We arrived home from the 104th Optimist International Convention in Reno, and by all accounts, it was a huge success. A huge thank you to our Optimist International Staff and the entire team of Reno and West Coast volunteers who worked so hard to ensure a successful convention.
Today’s message comes directly from the 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Andrew Whitworth playbook (offensive Lineman - Los Angeles Rams.)
Set to become the oldest starting offensive lineman in Super Bowl history, Whitworth urged players to make a kid smile, tell them they believe in them, or step up financially during his acceptance speech. And to use their platform to hold local governments and officials accountable for programs and funding for giving children "an equal playing field to chase every dream they ever had."
"It's called an investment," he said. "You can apply those three things to any charity or a passionate cause. You can invest your time, you can invest your finances, or you can invest your voice. It doesn't matter which; we must keep investing in each other. Let your heart lead you all the way."
Walter Payton stood only five foot ten inches – but his heart made him the biggest and baddest football player on the field. That heart also led him to give of his time, money, energy, and soul to make a difference in so many lives. Andrew Whitworth also has that heart - believing that anytime you can make things more than just yourself, putting a smile on someone’s face, and make a difference in their lives - there is no more significant victory in service.
When asked what traits most Optimists have in common – I reply, “Optimists are Members with loving, giving hearts who are passionate about the future of our youth.” Some invest their time by simply making a kid smile, letting them know that we believe in them. Some invest their finances to support Club programs and youth activities. Some infuse their voices thru Club leadership and make changes in communities to better serve our kids in today’s society.
Next week kicks off two Optimist International Signature programs; The Optimist International Oratorical World Championships and The Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Thousands of students have participated in various levels of competitions, providing opportunities to participate in these world-class programs, all because of your investment in their personal growth and futures.
Yes, Andrew Whitworth - There is no more significant victory in community service. We are investing in each other, leading with our hearts!