I have to say, I’ve seen a marked difference in the way I speak but just as importantly, or perhaps unanticipated the way I listen to people.
I originally joined to find an interest outside of my traditional paths to friendship. I wanted to meet/mingle with other LGBT people and we are fortunate to have a chapter that is predominately queer here in Austin. So, with the encouragement of my friend Bart (who is an amazingly accomplished speaker/leader) I went to the inaugural meeting of the AGLCC Toastmaster Meeting.
So far it’s been an interesting journey. There are multiple lessons which spring from different types of speeches one gives to gain confidence and competency in different areas and with different approaches to speech giving. So, in succeeding entries on the subject you likely will find typed versions of the speeches I give so I can record those here for posterity.
The first speech is the Ice-Breaker speech. And, primarily it’s an opportunity to provide an introduction of yourself to the group. It’s only 4 minutes or so long, so not a lot of time (particularly for those of us who’ve been earth more decades than that).
In that time we tell a little bit about ourselves and why we came. I hope to develop and improved sense of self, timing, grammar and all that is on TOP OF meeting some new and interesting folks.
As I was examining my own interests for the upcoming year I thought “What if my resolution is to make a difference”. Now, the idea of making a difference is a broad subject. How exactly one does that or what cause to advocate for is equally diverse. Cancer, hunger, homelessness and the like are all worthwhile causes. Any of those would be a worthy endeavor.
The challenge that I’ve had supporting those in the past is wondering at the end of the campaign or year if I actually did make a difference? – If, my time, money or effort mattered? I would argue that the purpose of giving or being an advocate shouldn’t be inspired or tied to the end result, or the feedback or accolades one received. But, it would be nice to actually ‘see’ my effort making an impact on lives.
Or.. How about one life? What would 2015 look like if I chose one worthwhile selection to choose to be charitable to or support and see the results of that? You know my passion has always been young people and supporting their development and goal attainment. It’s why I’ve dedicated my career to working in higher education, mentoring at risk youth and working with the GSC Center at the University of Texas at Austin to mentor incoming freshmen.
So in my search for worthy causes – and by this I mean cause, one person to make a difference I began to think of a friend of our family. I’d like to introduce you to Evan Fritts. Or, Evan Fritts (Athlete) as his Facebook page says.
Evans’ parents have been long-time friends of Rob and I and we have been pleased to see he and his brother continue to develop their academic and non-academic interests. Evan in particular has had an early expressed passion for racing. Now, that’s exciting. You know I love cars and this seemed like an interest I could identify with. But, unlike some young folks who express a desire to grow up and be a fireman or an astronaut, Evan is actually pursuing his dream. He’s laid out a plan and is actively attempting to become a driver with the ultimate goal to participate in Formula F1 racing. The path to that is to rise through ranks of KART (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kart_racing)
Too often do I read of stories in the paper of young people who are directionless and make bad choices. They involve themselves in crime or drugs. It occurred to me that I might try actually finding a young person who is making a conscious choice to identify a goal and be willing to work towards it. That’s an amazing endeavor!
Like all goals that are worthy of accomplish, it takes work, dedication and training. There is a drawback to choosing this particular path however, and that’s the financial commitment required to accomplish this goal. Even KART racing, without entering the ‘big leagues’ requires a dedication beyond the long hours and travel.
To Evan’s advantage, he has strong family commitment from his parents and brother. They frequently are there on the sidelines cheering Evan on as he circles the track in constant effort to increase his track times and thus improve his overall chances of becoming a professional driver. It’s been exciting to watch this one young man’s efforts and dedication.
That’s why Rob and I invite you to join us in a social experiment for 2015. Let’s see if we can help Evan reach his goals for 2015. It’s possible that if we join together to help just one person develop their interest – we can see where Evan takes his racing career in its earliest stages. How exciting would it be to see Evan circle a Formula F1 track, maybe right here in Austin! (I am after all the self-proclaimed President of the Texas Chapter of the Evan Fritts Fan Club).
Please consider what your own commitments are for 2015. I’d encourage you to maybe pick two New Year’s resolutions. One for yourself. And, one for the betterment of someone else. If you find your ability to support a young person’s dream difficult from a financial standpoint, maybe you can help by passing on this message to others!
I for one will be screaming the loudest (well, except for maybe Karen his Mom), when Evan crosses his first Formula race crossing the checkered flag. I hope you’re excited about his future too.
Here’s your opportunity to help
OR insert the link above into your browser and help Evan’s dreams for 2015 come true.
Solis R. from Austin, TX at City Wide meeting in Austin, Texas, January 2014
this is a visual on the “learning life” of a typical student. Relating to students starts with figuring out where they are coming from!
Rob and I celebrated 23 years this year. How we arrived at this point I’ll never know. Time does fly and 23 years would have passed with our without my notice.
What’s been great this year is the opportunity to look back as we not have before. With so much history together, it’s clear now we have a lengthy reservoir of memories to draw upon. Much like our very first date, we reprised with a visit to a theatre (there’s no drive ins anymore like that first time) and to a restaurant after. (The restaurant has gone up significantly in star rating too).
I believe we laughed together (the main ingredient in our ability to endure times where it’s difficult to find humor in the circumstances) all the way from first course to last. We spent time quizzing one another one what our favorite, and least favorite memories were. This turned out to be a very powerful exercise in examining the years through the kaleidoscope of amazement. True shock that we survived some trials, and admiration for one another for making it through the very roughest ones.
I don’t know anyone with more tolerance, patience and love. He has truly shown me how to be a wonderful human being.