Calgary Food Bank:
There is nothing better than volunteering for a shift at the Calgary food bank. It is fast paced, fun, and a great team bilding activity. The Dinner Optimists have participated in several 3-hour volunteer sessions and, by the end of the shift, you know you have worked as every muscle in your body aches the next day.
Family Fun Day at Optimist Park:
Started in Calgary by both Calgary Optimist clubs as a gift back to the community, this free event includes bouncy castles, inline skating in Optimist Arena, face painting, games, a silent auction, free refreshments, and other entertainment including marching show band rehearsals and soccer scrimmage.
The Club has been doing highway cleanup since 1994. We were assigned a stretch of highway 2 south on the east side of the Okotoks overpass where members, friends and family pick up litter usually in spring and fall. The biggest challenge is to find a weekend when the ditches aren’t filled with snow and water. In non-Covid years, participants meet for lunch and further camaraderie after the clean up is completed.
The Dinner Optimist Club of Calgary has been supporting BRAVE Education youth empowerment in schools since 2015. In 2018, BRAVE conducted a series of focus groups regarding human trafficking which revealed that there was a gap in prevention education for young people. BRAVE Education for Trafficking Prevention was formed to fill this gap. Since then, they have been delivering prevention education primarily to youth ages 12 to 19 years old, with research underway for the development of an appropriate research-informed program to empower and protect younger children. Disturbingly, the sex trafficking of children is a fastest growing crime in Canada. It’s only logical that children receive education to protect their innocence, prior to the average age of recruitment. The average age of recruitment into sex trafficking in Canada is 12 to 14 years of age. Other findings have revealed that 7 to 12 year old children are at a most important age to receive prevention education. There are three reasons for this:
- Children in this age group are more open to learning.
- This is before the average age of recruitment in Canada, which is 12 to 14 years old.*
- Increased internet usage equals increased risk of exploitation.**
- Berk, L. E. (2018). Development through the lifespan (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education
** Estes & Weiner, 2002