Welcome to the Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo – BOCK

Optimist Mission:

By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in our youth, our communities, and ourselves.

Morning Gatherings:

Club Gatherings are on most Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. EST at Michelle’s Restaurant, 677 Romence Road, Portage, MI 49024 (see map below).

Be a first time visitor. The club pays for your breakfast.

No Gatherings when Kalamazoo or Portage Public Schools are delayed or closed due to weather.

Evening Gatherings:

On the following Thursdays: June 27, July 25, August 22, and September 26, the weekly gatherings starts at 5:30 p.m. EDT and is at the Traveler’s Craft BBQ and Whiskey Bar, https://travelerscraftbbqandwhiskeybar.com, 5225 Portage Road, Portage, MI 49002. No morning gatherings on these Thursdays.

At the Thursday, June 27, 2024, evening gatherings, the scheduled speaker is club member Bruce Billedeaux who will be speaking about his time in Antarctica. 

Upcoming BOCK Activities:

Back-to-School program: Time period is Monday, June 17, 2024, through Friday, July 19, 2024. The goal of this program is to help kids in grades K – 12 begin school this fall with the Right Start. The Right Start event provides the opportunity for kids with trauma experiences and kids without adequate resources to shop for a “first day of school” outfit of their choice, allowing them to begin the school year with a boost to their confidence. The club is again teaming with Family & Children Services to identify those kids most in need of beginning the school year with the Right Start. Family & Children Services programs are designed to provide the right forms of support at the right time for families and individuals who need resources.

A fundraiser is one way the club is funding this Back-to-School program. We are asking club members, friends of Optimists, and patrons of worthy causes, to give from your heart. Last year the club helped over 70 kids go back-to-school shopping. Our goal this year is to match that total and provide the same opportunity for children who need the Right Start. It can be done!

For $120 you can sponsor the first day of school outfit for one child. For $40 you can fill a backpack with specific school supplies for a child’s grade level needs.

Please consider giving to this worthy cause in whatever amount you can. You may donate via check (payable to BOCK and mailed to Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo, PO Box 16, Portage, MI 49081) or via Venmo @BOCK17221.

Trivia Night: This club event is on Friday, July 19, 2024, at the Portage Zhang Senior Center, 203 E Centre Ave, Portage, MI 49002. The purpose of trivia night is to raise funds for the club’s annual back-to-school program. The doors open at 5:45 p.m. EDT, dinner starts at 6:00 p.m., and trivia begins at 7:00 p.m. The cost for dinner is $25 per person. The food is catered by Qdoba. The dinner fee includes non-alcoholic beverages and dessert. Participants can bring their own alcoholic drinks. The cost for each trivia team of up to six persons is $120. Team registrations and payments must be received by Friday, July 12, 2024. If interested, use the Contact link above to request the registration form and for additional information.

Golf Outing: This club event is on Sunday, August. 25, 2024, at Ridgeview Golf Course, 10360 W Main St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. Shotgun start is at 9:00 a.m. EDT. The purpose of this event is to raise money for the Bronson Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic and Optimist International Foundation’s Childhood Cancer Campaign. The fee for one player is $80. The fee includes golfing fees, cart, snacks, water and lunch. Other ways to participate are to be a hole sponsor or be a corporate sponsor. 

Links to PDF files:

If other interests or questions about the club golf outing use the Contact link above to send a message.

Recent BOCK Activities:

On Friday, June 7, 2024, about 50 club members and friends attended the Kalamazoo Growlers baseball game against the Kokomo Jackrabbits. The Growlers have a program to honor non-profit/charity organizations. We had an information table, one of our members threw out the first pitch, at various times throughout the night the announcer provided information about BOCK’s community impact, and then some of our members – along with some JOI club members – ran up and down the bleachers collecting donations during the Miracle Minute. We collected $400. 

From March through May 2024, the club assisted a second-grade teacher at the Comstock Elementary School. Examples of the assistance the club provided included reading to the students, providing water bottles and snacks, and being chaperons for a field trip to the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

On Saturday, May 18, 2024, club members cheered the participants in the Girls on the Run annual 5K. BOCK is one of the Local 5K sponsors, https://www.girlsontherunkazoo.org/5k.

On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, the club participated in PowerUp. About 20 club members worked as assembly lines placing food items in bags. These bags of food items are then delivered to local Portage schools on Friday to help children with food insecurities get through the weekend. Link to information about Power Up: https://www.radiant.church/powerup.

During March and April 2024 BOCK has its annual Daisy Dollars fundraiser. BOCK sold swipe cards for purchases at Schuring’s Retail Greenhouse, 610 Schuring Road, Portage, MI 49024. For every $10 worth of Daisy Dollars swipe cards BOCK sold the club earned 25% or $2.50. The club earned $500.

On Sunday, April 21, 2024, the club assisted with children’s activities at the Children’s Nature Playscape on Bronson Park which is dedicated to transforming a reclaimed green space into a nature park for the children of Kalamazoo, https://www.kalamazooplayscape.org/home.

On Wednesday, April 3, 2024, the club participated in PowerUp. About 20 club members worked as assembly lines placing food items in bags. These bags of food items are then delivered to local Portage schools on Friday to help children with food insecurities get through the weekend. Link to information about Power Up: https://www.radiant.church/powerup.

On Thursday, March 14, 2024, at 7 p.m. BOCK held its Oratorical Contest: It took place at at the Portage Public Safety Complex, 7810 Shaver Road, Portage, MI 49002.

On Saturday, February 24, 2024, BOCK participated in the Big Brothers Big Sisters, BBBS, fundraiser Bowl For Kids’ Sake at Revel & Roll West on Stadium Drive. BOCK had two bowling teams. Teams of 5 or 6 people pledge to raise a minimum of $75 each (or $375 per 5-person team, or $450 per 6-person team) to participate. BBBS website with details: https://thinkbigtoday.org/events/bowl-for-kids-sake.

On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, the club participated in PowerUp. About 20 club members worked as assembly lines placing food items in bags. These bags of food items are then delivered to local Portage schools on Friday to help children with food insecurities get through the weekend.

On Thursday, December 7, 2023, the regular get-together was at 5:30 p.m. at Travelers Cafe & Pub, 5225 Portage Rd, Portage. The club wrapped presents for the folks we adopted this year for Christmas.

On Sunday, November 26, 2023, the club decorated a Christmas Tree in Celery Flats. The theme is “A Little Piece of Me!” 

On Wednesday, November 1, 2023, the club packaged weekend food items for needy kids as part of the PowerUp program. Link to PowerUp, https://www.radiant.church/powerup

On Saturday, October 21, 2023, the club participated in the10th Annual Trunk or Treat event for youth and adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities. It was sponsored by the Great Lakes Center of Autism Treatment and Research at 9616 Portage Rd. 

Another event on Saturday, October 21, 2023, that the club participated in was the Monster Mash which was sponsored by the city of Portage and is from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Ramona Park, 8600 Sprinkle Road. 

On Wednesday, October 4, 2023, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., the club partnered with the Portage Department of Public Safety, and the City of Portage Youth Advisory Committee to host an annual free event, Respect for Law, at Ramona Park, 8600 South Sprinkle Road.

Clubs BOCK recently founded and/or assists:

The Smile Always Uganda Foundation Optimist Club, assists 2023.
The Rise Optimist Club, Kalamazoo, founded 2022.
Movers and Shakers Optimist Club of Greater Grand Rapids, founded 2020.
Portage Central High School Rise & Shine Optimist Club, founded 2019.

Optimist Activities:

The Optimist Creed:

Promise yourself –

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.


Inspirational Quote:

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”―Noam Chomsky

Google Maps, Thursday Gatherings:

Thursday Mornings: Michelle’s Restaurant, 677 Romence Road, Portage, MI 49024

Thursday Evenings: Traveler’s Craft BBQ and Whiskey Bar, 5225 Portage Road, Portage, MI 49002