Elementary students create optimism for the future
Elementary students create optimism for the future
Posted on 02/02/2018
Club members sitting and posing for pictures with adults standing behind them

West Utica Elementary students are optimistic about the future they are helping to build in their community.

As representatives of Macomb County’s first elementary Junior Optimist Club, a group of 30 fifth and sixth graders are active helping their community through regular works of charity.

Their work, according to West Utica staff, provides students an early lesson about community service.

“I think it helps our students become well-rounded individuals,” West Utica teacher and club advisor Mackenzie Smoots. “They learn what it feels like to help others – they joy that they get from taking part in community service.”

The student club was established in West Utica more than six years ago as part of the partnership with the Shelby Township Optimist Club.

Recently, the Shelby club members talked to students about the importance of service as they inducted 22 new members into the club.

It is a message that was received by the students.

“The club shows us how we can help out the community,” president Ashley Mathews, a West Utica sixth grader said. “We learn how important it is to help everyone - both inside and outside of our school.”

In addition to improving their community, taking part in the club also makes them feel better.

“I really like helping people,” sixth grader and club vice president Angela Shaina said.  

This year, the club has taken part in several charity events, including ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, collecting food for needy families, and sending get well cards to children in the hospital. They also have plans to play bingo with senior citizens Pine Ridge Villas of Shelby Senior Senior Living.

While the West Utica Club was the Macomb County’s first, several other clubs have since opened based on its success – including one at Eppler Junior High School formed by former members.

Smoots said members of the secondary club have returned to the West Utica roots to talk to the students about the importance of community service.