John Lucio

How the Optimist Club helped a young Mexican family resettle to Cornwall

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How the Optimist Club helped a young Mexican family resettle to Cornwall

“Friend of Youth” is the motto of Optimist International.

Here in town, we have The Optimist Club of Cornwall, dedicated to bringing out the best in the kids of our community. Spearheaded by president Terry Muir and the many committee chairpersons, money gets raised to pour back into our community by supporting children & Youth. Their mandate is to help children & youth in Cornwall.

They meet and exceed their mandate daily because of the hard work and tireless dedication of the Optimists & volunteers of each committee therein.

Committees running fundraisers such as Ribfest, BBQs, Canteen, Bingos, Colts 50/50, Toy Drive, and Cash Calendar, just to name a few, raise the money needed to meet their mandate. The Optimists in these committees are selfless individuals who give so much of themselves for nothing in return except the knowledge of how their hard work generated help for the Youth of our community. It is a thankless job they do. And they’re okay with that. These are some of the most amazing human beings you could ever hope to meet. They do their job diligently and with pride and compassion. They do not strive for thanks or gratitude or popularity or payment of any kind for their work. This is not a job that rewards its workforce. Unless you consider empowering children & youth a reward! That’s what they strive for—to raise children up and out of their hardships, or out of whatever it is anchoring the youth down.

Because of the hard work of Optimists, children get to participate in ball hockey, play softball, hunt for eggs at Easter, be racers at the pine derby races, and have breakfast with Santa. Some are even given awesome toys from the Optimist Toy Drive. Then, later this summer, the Optimists running the Soap box derby, will give businesses an opportunity to participate by building a car for kids to race. Great things come to Cornwall, brought to you by The Optimist Club of Cornwall!

Some people come to Cornwall to visit, like at Ribfest, but some other, like the Campos Almanza family, on the cover of this issue, come to Cornwall to live. This family fled the ravages of Mexico looking for a better quality of life to guarantee the future and well-being of their daughters Renata 4 and Julieta 5. When arriving at Montreal airport on December 13, 2018, seeking refugee status, they had the clothes worn and a small suitcase. Two weeks later, they were in Cornwall. The Optimist Club, seeing that this was a family, with 2 girls, in desperate need of immediate help, came to their rescue, providing them an Optimist who can speak Spanish, to ensure all their basic needs were met—beds, furniture, kitchenware, clothing, and food, etc. The parents, Víctor Campos & Coco Almanza, are eager to work, patiently awaiting permission from immigration to join the workforce and become contributing members of our society.

In complete shock, Mr. Campos said to the Optimists “Thank you. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. I have never seen such generosity before, where I come from. I can’t thank you enough.”

“It’s okay. This is what we do,” replied Ralph Brunton, former president of the club. Here for the youth of the community. Welcome to Cornwall.

Want to know more about the Optimist Club of Cornwall? Want to be part of a growing organization who helps empower the youth of our community? Join us on April 14 at 301 Sunnyside for the NOW (New Optimists Welcome) Event! Seen you then!

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