District 39

Where Leaders Are Made

Where Leaders Are Made

On a day like any other last week, a group of Vacaville teens in a local leadership program quietly took a virtual mic and let their emotions flow, addressing very personal issues including bullying, racial tension and violence, leadership and community.

By letting others in, they offered insight into their worlds while fulfilling a speech-making goal at the same time.

“These kids are wonderful!” enthused Dianne Langston with the Vacaville City Speakers branch of the Toastmasters Club. “They’re intelligent, thoughtful, respectful.”

Teddy Ngoy with Toastmasters agreed.

“They’re confident, well spoken,” he said. “There’s a lot of leaders in this group.”

The Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club partnered with Toastmasters to help teens in the Club’s intern program hone their speech-making skills.

On this day, the kids learned all about parliamentary procedure, how to make and vote on motions and were evaluated on their speaking skills.

Just a handful of youth gave speeches, but the issues came from their hearts and their confidence blossomed within minutes of speaking.

Gracie Nance, 16, spoke about differences and how today’s kids are more judgmental than those of previous generations.

“It really scares me,” she said.

She recalled an incident where a girl was verbally bashed because her condition made it difficult for her to make friends. It was a tough experience, she said, and she’s determined to effect change.

“We need to do everything we can to stop this,” she emphasized.

Junior Arteaga, 14, spoke about leadership and how becoming a leader impacted him.

“I just like seeing younger kids become better than me, seeing their happy faces when I’ve helped them,” he shared. “That makes me feel like I did a great job.”

Golden Pryor Jr., 16, tackled violence as a whole.

“We need to worry about races killing (their own) races,” he said.

Many talk about uprisings against them but they can’t or won’t stop killing their own, he pointed out.

“The first step is, we need unity,” he said.

Music, by way of gangsta rap or thug rap has a hand in the violence, he explained, as people are lured in by an exciting culture that’s different from their own lives.

“We want to live the life but that’s not our life,” he continued. “We live in Vacaville.”

People need to be more responsible regarding what they listen to, he added.

“We need more rappers with the right message,” he said. “Not the trash music of kill, kill, violence, rape, sex.”

The media helps promote stereotypes, gangsta rap and the racial divide, he said, and that needs to stop.

He closed his talk with a challenge.

“Look into positive messages and positive rappers,” Golden encouraged.

Langston and Ngoy said the youths were courageous in their speeches, giving of themselves to shine a light.

Toastmasters Teac Local Teens Speech Making (click here)
Dianne Langston Division D Director