The Raton Optimist Club began in 1981 as a voluntary service organization of civic-minded men
and women dedicated to community service work, making Raton a better place for all to live. Its forty-plus local members
actively promote Raton by contributing their time and skills to various programs, events, and fundraising. In addition the
Optimists work together with other non-profit groups and city officials to encourage cooperation and give back to the community
in a meaningful way.
Back: Gene Garcia, Jonni Valdez-Silva, Julian Gutierrez, Joseph Lever
Center: Tina Lever, Teena Silva
Front: April Gomez, Catherine Garcia, Melissa Munkers
Raton's Optimist Club relies on their membership base and volunteers to run its programs and provide
opportunities for youth in the community. During the fall, optimists organize two flag football and volleyball programs
for boys and girls, grades 1 through 6 as well as a basketball program for the same age groups. Local second graders are
treated each holiday season with a party and gifts from Santa Claus through the generosity of donors. Following the basketball
season, their biggest fundraiser each year is the annual Optimist Extravaganza, an entertaining event designed to raise
money and assist four high school graduates with college scholarships. Also, each year the Optimist Club sponsors a team
and fundraise locally for Raton’s Relay for Life event.
Recently the Optimists have taken on some new events by organizing
Raton’s New Year’s Eve Bash, the Raton Arts and Crafts Fair, and its 4th of July parade. Likewise, the club has agreed to
revive their oratorical and essay competition beginning next year. It also helps students with monetary requests for special
events, trips and scholastic endeavors by working together with other local non-profit organizations. Another important
piece of the program is its Junior Octagon Club, which mentors local youth to stay optimistic and contribute to their communities
in a positive way. The success of all these youth programs and family events wouldn’t be possible without community volunteers
who graciously donate their time and positive energies to build a better community for all. If you’d like to become involved
with a rewarding organization and make a positive contribution to your community call Jonni Valdez-Silva at (505) 445-2761
or April Gomez at (505) 445-4000. To learn more visit the web site www.optimist.org.