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In today’s world of rat race competition, hard work is the Passport to success. But hardwork alone is not enough, you have to work “smart” too and that depends on how effective you are. The Toastmasters IClub which is worldwide was started in the year 1924 and through participation in the Toastmasters Communication and Leadership program, people from all backgrounds learn to overcome nervousness when speaking  before an audience, organise and present ideas logically and convincingly,  listen carefully to others ideas, offer helpful advice that will help others improve their speaking and leadership skills and particpate in   lead - group discussion or meetings.

It also aims at increasing self confidence and having fun while learning and making new friends to speak effectively, conduct a meeting, manage a department or business, lead, delegate, and motivate.
St. Mary’s Church Dubai has been effectively and efficiently organizing the Youth Leadership Programmes with the help of professional Toastmasters,  since the last 5 years. Children are trained to improve their communications skills. The 8 day course which started on the 23rd of March, 2006 had 26 participants (both boys and girls) who were so confident in their public speaking skills at the end of the programme.

Avinash D’Souza, the President of the Star of Arabia Club – Dubai was the main trainer and alongwith Toastmaster Anupama and Advanced Toastmaster Yamuna trained the participants in  the art of communication skills.  The main thrust was to increase the ability to motivate and persuade and thus enhance the skills of communication which is very essential to be a successful person in today’s world.

There were daily 2 hour sessions in which there were speakers, evaluators, Sergeant at arms and  a President for each session., The Participants were taught the following :
Principles of good listening
Presentation of speaking skills,
Conducting meetings,
Preparing an effective speech
Speaking before an audience
Learning to evaluate
Impromptu speeches
Table topics

“The proof of the pudding lies in its eating” and on April 5, 2006, was the grand finale when parents could witness the change in their children. Most parents who felt that their child faced stage fright were rather shocked to see them go up stage and speak so confidently without the help of a paper.

There were prepared speeches in which the young and dashing Irene Arpurtharaj who spoke very forcefully on “Generation Gap” walked away with the Best Speaker prize.
Zara Rasquinha who evaluated the speech by Ranjan Fernandes with a very encouraging and lucid evaluation was voted for as the “Best Evaluator” and Josny Johnson was the Time Keeper for all the speeches as well as evaluations.

Vishnu Raut, a professional Toastmaster, conducted the Impromptu session in which the participants were given topics on the spot and were asked to speak. It was amazing how confidently each one spoke even though the topics were given on the spot and Vivian Anthony Britto and Geomichael Johnson proved their skills in table topics.
President of the evening Beatrice Arpurtharaj did a splendid job in compering the event, with her lively remarks and on the spur of the moment comments which regaled the audience. Ashel gave the vote of thanks.

The awards were given away by the newly elected Provincial of the Capuchins Fr. Verghese who is a Toastmaster himself,  Ms. Geetha Nicodemus, Governor of the Toastmaster’s Club along with other Toastmasters Vishnu Raut and CTM Ronald Olivera.  Ronald Olivera needs no introduction to the Konkani world as he is an ace compere in Konkani too. He was also one of the resource persons for the sessions and imparted very valuable tips on how to become an effective toastmaster. He said, the three important things a speaker should be aware of is to know when to START up, when to SPEAK up and last but not the least when to SHUT up. The participants enjoyed his session very much.
Ms. Geetha Nicodemus, suggested that a Gavel Club be formed so that the young participants will get the chance to be in touch with this newly acquired talent and practice it for their own benefit.

Avinash D’Souza was given a standing ovation by every participant when he was being honoured for his dedication. Even on the last day, inspite of his work schedule that took him away from Dubai, he managed to come just in time for the function, directly from the aiport, which only showed his dedication and commitment. The children were priviliged to have been trained by a person who has set an example to them by his own precepts.
The YLP was organised by the St. Mary's Parish Council, Dubai and was ably coordinated  by  its members Paul Ravi, Vimal Fonseca, Aboline D’Cunha & Leela D'Souza  and supported by the Parish Priest  Rev. Fr. P.M. Peter.
This is just the beginning….. the young toastmasters have now acquired a new SKILL but that alone is not enough, they have to have a WILL to practice and practise till they are perfect.


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