Always the Optimist

At work in their ‘office’ at Lizard’s Thicket in Blythewood, Optimists Lola Cumbo, Keri Boyce and Sierra Kelly plan their club’s first banquet set for Saturday night at Round Top Baptist Church. (Photo/Barbara Ball)

At work in their ‘office’ at Lizard’s Thicket in Blythewood, Optimists Lola Cumbo, Keri Boyce and Sierra Kelly plan their club’s first banquet set for Saturday night at Round Top Baptist Church. (Photo/Barbara Ball)

BLYTHEWOOD – Keri Boyce of LongCreek Plantation has long been passionate about promoting youth service projects. So when the opportunity to organize an Optimist Club presented itself last year, she saw it as a natural extension of what she had already been doing. To that end, she joined fellow Blythewoodians Lola Cumbo and Sierra Kelly to make the Club happen. Round Top Baptist Church agreed to serve as their meeting place, and by June the Club was chartered as the Hope Optimist Club.

This weekend, the 22-member club will host its first membership banquet, inviting others in the community to join them for an evening of food, entertainment and great conversations about good works they are planning.

“That’s what we’re all about,” said Cumbo, the club’s president. “As Optimists, our work is focused on young people. We promote contests that help them develop writing and speaking skills and we promote communication to aid youth who are deaf and hard of hearing. We look for ways to help all young people achieve their dreams.”

And they didn’t waste any time doing just that. In September the club bought paint and plywood to refurbish the Round Top Community playground equipment. Next month they plan to pack and donate eight Thanksgiving baskets for families in need. In December they will organize a group of young people to make and take holiday cards to residents in a local senior care center.

In January, the group will sponsor an essay contest for students in local schools and in March an oratorical contest. Both scholarships and medals will be awarded to winners.

Cumbo said the banquet will serve two purposes.

“We will recognize those volunteers who have been instrumental in helping to get the club up and running,” she said, “and I think the banquet will provide others in the community the opportunity to learn more about us and, hopefully, decide to join us.”

The banquet will be held from 5-7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17 at Round Top Baptist Church, 120 Round Top Court in Blythewood. Tickets are $15. The Club meets on the third Tuesday of the month, alternately between Round Top Baptist Church and Lizard’s Thicket restaurant. For more information, call 864-978-8277.