Against insurmountable odds Sudbury resident is a semifinalist in the world's largest speech contest
Released from prison just one year ago, Jose Vivar rose above a pool of 30,000 Toastmasters participants.
Vivar, a member of a Toastmasters Club in Sudbury, surpassed fierce competition to win over the judges with his speech "The Most Valuable Gift". The speech touched on the themes of resilience, perseverance, and the power to overcome and change. When it comes to connecting with an audience, he said, "I wanted to share my story, that if I can do it anyone can, anyone can change."
Vivar will compete with 101 other winners from districts around the world who advanced to the 2017 semifinal round after a six-month process of elimination through club, area, division and district speech competitions. Their five- to seven-minute speeches were judged on content, organization, gestures and style.
"Toastmasters speech contests are a way for me to tell my story to those outside who have a perception of being in prison. We have skills; we have stories," says Vivar. "I hope my journey will inspire those in prison to work, work, work and achieve their destiny." Vivar is the founder and operator of a non-profit company, 25/7 Fitness, named because he values working harder – one more hour per day. He joined Toastmasters while in prison as a way to improve himself, to embrace change and to redirect his life path.
The Toastmasters International Speech Contest began in 1938 and is the world's largest speech contest, involving 30,000 participants from 142 countries. It culminates with the popular World Championship of Public Speaking held annually at the organization's International Convention.
Contests allow Toastmasters to gain speaking experience, others to learn by observing proficient speakers, and showcase the Toastmasters educational program. "Speech contests provide an opportunity for individuals to further develop their speaking skills by leaving the comfort of their home clubs and performing to larger audiences." – Cathy Herschell, DTM, Program Quality Director, District 86
To interview Vivar or learn more about the contest and Toastmasters club membership, contact the Public Relations Manager. Follow on District 86's Facebook page and @Toastmasters International on Twitter to track Vivar's progress.
About Toastmasters District 86
District 86 is one of 102 districts representing the heartland of Ontario comprising of over 235 community and corporate clubs, with over 5,000 members, from Timmins in the north to Welland in the south, from Sarnia in the west to Markham in the east – and all communities in between – except Toronto. To learn more about District 86, please visit the District 86 Toastmasters Website (http://www.toastmasters86.org/)
About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., the organization's membership exceeds 345,000 in more than 15,900 clubs in 142 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.
Dennis Bartel - Public Relations Manager
District 86 Toastmasters 2016-2017