Spring 2017 Communication and Leadership Award Recipient
Frank Austin, Founder, The Expressive Café ®
The ability to communicate is vital – no one understands this better than a Toastmaster.
Now – imagine that your ability to communicate was taken away from you. As a result of a stroke in 2008, this was Frank Austin's situation. The stroke affected the "language centre" of the brain and resulted in a condition called "Aphasia". This condition hampers the ability to connect words to their meaning – in some cases, the afflicted person can`t talk, can`t read, can`t write. Shortly after the stroke, Frank could not even say his own son's name. Within a couple years and with amazing determination, Frank was volunteering as a peer visitor, and speaking at Stroke Recovery groups to share his strategies and struggles – slowly regaining his speaking ability, gaining confidence, offering hope. Frank taught himself to regain his speech by reading to his son.
Four years after his stroke, and frustrated from a shortfall in resources at home in Elmira, Ontario, Frank founded The Expressive Café ® - a facilitated conversation group for people with Aphasia. Toastmasters know the positive effect of having people participate and communicate in a safe and supportive environment. "The Mission of the Expressive Café ® is to improve communication skills using expressive and receptive activities in a safe environment." It helps give people with Aphasia the confidence to try to communicate and reconnect their lives – either by steadily improving their pre-stroke methods or by rewiring their brain's language centres to discover and hone new skills using methods available to them post-stroke. The outcomes through participating in these groups are hopeful return and reconnection to their communities, less isolation, and a happier, positive outlook on life.
Read more at: https://www.prlog.org/12623556-frank-austin-to-receive-toastmasters-district-86-communication-and-leadership-award.html
Cindy Rocca - MMAD Award Winner!
Toastmasters awards Sudbury Resident Cindy Rocca for Making A Difference!
Cindy Rocca, one of two award recipients, will be celebrated by District 86 Toastmasters for compassionately helping the youth of her community.
SUDBURY, Ontario - March 29, 2017 - PRLog -- Cindy Rocca, member of Greater Sudbury Speakers, joined Toastmasters in January 2014 for the purpose of professional development. Since then, she has taken her membership very seriously and has greatly benefited the community with her speaking and leadership skills.
As a teenager, Cindy lived in foster care, then on her own at a very young age. Until she joined Toastmasters, Cindy rarely spoke about this trying time in her life. Toastmasters has helped her to find the ability to speak out and raise awareness for youth in foster care. Since joining Toastmasters, she has been a spokesperson at events for the Children's Aid Society, encouraging youth in care to be the best version of themselves. In the fall of 2016, Cindy wrote an article for the local newspaper about life in foster care, and later spoke at a Foster Parent Appreciation Event. As a former youth in care, Cindy donates to student bursaries and was honored to present this year's Evelyn Koski Crown Ward bursary to a deserving student at Cambrian College.
Toastmasters has given her the voice to speak about her past and encourage others in similar situations to do the same. Cindy also uses her Toastmasters skills as a volunteer for the Canadian Cancer Society. For the past several years, she has been a Master of Ceremonies at the Relay for Life and Teddy Bear Picnic in Sudbury, volunteering her time and talent for the good of the community.
In January 2016, Cindy ran a twelve week youth leadership program started a Gavel Club for youth in Sudbury. She is extremely passionate about Gavel Club and truly believes the sky is the limit for young individuals. She uses her own time to share her love of Toastmasters with the Gaveliers. She also organizes several special events to encourage them and keep them motivated. She is very proud of these individuals, and goes out of her way to make sure they are recognized in the community and ensure their success. She is often heard saying "Gavel Club makes Monday my favourite day of the week!"
It is without a doubt that we look forward to seeing Cindy acknowledged for her contributions to the lives of the young people she has empowered with such open heartedness. Cindy truly embodies everything that the MMAD award stands for. She has had such a positive impact and truly made a difference. The award ceremony will be held at the Communication & Leadership (C&L) Luncheon on Saturday April 29 at the Crowne Plaza in Kitchener, Ontario.
The Members Making A Difference Award is awarded to a District 86 Toastmaster member who volunteer their Toastmasters communication and leadership skills to better the lives of those in their community in a significant and notable way.
Congratulations Cindy from all of us at District 86!
Chris Brown - MMAD Award Winner!
Kitchener Resident Chris Brown is a Toastmaster Member Making a Difference
The Members Making A Difference Award is awarded to a District 86 Toastmaster member who volunteer their Toastmasters communication and leadership skills to better the lives of those in their community in a significant and notable way
KITCHENER, Ontario - March 30, 2017 - PRLog -- Chris Brown will be one of two to be honored by District 86 Toastmasters for his involvement in bettering the lives in those in his community. The event will be held at the Communication & Leadership (C&L) Luncheon on Saturday April 29, during the District 86 Spring Conference April 28 to April 30 at the Crowne Plaza in Kitchener, Ontario.
Chris Brown joined Toastmasters in January 2014 and is currently just a few months away from earning his Distinguished Toastmaster designation. When asked "why" he joined, he said "I knew I was a good communicator already, but I knew there was still lots of room for improvement. I wanted to close those gaps. I'm a firm believer in adding value to others everywhere I go. Improving my communication and leadership skills has allowed me to be even more effective with that, both in my professional and volunteer work."
In the heart of downtown Kitchener is a small agency making a big impact: Community Justice Initiatives (CJI) popularized the Restorative Justice movement which has spread around the world. It aims to bring healing to communities by connecting perpetrators of crimes with both their victims and their community so all can heal collectively.
Chris began volunteering with Community Justice Initiatives in 2010, working within their Revive Program which focuses on supporting people affected by sexual trauma, including survivors and also people who have committed sexual offenses. Chris has held various volunteer roles, co-facilitating peer support groups for men who have committed offenses (both pre-sentence and after they've left institutions like Ontario Correctional Institute, and other provincial or federal correctional institutions), groups for women who have chosen to stay with their husbands who committed offenses, support groups for individuals with intellectual difficulties who have committed offenses, facilitated dialog between victim/survivor who wants to reconcile with their offender, education groups on self awareness and for helping men deal with the rising problem of cyber sexual activity particularly where it has resulted in offenses, as well as helping refine the training curriculum materials used within the agency.
When asked about how Toastmasters has impacted his volunteer work, he had this to say: "Peer support is as much about effective listening and empathy as it is about speaking. Being comfortable as a communicator lets me listen actively and respond to impromptu questions or situations that may arise. Teaching classes from whiteboards or from workbooks require varied skills, and I find group participants have an even better learning experience since I've been working on my communication skills. Even more, we always work with a co-facilitator, and developing my leadership skills has helped me and my co-facilitators work even more effectively together as we support our group members."
"I'm often asked: 'Why do you do this work? Why work with these people?'. It's a loaded question of course, as CJI's clients are a very misunderstood population. The average citizen thinks offenders have no remorse for their wrongdoing … and yet at CJI we meet people all the time who know what they've done is wrong and don't want to commit future offenses. Our work directly reduces recidivism, which in turn contributes to greater community safety.
I'm acutely aware that we all make mistakes in life. Some of them more 'epic' than others. Some with more far-reaching consequences than others. But at the end of it all, we're all Human. Despite your mistakes, my mistakes, their mistakes, we're all needing of love and acceptance and being treated with dignity and respect regardless of our shortcomings. Every year I witness amazing transformations as I walk with people along some part of their journey to healing. The resilience of the human spirit is amazing. It's very rewarding work. I usually answer this question by quoting from the lyrics of a song by Tenth Avenue North, which says: 'You are more than the choices that you make. You are more than the sum of your past mistakes. You are more than the problems you create.' I think we all need to hear and personalize that for ourselves. I dream of the day when I can get this message to more people. For my part, I try to embody that message every day. It's my way of 'being the change I want to see in the world.'"
We are pleased to offer Toastmasters (Authors, Workshop Presenters, and others who have resources which support growth as a Communicator or Leader) the opportunity to sell your books, CDs and DVDs at the conference. Deadline for Submission is April 20, 2017, but the sooner you submit, the more likely we will have space for you! (Before April 1 is preferable) Please remit all your information today!!
The guidelines for the District 86 Conference Author's Corner are:
- You reap 100% of your profits
- You are responsible for selling and supervising your own products. Your table in the Author’s Corner display will be available from Friday 2:00 pm until Sunday 2:00pm and you must be registered at all times your wares are available for sale. Any other person selling on your behalf must also be a Conference registrant in that time slot. You may want to bring a table cloth to cover your resources when unattended as we are not responsible for any losses.
If you wish to participate in this opportunity, we need the following information from you as soon as possible:
- The titles of your book(s), CDs, DVDs | The subject matter | Which Conference option you registered for (full or partial registration),
- We will have 4’, 6’ and 8’ tables available for displays. Please let us know which size you will need (we reserve the right to reduce the size depending on available space.)
Please supply this information by filling out the form at Google Form If You wish to have a table at the conference