Casey Slinker  & Sam Roth  from Whaley Children’s Center spoke with the West Flint Optimist Club today about their work and mission. Invited by Speaker Chair Dan Crannie, they used slides and anecdotes to relate the origins and history of this important resource: from Donald Whaley, who died at age 10 and left his meager savings to the task of caring for orphaned children to the present residence and treatment for 90 children, aged 5-17, for an average of 18 months at a time, currently overseen by CEO (of one year) Mindy Prusa. Our specific interest in the Optimist House serves teen boys using a “Circle of Courage” model  to impart and develop the values of “generosity, independence, mastery, and belonging”. In addition to needing “a lot” of air freshener (especially for the Whaley Warriors basketball team coached by Flint’s first professional women’s basketball player Linnell Jones-McKenney), the youngsters go through and continuously need hygiene products, toys, underwear, coats, and party supplies (for the 60-70 annual birthday celebrations each year). These things and other items of utility (e.g., whiteboards and chalkboard paint) are acquired through direct donations and Whaley’s annual fundraisers – “The World’s Greatest Office Party” on December 8,2016;  “Tux & Tennies” on May 6, 2017; and a Golf Classic next September.


After President Peter Venos rang the meeting of 22 to order and Greg Hilliker led the Pledge of Allegiance, Jack Proffitt gave the invocation as Patrick Naswell tried to sneak in while eyes were closed. This and other fines flew fast and furiously, especially from His Highness “King” Bill Hentgen for such offenses as wearing a tie, not having portraits in community magazines, and not planning to drive a “Hellcat” tank destroyer this weekend. A few attempts to fine the King (for flashing his money around and for having room enough for several fingers between his hair and the crown) meet their usual fates by Presidential fiat and Kingly “divine right”. A few other fines, such as one by Mic Goulet against Dan Crannie for “surliness”, and a Presidential fine for a “dead” meeting, passed before Judge Joe Farah joined us to gloat about his recent re-election and express consternation about being overlooked by a friend and fellow voter who neglected to see Joe’s name on the backside of the ballot. The Club needs a Speaker Chair for December, was reminded of tonight’s Board Meeting at Signs by Crannie, signed a birthday card for Bob Gaines’s 90th, is planning for the Interservice Luncheon on the 18th, was told by Joe Bushey that “The nuts are in” but “mixed up”, and celebrated Phil Holmblade’s 50/50 win of $18 this morning.

Until next time, “Promise Yourself…”