(Oct. 11, 2019) The Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club recently fingerprinted 200 students at Showell Elementary School as a part of its Youth ID Program.

The program, which was started in 1996 by local club member Steve Acton, has scanned the fingerprints of approximately 75,000 Worcester County students in prekindergarten through eighth grade since its inception.

“We give parents a card they can keep with them and if something happens, like say they were on the Boardwalk in Ocean City and their kid got lost, there would be a description of the child and all the pertinent information the police would need to help recover the child,” Roger Pacella, publicity chairman for the Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club, said.

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Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club member Melva Middleton fingerprints Kalin Bouaphakeo, a prekindergarten student at Showell Elementary School. The club fingerprinted 200 students at Showell on Sept. 30 as part of its Youth ID Program.

In addition to having their fingerprints taken, students also get their picture taken in front of a height chart in order to further help police in the event the child goes missing.

Typically, the procedure is done for students in prekindergarten up to first grade, though transfer students up to eighth grade can also be added to the system.

The program is offered during the school day.

The Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club’s Youth ID Program is provided throughout Worcester County in both private and public schools. The group has also brought the program to Phillip Showell Elementary in Sussex County, Delaware.

“Optimist Club’s motto is ‘Friend to youth,’” Pacella said. “We do everything in the community we can to help kids.”

The club also provides essay contests, supports local sports clubs and was responsible for furnishing the children’s section of the Berlin Library.

It also just hit the $2 million mark in scholarships for students at Stephen Decatur, Pocomoke and Snow Hill high schools.

The Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club is always seeking new volunteers and currently has 117 members.

For more information about the Youth ID Program or to sign up to become a volunteer for the Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club, visit https://ocberlinoptimistclub.org/, call Pacella at 410-641-8283 or email him at r.pacella@mchsi.com.

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