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'Awesome' public speaking workshop for youth in the works

Former primary school teacher wins a no-strings-attached $1,000 Awesome Foundation grant to help youth in English as a Second Language programs to speak more confidently
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John and Eva Ostapeic (far left and middle) are shown here with three of the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce's Awesome Foundation trustees (from left) Jackie Playter, Diane Farmer and Wasim Jarrah. Contributed photo

Former primary school teacher Eva Ostapeic knows that public speaking can be challenging for youth, even for those who are confident in the language in which they are delivering their speech.

But speaking in front of a crowd becomes that much more difficult when English isn’t your first language.

That is why Ostapeic put together an application for the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce’s Awesome Foundation for a public speaking workshop in Newmarket in early 2019 for youth enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.

Ostapeic was chosen as the November 2018 Awesome Foundation recipient and has received a no-strings-attached $1,000, which she will use to team up public speaking coaches to offer the workshop.

“I felt inspired to launch a public speaking workshop because I know youth, especially ESL youth, experience anxiety when they have to express themselves in front of a large audience,” Ostapeic said. “I expect the workshop to help Newmarket youth overcome their fear of public speaking and give them the tools they need to effectively express themselves in the presence of a large audience.”

The workshop will offer a variety of public speaking tips, including how to ease anxiety, sound natural, perfect pronunciation, deliver powerful messages and more.

Since its launch in 2012, the chamber’s Awesome Foundation Newmarket has awarded more than $60,000 in micro-grants to people or groups with awesome ideas that support the needs of local youth.

A group of 10 local trustees each contribute $100 a month of their own money toward the pool of cash that is granted to an award recipient. The $1,000-per-project windfall does not have to be paid back.

Newmarket's Awesome chapter is part of a worldwide movement that finds trustee groups determining their own community’s needs, reviewing and voting on submissions, and selecting a winner each month.

Some months there’s a tie, and two individuals or groups split the money, and other months see no grant going out at all. The one constant is that the initiative must benefit young people.

If you have an awesome idea, you can submit it here.