I am the Director for Special Olympics Florida out of Hernando County. We had a special athlete who was extremely involved in not only Special Olympics but Toastmasters and his community. His name is Mark.
When he passed away in 2016, one of our athletes wanted to have a celebration to honor his memory and the incredible achievements he procured throughout his lifetime. We put together such an event.
He was a member of the Toastmasters club Nature Coast Orators, Club 8122 based out of Brooksville, Fla. Two Toastmasters – Linda Benitez and Linda Paey – stood out to me from all the people who came to the celebration.
When they spoke about Mark, I was impressed at how composed and eloquent these two ladies were. I wanted to have the skill and grace to speak to groups as they did. Also, Special Olympics has a program called Athlete Leadership. At that time, we had an athlete Kate Stanford who was working on her Global Messenger skills. Her mom and I thought it would be great for Kate to join Toastmasters. To support her in her Toastmasters journey, we joined, too.
What a journey Toastmasters has been! My main goal was to be able to speak about Special Olympics without crying. Well, I am doing better! This organization is close to my heart, and it still gets emotional.
Through the Pathways program and participating in a number of different club roles, I am able to write and deliver speeches with confidence! Toastmasters has helped me enhance my leadership skills, communication skills, and confidence to spread the word on Special Olympics.
Keep going on your Toastmasters adventure!
Sherry A. Honer
Nature Coast Orators