Finding Their Voices

Finding Their Voices

“Words can have power,” 10-year-old Roseanna Pendleton declares. “If you can really use words, then you can actually change things big time.”

Thanks to the Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Roseanna, who says she wants to help save the world, has realized the enormous potential of the spoken word.

That’s why she joined the Club’s Junior Toastmasters program.

Launched in 2020 by members of the Club’s Toastmasters group, the program consists of Show & Tell Jamboree, for ages 6 to 9, and Youth Toastmasters Club, for ages 10 to 18.

“This program was set up and is being run for the benefit of future generations to really leverage their voices,” says Member Pueyen Lee, who is in charge of the two groups.

The monthly meetings are designed to offer young Members tips on speaking in front of people while helping them build confidence.

Kai Vroland, 8, says that he now speaks in a louder voice at the sessions.

“I’m not nervous anymore,” says the Show & Tell Jamboree member with a smile. “And now, I’ve learned how to use Keynote [software] to make presentations.”

Children are encouraged to use props—whether a favorite toy, book or slideshow—to augment their presentations, which generally run from two to five minutes.

Nine-year-old Frederick Lin, a fellow Show & Tell Jamboree member, has also become more comfortable giving speeches in front of an audience.

“I also learned tips for remembering what I’m going to say without the paper,” he explains.

The Show & Tell Jamboree meetings draw between 10 and 15 kids. In addition to practical skills, friendships are developed at the Saturday afternoon sessions.

Lee explains that Youth Toastmasters Club helps attendees continue to grow as public speakers through longer speeches and constructive feedback from peers and adult Toastmasters.

“The first time I did it, I didn’t make eye contact enough,” Roseanna says. “The second and third times, because it was pointed out, I tried harder to make eye contact with everybody and project my voice to the back of the room.”

To keep things interesting and fun, each meeting has a different theme, with stickers and ice cream vouchers awarded for performance.

A lover of ice cream, Roseanna explains that joining the monthly meetings isn’t only about finding the right words to express big ideas.

“I think Toastmasters sort of encourages your courage,” she says. “But it’s not just about changing everything. It’s about having fun, too.”

Junior Toastmasters
January 27 | 1–2:30pm (Show & Tell Jamboree) & 3–4pm (Youth Toastmasters Club)

Words: Helen A Langford-Matsui
Top Image (l–r) Roseanna Pendleton, Kai Vroland and Frederick Lin: Kayo Yamawaki

January 2024