Optimist Club of Westfield

Friend of Youth—Bringing Out The Best In Kids

Optimist International logo

There are a number of projects that we do every year to aid the community, and especially the youth, of Westfield.


The Westfield Optimist Club members demonstrate their commitment to community service by providing holiday food to Westfield area families and local food pantries. Due to current health and safety concerns, ShopRite and Stop & Shop food gift cards are distributed to families instead of food baskets.

The Holiday Food delivery program has been an annual community service project for the Optimist Club of Westfield since 1991.  This project is made possible through the generosity and funding from the Optimist Club and the Rotary Club of Westfield and contributions from members, friends and local organizations that sponsor gift cards.

One hundred holiday food gift cards are delivered to local families, the Westfield Food Pantry, Mobile Meals, Presbyterian Church Agape Food Program, Union County College Student Assistance Food Pantry and the Saint Joseph’s Social Service Center Food Pantry. 



As a club that is founded on the principals of volunteerism and community service, the Optimist Club is proud to recognize young men and women who have embraced these ideals at an early age.  The Optimist Club Youth Volunteer Award is given annually to a high school junior or senior who is a resident of Westfield and has dedicated a substantial amount of time and effort to volunteer in the community.  Many of the nominees show a long history of volunteerism through their schools, churches and the community at large.  Since 1995, the Optimist Club has recognized outstanding young people who distinguished themselves through volunteer service to the community.  The recognition includes a cash award presented to the recipient at the April dinner meeting and a plaque presented at the Westfield High School Awards Night ceremony in May.  The award is named in honor of Thom Hornish, a former Westfield High School teacher, in recognition of his dedication to youth, club service and involvement as a past president and long-time member of the Optimist Club. 

Optimist Club of Westfield

P.O. Box 2213

Westfield, NJ 07091


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The Optimist Club established the Intermediate School Teacher Awards to recognize the nobility of the teaching profession and the importance of teaching intermediate school students.  Since 1996, the Optimist Club has presented the award to teachers from Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools.

The award gives recognition and credit to two distinguished intermediate school teachers who are dedicated to providing an educationally stimulating and supporting environment during the critical state of adolescence.  The criteria for recipients of this award are outstanding teaching, interest in children and continued pursuit of professional growth.  The nominee must be a full-time teacher in the Westfield Public Schools in grades 6 - 8 for a minimum of five years.  A committee of three Optimists, two intermediate school principals and previous award recipients select the Teacher Award recipients.  

The recognition includes a cash award and a plaque presented to the recipients at an Optimist Club dinner meeting and the Westfield Board of Education honors the teachers with a reception.

The Optimist Club awards a limited number of Community Service Grants to local non-profit organizations that fit our criteria for youth development and community service.  We are proud to be able to provide resources for selected projects and proposals to aid and encourage the positive development of youth.  Grant requests are reviewed in the spirit of the Optimist Club’s purpose as “Friend of Youth”. 

The Optimist Club Grants Committee, in accordance with its goal of Service to Youth and Community, is interested in providing grants for programs and projects that are directly aimed at serving youth in the community. The Optimist Club does not provide grants for the funding of general operations and expenses; staff salaries; reimbursement or retro funding for projects substantially or already completed.

Previous Community Service Grant Awards

Caring Contact - Lincoln School Playground - Mindowaskin Park Playground - Mobil Meals - Union County College Student Assistance Fund - Westfield Area YMCA - Westfield Food Pantry - Westfield High School Marching Band - Westfield High School Derek Nelson Courtyard renovation - Saint Joseph’s Social Service Center Food Pantry, Elizabeth


The Westfield Halloween Parade is organized and sponsored by Optimist Club of Westfield.  The annual parade and related activities continue a long-standing Optimist Club tradition of providing fun, entertaining, and safe Halloween family activities for the community featuring roaming costumed characters and entertainment provided by the Westfield High School Marching Band.



The Halloween mural art project was started 2017 as a collaboration between the Optimist Club and the Westfield High School Fine Arts Department. The Optimist Club sponsored Halloween themed murals created by Westfield High School Fine Arts Department students under the direction of the Fine Arts teachers. Each impressive artistic creation is six feet by three feet and several students design and paint each mural.  All the murals are Halloween themed and many portray elements of the Addams Family. 

Ten large painted murals are displayed in windows throughout downtown Westfield and at the annual Halloween parade where many families used the murals as festive backdrops for their Halloween photographs.