Gardena, CA 90247
About the Evening Optimist Club of Gardena
The Evening Optimist Club of Gardena, a.k.a. the Gardena Evening Optimist (GEO) club, serves communities in the South Bay area of Southern California. Sponsored by the Japanese American Optimist Club of Los Angeles and chartered in 1964, the Club is a voluntary organization of men and women banded together for progressive thought and action in community service.
Membership is composed of citizens drawn together from all facets of the community. We currently boast 130 members (the largest Optimist Club in the Pacific Southwest District), most of whom reside in the immediate South Bay area, though some come from the Orange County area, while others support us from as far away as Hawaii and Washington. Since our inception, our primary goal has been to serve our community through projects and programs designed to develop and enrich our youth.
The Club proudly supports the Gardena Valley Sansei Baseball League, where boys and girls can find competition and friendship on the 'field of dreams'. During the season, the Club runs the annual Tri-Star competition for kids of all ages who compete in three areas - running, throwing, and hitting. All competitors receive a Participation Award and the top finishers in each age group are recognized at the closing ceremonies at the end of the season.
By far the largest of the Club's youth activities, the Gardena Evening Optimist Fall Basketball League attracts boy's and girl's teams from Los Angeles and Orange Counties; in 1999, over 150 teams and 1400 kids paticipated in the league. As with baseball, the Club runs the annual Tri-star competition, where the boys and girls test their skills in passing, dribbling, and shooting. Top finishers in each age group in past years have made a halftime appearance on center court of the Los Angeles Clipper-sponsored GEO night. Visit GEO Basketball for more information.
The Club annually supports the Junior Blind Olympics, where visually-impaired children compete in athletic events. Jointly sponsored by the Pacific Southwest and Pacific Southeast Districts, the event is attended yearly by hundreds of participants and is held at the Junior Blind of America Campus in Los Angeles. The Optimist Clubs of Southern California contribute goods and services to the event.
The Club supports the Japanese Cultural Institute (JCI) in Gardena and its annual carnival by cooking the Club's famous Chicken Teriyaki. The two-day event is held at the JCI; many food and game booths ensure a good time for all. In 1999, the JCI recognized the Club as its 1999 Community Organization of the Year Achievement Award.
The Club honors members of the community who have aided or promoted law enforcement as part of our Respect for Law program. A scholarship is awarded to a deserving student who intends to pursue a career in law or law enforcement. The award this year was presented to Lisa Shimabukuro, a senior at North Torrance High School who intends to become a criminologist and will be attending the University of California at Irvine.
Through the Essay program, the Club encourages today's youth in the development of their awareness of the origins and the responsibilities of freedom and, at the same time, to provide participants with the opportunity to improve their skills in written composition, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The competitions begin at the Club level and continue to District and International levels. In 2003, GEO sponsored Stephanie Lee from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School who was victorious at the Zone 3 Contest and won 2nd Place in the District Competition. Click to access the 2006-2007 Essay Contest info/application (Adobe Acrobat is required). The official topic for this year's contest is ' I Want to Make a Difference Because. . . ' and the deadline for entries is January 31, 2007. For questions or for application submittal instructions, contact Assistant Chairman Jim Carroll at (310) 336-2370 or email GEO.
Through the Oratorical program, the Club encourages today's youth in the development of their speaking and presentation skills. The Oratorical Contest is not designed to merely recognize and honor the best speaker in a school or community. The purpose of the program is to offer training, encouragement and experience that will aid participants, as they become contributing citizens in society. The Oratorical Contest gives youngsters the chance to speak to the world. More than $150,000 in college scholarships is awarded annually by Optimist International for this program. The competitions begin at the Club level and continue to the District level. In 2003, GEO sponsored Alicia Lee from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School who was victorious at the Zone 3 Contest and won 1st Place in the District Competition. Click to access the 2006-2007 Oratorical Contest info/application (Adobe Acrobat is required). The deadline for entries is March 10, 2007. For questions or for application submittal instructions, contact Assistant Chairman Jim Carroll at (310) 336-2370 or email GEO.
Through the Youth Appreciation program, the Club honors outstanding youths of the community with a special awards banquet at a local restaurant.
The Club supports local Optimist Youth Homes each December. Funded primarily with proceeds from the basketball program, the Club provides gifts, housewares, and equipment to the residents of the various homes.
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