Below is the press release about our new organization! 


June 25, 2024


New Plant City Non-Profit Supports Youth

A new Plant City based organization has been established specifically to support the youth of the Plant City area.  Plant City Champions for Youth, Inc., an IRS-recognized 501-c-3 non-profit, has begun operations following the closure of the Optimist Club of Plant City which disbanded in May.

The new Plant City Champions for Youth organization will allow its board to focus one hundred percent on Plant City area youth.  Its mission statement reads: “The Club will promote activities and opportunities that help Plant City, Florida area young people build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders through service, personal development, and recreational opportunities.”

Champions for Youth President Robert Olszewski said “The youth of our area are the future of this community, state, and country.  Plant City Champions for Youth was formed to equip, enable, and support them in their futures by being their “champions” in these endeavors.  Our hope is that this organization will build on the previous club’s history and its successes, but be more focused on local community values”.

Previously, fees were required to be paid to the national Optimist International parent organization and state district in addition to the local operating expenses paid by the club.  Now, as a local-based volunteer organization, every penny collected will stay within the Plant City area.  Also, charitable donations to the Optimist Club 501-c-4 organization were not tax deductible like donations to Champions for Youth are.

Programs offered by the former club will be continued by the new club.  “Plant City Champions for Youth is hyper-focused on Plant City area youth” stated Jack Holland, a long time Optimist Club member and Champions for Youth board member.  “Support of the Plant City Parks & Recreation Department, including financial scholarships for youths that cannot afford a registration fee, will be a key part of our efforts” Holland said.

Academic and social growth is recognized through programs such as the Teen Talk speech contest, the Youth Excellence Awards program for outstanding high school students, a Law Appreciation dinner involving area middle school students, participation in the Parks & Recreation Annual Easter Egg Hunt and their “Monster Mash” Trunk or Treat event, financial assistance for the Plant City High School Senior Awards program, and the distribution of at least $6,000 each year in vocational school or college scholarships to area high school graduates.

Youth athletics is an important part of growing up for many children, and the new club will continue the tradition of involvement with the Parks & Recreation flag football, basketball, and soccer leagues, including sponsorship of the skills competitions in those sports.  Financial support for Plant City Little League baseball, Plant City Lancers competitive soccer, and the Plant City High School Booster Club will continue as well.

Other community-wide youth programs such as the out-of-school youth food bag program of the United Food Bank of Plant City and youth programs of the Plant City Family YMCA are supported financially each year.  In the past, Youth Care Kits with teddy bears and coloring books have been provided to Plant City Police Department officers to help comfort children involved in traumatic situations.

The former club’s two main fundraisers will continue.  Each fall, the Golf Classic fundraiser tournament hosts over 100 players for several hours of fun.  Starting the Monday before Thanksgiving, the sale of Christmas trees begins at Plant City High School with over 900 trees sold each year.  Volunteer service opportunities are available for teens and adults at all of the club’s activities.

“We encourage our area residents to join us in the effort to lift our youth population to higher achievements in their growth toward adulthood.  Every child deserves an environment to be the best they can be, and we look forward to our Plant City area residents and businesses to be involved, both with contributions of time and talent as well as financial support for the programs” Holland stated.

The Plant City Champions for Youth web site, www.pcchampionsforyouth.org, has more information on the programs offered to area youth.  The club can be emailed with any information requests at pcchampionsforyouth@outlook.com or through the contact page of their web site.