December is a wonderfully busy month for many and no exception for the UW-Whitewater/Community Optimist Club. Dec. 1 had the Frosty Float in the Whitewater Chamber of Commerce Parade promoting their Breakfast with Santa the next morning.

Dec. 2 saw 760 happy folks join Santa for Breakfast for the 25th year! Held in the UW-W’s Esker Dining Hall for the 10th year, each child had the opportunity to sit with Santa, tell him what they would like for Christmas and receive a small gift bag from him and his elves. Each family could choose a printed photo or to download digital photos of their child/children with Santa.

Nearly 50 members of the UW-W/Community Optimist Club with help from the Student Optimists and WH.S. Octagon Club made the season bright for the 25TH Annual Breakfast with Santa!

The Mitten Tree Project, which has been conducted since 1991, was a huge success due to the generous community-wide donations of hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, socks and underwear to be distributed through the three Elementary Schools in the Whitewater Unified School District. With space given every year in their lobbies, they are grateful to Associated Bank, First Citizens State Bank, Fort Community Credit Union and Premier Bank for supporting the Mitten Tree project each year.

Kim Adams, Lanora Heim, Shirley Cutshall, Co- Presidents Dave Halbach and Janay Alston and Mary Geraghty with warmth collected for the elementary students in the Whitewater Unified School District.

On Wednesday December 13th, Mary Geraghty, WUSD Social Worker, Shirley Cutshall, Lincoln School Counselor and Lanora Heim, Director of Pupil Services for the School District, accepted the multitude of mittens, etc. on behalf of the WUSD from Club Co-Presidents Dave Halbach and Janay Alston and Past President Kim Adams. A special thank you to three local knitters: Dottie Koenitzer, who, for several years, has made and donated beautiful mittens, 80 pairs this year alone, Doreen Marquardt of the Needles ‘n Pins Yarn Shoppe who donated dozens of handmade mittens and an anonymous donor who read our story last year and because of her own personal experiences as a child donated 38 pairs of handmade items to help the area children. This year also included 600 items collected by the UW-W University Center Staff and students.

Members of the UWW/Community Optimist, WHS National Honor Society and WHS Octagon Club helping sort through toys for children served by the Whitewater Food Pantry.

A total of 308 children had a special toy or game under the Christmas tree, through the cooperation of the UW-W/Community Optimist Club and Whitewater Food Pantry for the past 34 years. They would again, like to thank the community of Whitewater for another successful Toys for Kids program. On Dec. 18th, help from the Optimists, Octagon Club and WHS National Honor Society members sorted and wrapped those gifts at the downtown City Armory. This project is only possible through the generous support of the following groups: First Congregational United Church of Christ, First English Lutheran Church, First United Methodist Church, St Patrick Catholic Church, the Whitewater Police Department, Provisur Technologies Inc., UW-W Student Optimist Club members, Whitewater High School Octagon Club, and Golden Key National Honor Society.

Lastly, the club, through its major fund raising projects: the annual Optimist Trivia Night, the 4th of July Festival Gyros Stand and the District Football CRAZER Raffle, was able to present a check for $1,000 to the WUSD Family Emergency Fund. That is a program completely funded by donations, using no tax money, to assist families in times of need within Whitewater Unified School District.

The UW-W/Community Optimist club is always looking for new members to help them realize their goal to be “Friend of Youth.” Interested persons can contact them through their blog at CLICK HERE

They invite you to join them in “making a difference in the life of a child.” They thank you and Happy New Year!

Share This