FEBRUARY 12, 1949
NEW YORK, Friday—Tuesday afternoon I went by train to St. Louis to speak to a group of the Opti-Mrs. Clubs. These women's groups have a connection with the men's Optimists organization, though they are not officially recognized.
This group in St. Louis was sponsoring a contest, open to all the members of their district, to determine the best suggestion that a club had put into action. A second award was to be made for a suggestion sent in but which had not as yet been put into operation. I was asked to be the judge. After careful consideration I was able to name the plan in the operating group that seemed to be outstanding. I am printing it here for the benefit of other groups in other communities throughout the country, which may be interested in doing work of this kind.
The plan is:
"To give scholarships to needy girls (working with groups of three) in the following manner:
"1. Two scholarships within our own community, one to a Negro and one to a white girl.
"2. For each two gifts thus made at home, to make one to a girl in one of the war-devastated countries.
"By doing this we can still do the good work we have always striven to do at home and yet, in a small way, let the effect of efforts be worldwide.
"3. Let us appoint a member as a committee of one to correspond with the girls abroad whom we help; to keep us informed as to their well-being and progress, something of their home life, the manner in which our scholarship is being employed. Let this member speak to the girls, through her letters, of the aims and ideals of our Opti-Mrs. Organization and of the American way of life.
"4. Let us make it obligatory for the American girls and the foreign girls to correspond with one another, thereby affording each an opportunity to know something of the others."
The second plan—the one that has not yet been put into operation but which seems to have great practical value—is as follows:
"What I am especially interested in is this: What happens when it is brought to the parents' attention that a child needs dental care, medical care, or a pair of glasses? It is my guess that the need is often neglected, which eventually leads to a physical handicap that probably could have been avoided if the child could have had the proper attention when the defect was first noticed.
"Would it not be possible for the Opti-Mrs. to contact the schools to find out about such cases, and help according to their financial ability?"