Building skills for the future

Public-speaking contest aims to help youth gain confidence, sharpen skills.

South Surrey students Luna Tang (left) and Felix Zhu are among nearly 40 youth registered for a public speaking contest.

South Surrey students Luna Tang (left) and Felix Zhu are among nearly 40 youth registered for a public speaking contest.

A public-speaking contest for youth aimed at “bridging cross-culture communication” has been launched on the Semiahmoo Peninsula by a local non-profit group.

The Power Speaking Youth Awards, a three-month, multi-step competition, got underway in October, according to Adele Yu, director of the Chinese Village Club, the group sponsoring the event.

The idea of engaging local youth in public speaking came about over the past year, when Yu said the CVC had been approached by parents who were concerned about language barriers facing their children and the educational and career implications of such issues.

“As a service group, we often receive so many inquiries, and the majority of them are from Chinese immigrants and their kids’ education is always the number-one topic,” Yu told Peace Arch News, noting many White Rock and Surrey parents travel with their children to Vancouver for language and speech training.

“Public speaking is not only a good chance to sharpen their English skills, but it also offers them confidence, practice speaking under pressure and provides a well-rounded skill set.”

The contest is open to students aged six to 18, of all cultural backgrounds – Yu noted that close to 40 students have already signed up from a diverse range of ethnicities.

The first round of the contest requires participants to post a two-minute speech online with a theme of “cross-culture,” which will be reviewed by a panel of judges, and narrowed down to 12 finalists at the end of December.

The final round will take place at the Bell Centre for Performing Arts on Jan. 29 during a gala event, after which winners will be presented with prizes. Judges of the contest include business leaders, university professors and members of the Toastmasters club.

To find out more or to register online, visit www.powerspeechca.com