New Cassopolis Optimist Club formed

Published 7:07 pm Monday, October 10, 2005

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS - Excitement was in the air Saturday morning as members of the community had coffee and donuts at the Cass District Library.
Those who rose early to meet on the first day of the new year for Optimist International, were ready to charter a new club to help the youth in Cassopolis. The new club already boasts 33 members.
He wasn't the only dignitary present. Also attending were members of the Niles Noon Optimists, who are sponsoring the new club.
Former past presidents of the Niles club, John Willis, Tom Majerek and Dr. Michel Listenberger, shared along with Bloom their own excitement and how they were changed after becoming Optimists.
On Saturday evening, Listenberger was installed as the president of Optimist International. At the same time, the Niles club celebrated its 35th anniversary.
Listenberger, an optometrist and longtime community volunteer in Niles, will serve in the position of Optimist International president until Oct. 1, 2006.
An optometrist and senior partner at Niles Vision Clinic, he joined the Optimists in the Niles community in 1972.
The Niles club is well known for its excellent soccer program. Other ways a club can help kids, is through baseball teams, photography clubs and field trips, Bloom explained.
A meeting time and place hasn't yet been finalized, though Thursday has been determined as the meeting day. New members will always be welcome.
A previous club in Cassopolis had formed a relationship with the Sheriff's Department, according to former Cass County Sheriff Paul Parrish, working with kids about safety.
The new board of directors will be assessing the needs of this community and match those needs with the talents of the volunteers.
The 3,200 chapters around the world offered youth oratorical contests, golf tournaments, youth clubs, sport programs and many other opportunities.
Heading the new organization in Cassopolis will be Patty Dresser, a resident of Diamond Lake who has opened the shop Bittersweet on Broadway, where she also makes ceramic houses and cottages.
Other board members include: Suzanne Hague, principal at Sam Adams Elementary School; Ray Massey of New Beginnings Church; Bill Bruneau of Penn Friends Church; Ray Vanagas of Park Shore Marina; Rusty Stitt, Ross Beatty Jr./Sr. High School principal, Carmen Szumski and Mary McFarland, of Cass County Youth Club and previously Helping Hands.
On Saturday, Listenberger presented Dresser with a banner to display at club meetings, with his theme for the year, &#8221Optimists - Bringing Out the Best in Kids.“;
The Optimists not only bring out the best in kids, but also in each other, he added.