Auction 2016

Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo
Right Start Auction

What a great time was had by all at the 17th annual auction fundraiser to help children get off to a “Right Start” to their school year. Kids in Tune serenaded the arriving guests, 175 generous attendees, who opened their wallets or scanned their plastic to purchase auction items. The auction neted over $10,000.  The little red schoolhouse centerpieces yielded $248 in change, to fund the purchase of school supplies for the children identified by Family & Children Services. The Prize Board was sold out in 15 minutes.

Heartfelt thanks go out to committee members: Alma McCarty, Andrea Stork, Gene Kangas, Linda Ingersoll, Linda Thompson, Lynn Heckler, Michelle Oliva, Pat Weber, Kate Shane & Bob Balik. Chair of the committee, Cathy Balik, also thanks all the members who collected items for the auctions, sold and bought tickets, helped at the event and showcased what a great Optimist Club we are and how we all pull together to “bring out the best in kids.”


17th Annual Right Start Auction

Tuesday, July 12, at 6-9 pmBOCK-Auction-2016-ThankYou-2
at the Fetzer Center

The Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo (BOCK) is pleased to announce its 17th annual auction fundraiser to help children in our community have “The Right Start” as they enter school in the fall.

Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo (BOCK) is once again partnering with Family and Children Services to identify Kalamazoo area children we can help this year.  With the proceeds raised from the Auction we are able to provide the students with a backpack full of school supplies and a shopping trip to buy new school clothes they would not otherwise be able to afford.

The Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo is a local chapter of Optimist International. With your generous support last year BOCK was able to raise enough money to take 55 children back to school shopping and allow them to choose the needed clothes and school supplies to get their school year off to a Right Start.

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children and get their new school year off to The Right Start!

Tickets) $25 with diner/auction
Raffle ticket only: $20
Grand prize raffle:$1,000 First Prize, 
$250 Second Prize$100 Third Prize

For tickets: Cathy Balik, The Right Start Committee Chair
269.372.4368 / [email protected]

Auctioneer: Dann Sysma of Improve Effects

Partnering with Family & Children Services.




June 2016 Breakfast Meetings

06/02/16 Nancy Flipse, Pat Weber and Helen Horn History of BOCK: Part 1
06/09/16 Dave McKee History of BOCK: Part 2
06/16/16 Bridgett Blough Seasonal, Organic, Unrefined, Local Food
06/23/16 Hafiz Akbar Islamophobia: Finding Common Ground
06/30/16 Mary Ann Ampersee Fellowship-4th of July
Thursday, June 2, 2016

History of BOCK: Part 1

To come….Nancy Flipse, Pat Weber and Helen Horn (Click image for larger view.)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

BOCK History – Part 2

This is the second part in our look back on where the Breakfast Optimist Club Kalamazoo started.

Thank you charter members Dave McKee, Nancy Flipse, Helen Horn and Pat Weber for all of the work that you did in starting our Club. The club has gone through many changes since the first meeting, May 5th, 1988.

Over the past 28 years many children’s lives have been changed for the better because of the efforts of our Club members.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Seasonal, Organic, Unrefined, Local Food

Past President, Marilyn Lenox-Bosma and the Organic Gypsy food truck owner/operator Bridgett Blough.
Past President, Marilyn Lenox-Bosma and the Organic Gypsy food truck owner/operator Bridgett Blough.

Today’s meeting was pure delight listening to Bridget Blough talk about her new business the Organic Gypsy. Bridget is it cold college alumni after graduating moved to California to explore her love of Health, Exercise and. It was there that she discovered her true passion for nutrition and organically grown and sourced fresh foods. She enrolled in culinary school and brought back to Kalamazoo whole new entrepreneurial venture that we will all be the better for.

There’s a nice video explaination of Bridget Blough’s  journey and a prize won.

VIdeo       Website

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Islamophobia: Finding Common Ground

6/23/16—Welcome to new BOCK member Kerrianne Thomas who was inducted today. Kerrianne was sponsored by Dan Mills. Kerrianne is an army veteran, wife, mother of two and the Deputy Chief of Kalamazoo Public Safety.

Laurie Jefsen and Hafiz Akbar of the Kalamazoo Islamic Center
Laurie Jefsen and Hafiz Akbar of the Kalamazoo Islamic Center

Sometimes a regular meeting speaker has the ability to speak our minds and our hearts—both at the same time. Such was the case with Hafiz Akbar of the Kalamazoo Islamic Center who spoke on the topic, Islamophobia: Finding Common Ground.

Hafiz was studying Engineering at Western when his path took a turn and he became Imam of the KIC. As he spoke he held a small Quran in his hands and talked about the similarities between Islam and Christian religions. Islam is also a monotheistic religion (belief in one God). It was news to most that the Quran contains much of the same backstory as the Bible. Islam recognizes that they are descendants of Abraham, and belief of the existence of Jesus and Mary as prophets. He explained that the headscarfs worn by Islamic women is a sign of reverence just as the Mary is always depicted in works of art with a covered head.

There were many questions for Hafiz which he answers easily. This was one of those meetings where during fines-n-brags many people expressed full appreciation of the new things they had learned about Islam.

The weekly greeter raffle prize was a gift card to Target and two mini pies—which Hafiz won and graciously accepted with a smile as he is fasting in observance of the holy month of Ramadon.

What a great meeting.

Click for larger image…

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fourth of July Fellowship

Birthday-girl Cathy Balik enjoys a cupcake in honor of her special day.

We always love opportunities when we can just hanging out and get to know each other a little better. Mary Ann Ampersee had a game which tied personality traits and colors. Just a fun little game. Lots of laughs. and lots of Announcements: Right Start Auction, Book Club, Respect for Law Movie Night and Golf Outing are coming up….whew…we Optimists are a busy lot.

May 2016 Breakfast Meetings

05/05/16 Lyn Lenox PGI Fun
05/12/16 Nancy Gallihugh Better Hearing & Speech Month
05/19/16 Karen Robyn & students Respect for Law
05/26/16 Mary Ann Ampersee Fellowship
May 5, 2016



Congratulations to Dan Mills (Oratorical Contest), Nancy Gallihugh (Communications Contest for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing) and Chris Shults (Essay Contest) who were recognized by President Laurie Jefsen for their work In putting on the recent contests. They were given cool mugs as a token of the Club’s appreciation. Each year is a pleasure to see the students expressing themselves through writing and speaking on the topic that Optimist International gives each year.

Announcements and Reminders:
  • Super Books sales are done. Whew and thank you to Ralph Meyer for “running” this fundraiser. And if you know of anyone who wants a new Battle Creek Superbook, we can still sell those!
  • Reminder: this Saturday is the District Convention. If you did not already register you can probably still just show up and register on site, but please let Nicole Ingersoll know. At this meeting the Oratorical Contest winners compete in the district competition for a nice scholarship. Good luck to ourFirst PlaceWinner Madison VanWinkle who will be representing BOCK this year in the Girl’s Division.
  • May 12-14 Michigan Youth Arts Festival Is being held at WMU. BOCK is providing vilunteers and you may be interested in checking out the open-to-the-public events—click HERE for the schedule.
  • May 19-21 is the BOCK Yard Sale. Note this year it is a YARD sale because all of the stuff won’t fit in the Garage! Gene Kangas is the contact person.
  • May 26th is the Girls on the Run volunteer opportunity at the Motivation station. There is a required background check so if you are interested in volunteering you must do so by May 19th. Click HERE for more info.
  • June 7th is the next Book Club– the book is: You are One of Them, by Elliot Holt
  • 7/12 Right Start Auction. Ticket sales have started. Cathy Balik explained that this year there are 2 levels – a $20 Raffel-only ticket, or a $25 ticket for the dinner and auction.
Personal Growth and Development

Past President and PGI Chair, Marilyn Lenox-Bosma awarded three members with their next-level pin backs: Nancy Flipse received the Level 6 Purple pin-back, Wilma VanLoo reached Level 5 and received her Black pin-back and Mindy Miller received her Level 2 Green pin-back. Congratulations ladies on your continued involvement in BOCK and working for the kids in our community.

Lyn gave us a preview of proposed upcoming changes for the PGI program that may take effect in the next OI year starting in October and encouraged members to try to “Level-Up” so they can be Grand-Fathered in before the changes. She eluded to OI’s increased attention on social media and reaching out in different ways to potential new Optimists.

Thursday, May 12, 20162

Better Hearing & Speech Month

Nancy Gallihugh

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Respect for Law

Story details to come…..

Thursday, May 269, 2016

A Time for Fellowship

5/19/16 Girls on the Run

Anyone interested in volunteering at a “Motivation Station” for the Girls on the Run 5K on May 26 from 6-8 p.m. Please go to the following website:  and register by May 19, 2016.  All volunteers need to register so background checks may be completed before the race on May 26. Enter BOCK-Breakfast Optimist of Kalamazoo for group name.

Any questions please contact Joanne Beverage 269-873-2881 or [email protected]

A Day at the Farm

Stepping Back in Time

Saturday, April 23 10:00am-2:00pm
at Southern Exposure Farm

From dawn to dusk, early pioneers worked hard to survive on their farms. They planted and tended their crops and gardens, took care of livestock, and preserved food for later consumption. A group of BOCK members spent a day at Southern Exposure Farm  and re-created a day at the farm from the middle of the 1800’s.
Chef Elsie made a great start to the day with homemade muffins and fruit. Then the day continued with the making of soap from goat’s milk, dipping candles in beeswax, planting a flower pot with herbs, and pruning a rosemary topiary. Lunch was extra special with Chef Elsie’s Oven Roasted Chicken with herbs taking center stage. We moved about the farm to the Hog House, Corn Crib, Milking Parlour, and the 1840 Farmhouse.  Today most people do not have a sense of what early life was like for those who tilled the land with horses, pumped water from the earth, or cooked over a log fire. We enjoyed a day of eating, creating, and enjoying the basics of early American farm life.