so hard to help these wonderful kids. We are doing everything we can to be the difference makers for kids in need. For example, the Optimist Club of Downey has quadrupled its annual financial commitment to local youth.”

The Optimist Club’s ability to help make a difference in the lives of great kids in our community is largely dependent upon the club’s 26th Annual Charity Golf Tournament, which will be held May 4 at Rio Hondo Golf Club. “We’re asking the public to strongly support this event, so that we can continue increasing our efforts to positively impact the lives of local youth in need,” Bob said.” The Optimist golf event is known as the Tom Watts Memorial Tournament, held in memory of “Del” D’Alessandro. “These two dedicated leaders made the tournament a success for many, many years, and today we carry on in remembrance of them as we raise funds to help children in need,” Bob said.

This year the Optimist Club has created five ways that the community can sponsor a child in addition to playing in the golf tournament. “Not everyone is a golfer, but we know that everyone wants to support deserving kids in our community,“ Bob said. That’s why the Optimist Club is providing many opportunities to help a child in need. For example:

• For $50, you can sponsor a child to attend a fun community event, such as the Optimist Club’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Holiday Lunch at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center

•For $100, you can make it possible for a child in need to take their PSAT, SAT or Advanced Placement Test •For $250, you can sponsor a local Boy Scout or Girl Scout for a year

•For $500, you can help the Optimist Club fund its efforts on behalf of kids at the annual Pumpkin Patch, which provides a safe and fun Halloween experience for more than 7,000 local children and their families each year

•or $1,000, you can support a student’s college education by funding a 2015 Optimist Club Scholarship, which will be presented in the name of the donor

“All donations to our golf tournament are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law, because we are one of the few Optimist Clubs in the nation that has its own federal 501©(3) nonprofit designation,” Bob said.

Some of the Optimist Club of Downey's work on behalf of local youth include:

•Sponsoring an annual scholarship program for deserving students graduating from Downey’s high schools

•Supporting children with disabilities throughout the year at Downey’s world-renowned Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center

•Partnering with the Warren High School Humanitarian Society, whose 300 members work tirelessly on local charitable projects throughout the year •Sponsoring the annual “Pumpkin Patch” at Apollo Park in Downey, which provides a safe and fun Halloween for thousands of local kids and their families. Last Halloween, more than 7,000 guests received free hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, donuts, sodas and helium balloons at what has become Downey’s largest event

•Holding essay and oratorical contests for local high school students

• Making substantial annual gifts to Arc of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, Downey Family YMCA, local Boy Scout troops and Darrell Jackson’s 10-20 Club

“We’re very proud of the impact we’re having in helping children who need a hand up to reach their dreams,” Bob said. “We also know that we couldn’t do it without the support of our fellow community members, who play such a pivotal role in our efforts on behalf of kids in need. That’s why we’re appealing to the hearts of everyone who cares about kids to support our golf tournament and make a difference for the wonderful children in the city we love.”

For more information about how you can help Downey’s kids by supporting the Optimist Club of Downey, contact Tom Burney at trburney@yahoo.com or (562) 644-4913.