In 1949, an Optimist club member from Charlotte named Earl Yarborough became concerned about all the bad publicity that youth were receiving due to the actions of a small percentage of this group.  He asked the Queen City Optimist Club to help him start a program that would honor the huge majority of young people who were decent, law-abiding, concerned, willing to learn and respond. As a result of the success of this program, the North Carolina District of the Optimist Clubs endorsed this idea, and clubs all across North Carolina started honoring young people in various ways such as school assemblies, picnics, banquets, field days, and various other programs.

Within the next year or so, the word of this program had spread to Optimist International Headquarters in St. Louis, and in 1954, the program was adopted on the international level and today is one of the cornerstones of most successful Optimist Clubs.

This year the Winston Salem Optimist Club held their Youth Appreciation Banquet on Monday, November 5, 2014, at 7 pm at  Calvary Church We were privileged to honor an outstanding student from each of the 13 high schools.