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Optimist Club is Moving Back Home!

Community ─ Connect ─ Create ─ Collaborate ─ Change

A century ago, an enthusiastic group of Queen City residents founded the first Optimist Club. It was that establishment that led to thousands of other chapters opening across the globe, all of which stemmed from the original Buffalo, New York chapter. Incredibly, Buffalo is also a city that does not currently have an Optimist Club, which comes as no real surprise since the city took a hard economic turn, resulting in a number of clubs and organizations to close.

Thankfully, in this new era of Buffalo’s Renaissance, the Optimist Club is coming back home – Buffalo has not had an active club here in over 20 years, and the organization now approaches the 100th anniversary of their first National Meeting.

“We are excited about helping the children of Buffalo,” said Pauline Leacock, who is organizing the local expansion effort. “We are looking for some other like-minded individuals who would like to help us improve the lives of children in their community. Optimistic caring people are needed to become charter members and form an active local club.”

The Optimist Clubs were built up to advance the philosophy of optimism. The beliefs of the Optimist Club are to promote an active stake in honest government and civic affairs and to inspire respect for the law. As well to support the friendly relations among all people and improve the maturation of youth, in the belief that the sacrificing of one’s ego in service to others can be hugely rewarding.

Optimist Clubs participate in community service programs that bring out the best in young people. Fellowships are made up of adults who want to impact their communities in a positive manner – the group encourages young folks to serve their community as they see fit.

“Optimist International is composed of 64,000 members in more than 2,600 Optimist Clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and other nations. Carrying the motto ‘Bringing Out the Best in Kids,’ Optimist Clubs conduct 65,000 positive service projects that reach more than six million young people each year,” said, Debra Workman, President of the Barge Canal Optimist Club in Lockport. “There are several active Clubs in Niagara County, hoping to offer their services to Erie County. We have their sights set on starting a Club in the greater Buffalo area (based in the city).”

The Club has a location and time for the Buffalo’s Optimist information session – on May 24th, 2018 at Crane Branch Library, 633 Elmwood Ave. Buffalo, NY 14222 at 6:00 PM. An Optimist Club is restarting in the city of Buffalo!

If you’re interested in attending or would like more information about what Optimists do, visit,, or call Pauline Leacock at 716-438-0890 OR everyone is welcome!

Written by Mark Lazzara

Mark Lazzara

I have a passion for helping my fellow Western New Yorkers and advance the great things that are going on in this region. Buffalo Rising is a great booster and it’s a blast writing and contributing to BR about positive happenings in our neck of the woods. I appreciate the help I’ve received over the years from organizations and people who share my passion and supported me in efforts that put thousands of people to work and resulted in a community give back of more than $115M to Buffalo’s neediest during my days at the helm of AmeriCorps.

I’m especially grateful for the opportunities that enabled me to help cities devastated by Hurricane Katrina and rebuild more than 700 family homes that were destroyed. Back at home, I was able to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience as a coordinator for ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition where we were able to repair, beautify and upgrade homes for an entire neighborhood on Buffalo’s Westside. Other projects close to my heart include a collaboration with Sail Buffalo to build the Cazenovia Boating Center at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, and my annual Christmas season time is spent at Buffalo’s treasure, the Broadway Market, playing Santa Clause.

In my other life, I am a workforce development, business, marketing, public relations and fundraising professional. Earned a M.S. Human Service Management from Buffalo State, and enjoy my family life that includes four amazing grandchildren!

View All Articles by Mark Lazzara
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