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South Huntsville Optimist Club donates $25,000 to City’s Special Populations Program

Published on January 15, 2021

Optimist Club members present a $25,000 check to Mayor Battle at a City Council Meeting

The City of Huntsville received a generous $25,000 check from the South Huntsville Optimist Club to support its Special Populations program. Managed by Huntsville Parks & Recreation, the program provides activities for individuals with special needs at the Buddy Bryant Youth Center near Optimist Park and the recreation center.

“Part of our charter is patriotism and to help youth, and we found a project to fit both,” said Dennis Anderson, a board member with the South Huntsville Optimist Club. “We have a successful fundraiser where we put up flags in Bucks Canyon and Hampton Cove, and now the money generated from that fundraiser is being used to help our youth.”

Anderson says the Club is committing funding and volunteers to support the Special Populations program for the next two years.

Parks & Recreation Director Steve Ivey established the Special Populations program in 2018 to help provide recreation to the underserved special needs population.

“We have many great organizations in Huntsville that help individuals with special needs,” said Ivey. “The feedback from these organizations and the community was that there were still hundreds of individuals who needed free or low-cost activities accessible to their needs. With the new Special Populations program, we have been able to reach many of those individuals.”

For the program supervisor, Tia Clayton, the program is a joy to the participants and their families.

“In our first two years, our program has served over 200 children and adults with special needs,” said Clayton. “We have established basketball teams, summer camps, special events and activities that are adapted to accommodate those with physical and mental needs.”

WATCH: Special Populations Program: What it means to our community

“The City is grateful for the Optimist Club’s commitment to enrich this meaningful program with their resources and volunteers,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “Their generosity will allow the City to increase the number of people served in camps and after school programs at the Buddy Bryant Youth Center.”