Kayla Bright spoke to us this morning after an introduction by the incredibly brilliant yet excessively modest Speaker Chair Jeff Dennings. Kayla teaches Special Education at Swartz Creek Middle School. As you may already know our club sponsors the Community Based Education Program for Kayla’s class. The program is designed to get the kids out of the classroom to let them practice real life skills in public places. She told us about going to Home Depot to have a scavenger hunt. The children were given a list of items to locate. Prior to the field trip they learn good ways to ask store workers for assistance, so when they come across that item that is hard to locate then they practice asking for help. Other skills taught is the classroom then practiced in public include calculating tax and tip at restaurants and shopping for recipe ingredients at the grocery store.

Kayla did inform us that her need for funds next year will not currently be necessary. Her class which included cognitively impaired students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade would have had too few students next year, so the school system is discontinuing the class for next year and having her work with students having behavioral issues. Currently there were no known incoming 5th graders and a couple of students will be attending the High School next year and one student will be transferring to the program at GISD. While her cognitively impaired class may be ending, her passion for helping children with special needs has not wavered. Her undying spirit is an inspiration to us all.

Kayla also gave us an update on the success of the Special Day for Special Needs event that happens at the Swartz Creek Hometown Days. The event offers people with special needs and their families a free day at the carnival. It has grown over the past few years as Kayla has served as the Director of the program on the Hometown Days Board. This year there were over 900 people. Great work Kayla!

President Crys Reed rang the bell to start the meeting at 7:30, which proved to almost be too early for him as he walked in just in time to start the meeting. Fines were brutal as the club left not a single member with a dollar in their pocket. Crys closed fine and called Kevin Wainwright and Phil Holmblade up to the front. Crys installed Kevin as our newest member. Please welcome Kevin into our family of optimists the next time you see him. After Kayla Bright finished her presentation and after our barrage of questions for her, Phil Holmblade announced his desire to serve as President for the 2018/2019 Optimist Year.