Optimist Club of Westfield

Friend of Youth—Bringing Out The Best In Kids

Optimist International logo

Club History

The Optimist Club is a not-for-profit service club of men and women who live and/or work in the Westfield New Jersey area.  We conduct service projects that benefit youth and community.

The Optimist Club of Westfield, chartered as a chapter of Optimist International, is an organization whose mission is dedicated to being “a friend of youth”.  The 50+ members of the Westfield Chapter have served the youth and families of our community for 30 years providing ‘optimism’ through service projects, community activities, support for needy families, and academic programs, competitions, awards and community grants. 

Our signature project is Project Graduation BASH, the all-night event for the Westfield High School senior class on the evening of graduation.  The Optimist Club Project Graduation BASH, started in 1989, is a tradition for graduating seniors.  The purpose of the event is to provide a fun, safe, drug and alcohol-free atmosphere for the senior class to celebrate their high school graduation.  Over 9,000 Westfield High School graduates have had fun and safe celebrations at our annual Project Graduation BASH.  The substance-free celebration is organized and sponsored by the Optimist Club of Westfield.

Since 1990, thanks to the generous support of Optimist Club members and local area merchants, the Optimist Club has also been able to provide over 2,500 Holiday food baskets to local families in need. 

For many years, we have sponsored academic competitions at all levels in the Westfield Public School system.  Intermediate School students participate in the Oratorical Contest and the club has sponsored Westfield students to attend the Congressional Seminar, organized the Hands-On-Science Program for elementary school students, supported numerous Eagle Scout projects, and been involved with numerous town arts and humanities programs for young people. 

The Optimist Club provides annual awards and recognition for members of the community that have excelled in helping others - the Thom Hornish Youth Volunteer Award presented to a Westfield High School student, and the Intermediate School Teacher Awards presented to teachers at both Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools.  Over 30 teachers have received well-deserved recognition because of our Intermediate School Teachers awards - the only award of its kind established for the teachers at Roosevelt and Edison Intermediate Schools.      

Our Westfield chapter also sponsors a Junior Optimist Club at Westfield High School whose members visit local nursing homes, collect toys for tots, and provide youth volunteers for Optimist Club projects. 

The Optimist Club of Westfield has become an integral part of community life for 30 years.  Club projects focus on children and families and we sponsored the family friendly Westfield Halloween Haunted House for several years and now organize the annual Optimist Club Halloween Parade downtown.  We were original co-sponsors of the successful intermediate school Night Place, and major contributors to the Recreation Department Teen Center, Haunted House, 5K Fun Run and Children’s Family Night New Year’s Eve celebration.  Club members have worked on a Habitat for Humanity project in Plainfield and other Habitat projects supporting victims of Katrina, including furnishing five homes in Perth Amboy to housed families transplanted from the Gulf.

The members of our organization touch upwards of 2,500 young people and more than 500 adults in Westfield and provides social opportunities for almost 50 adult members and Westfield High School students in the Junior Optimist Club.  We take pride in serving Westfield, establishing strong community bonds and lasting friendships.

The Optimist Club meets the second Wednesday of each month for dinner and guests are always welcome to join us at any of our monthly meetings. 

To contact us:

Optimist Club of Westfield

P.O. Box 2213

Westfield, NJ 07091