Below represents just a portion of the programs, events, and activities the Leesburg Optimist Club is or has been involved in over the years. It is not an all-inclusive list, as we are constantly striving to improve on what we have done in the past and are always looking for new ways to serve the youth of Leesburg, pressing on to the greater achievements of the future!
Each winter, the Leesburg Optimist Club holds an essay contest for students of Loudoun County HS, Heritage HS, and Dominion HS. This contest requires students under the age of 19 to compose a 700 to 800 word essay around a central idea to develop their writing and critical thinking skills. in past years, the top essay from each school was awarded a $500 scholarship toward their college education. Beginning with the 2017 contest, the format changed to a $500 cash award rather than a scholarship. The top overall essay moves on to the District contest for an additional opportunity to win a $2500 scholarship.
Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
The CCDHH is a district level competition that takes place once a year at the 2nd Quarter district meeting. Students (young people through grade 12) who are certified to have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or more may compete in this contest designed to help them develop the skills and confidence to present in sign or orally to an audience. The District winner is awarded a $2500 college scholarship.
The Leesburg Optimist Club (LOC) will sponsor a contestant in the competition if one enters from our area (Loudoun County).
All Night Graduation
Every June, the Leesburg Optimist Club supports the Loudoun County HS All Night Graduation Party. This event is sponsored by the PTSA and is designed to provide a safe, alcohol-free place for seniors to celebrate their successes. It is held annually at Ida Lee Recreation Center for graduating seniors.
The Leesburg Optimist Club provides manpower to run the “casino night” activities by dealing Back Jack and Texas Hold’em for the kids. This is truly one of the most enjoyable events of the year as we get to interact with our future leaders in a fun and relaxing atmosphere before they head off to college, trade school, or wherever the next phase of their lives take them.
Loudoun County Fair Kids’ Day FREE Games
Each July at the Loudoun County Fair on the fair-designated Kids’ Day, the Leesburg Optimist Club sets up FREE games for kids up to age 14 from 10:00 am until the midway opens.
Salvation Army Bell Ringing
Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Leesburg Optimist Club volunteers our time by providing a full day’s coverage of bell ringing at a Salvation Army kettle location in Leesburg. For the past several years, you could find us at Leesburg Wal-Mart the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
In addition to our programs and partnerships, we also support the youth of the community by financial means. We have contributed to Optimist Junior Golf, filled Neighbors Helping Neighbors stockings, worked with Generosity Feeds assembling lunch kits for families in need, and sponsored People to People Ambassador students from Loudoun County HS to name just a few.
Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY)
For over 50 years HOBY has been known as the country’s top youth leadership development organization. Founded in 1958 by veteran actor Hugh O’Brian, HOBY’s mission is to provide lifelong leadership development opportunities that empower individuals to achieve their highest potential. O’Brian set out to help young people make a difference and become positive catalysts for change—in the home, school, workplace, and community. Now, with more than 375,000 alumni leading the way, HOBY is respected worldwide for its youth leadership programs.
Each high school can nominate one sophomore to attend the HOBY conference each year. The Leesburg Optimist Club sponsors two to four students from Loudoun County, Heritage, Tuscarora and Dominion High Schools either through direct financial funding or sponsorship funding to HOBY-Virginia, depending on school participation and annual funding availability.
As one of our primary fundraising vehicles, each spring the Leesburg Optimist Club holds an annual golf tournament. For the last several years, it has been held at Stoneleigh Golf & Country Club in Round Hill, VA. This event was held in the fall for a time, but after a few hurricane-related rain-outs, it was moved to the spring beginning in May 2011.
Parking / Traffic Control
Parking cars for various events in and around Leesburg is a second major fundraising "vehicle" for the Club. For the past several years we have raised funds for the Club by parking cars at Morven Park at various sports and equestrian events throughout the year.
All proceeds from the golf and parking fundraisers stay in Loudoun County to support the youth of the community.
Childhood Cancer Campaign - "Providing the Care ... Finding the Cure"
Did you know that each year more than 12,000 children and teenagers will be diagnosed with cancer? Did you also know that one in every 330 Americans develops cancer before the age of 20?
Due to statistics such as these, the Leesburg optimist Club supports this Optimist International program by placing donation “piggy banks” at several establishments in Leesburg. 100% of all funds raised goes directly to this program. These are the only funds raised by the Leesburg Optimist Club though our various fundraising activities that leave the community.
You can find out more about this program at the Optimist International website.