This article was written by 2019 fellowship winners Alice Chen, Arushi Wadhwa and Stephanie Xiang.
Today, communication skills are absolutely essential for success within and outside of school.
However, students are often thrown into presentations, interviews, and projects without a strong
foundation supporting them. We aim to fill that gap, ensuring accessibility for all students. We
hope to offer kids ages 6-13 the coaching, support, and mentorship they need to become
confident in their speaking abilities. Additionally, we will leverage this opportunity to further
investigate the attitudes, challenges, and needs of our target demographic in regards to public
After filing a NUANS Name Report, we have successfully incorporated our organisation,
establishing its not-for-profit status within the country. As a not-for-profit, we have been able to access discounted venues and bookings, minimising our long-term costs. We then purchased a domain name (vocaspeak.com) and established a business email with our new domain. We have started crafting our social media and outreach accounts, creating a Facebook and Instagram account to better reach out to students. Using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, we have created a logo and selected branding colours.
We’ve booked a venue for our first workshop, currently set for September 14th. We will double down on marketing to achieve our target turnout for our workshop. At this workshop, we will split our participants into different age groups and begin our coaching. Next, we will immediately host an information session for the parents for all our participants. Here, we will share pre and post-workshop surveys to gauge the attitudes of our participants.
Given the nature of our project, it is not yet completed. As we have a long term vision of
continuing Voca Speak, there are still milestones and goals to be fulfilled. However, becoming
incorporated as an official non-for-profit and creating a corporate domain was a huge milestone
as that sets us up to professionally continue and expand this project.
Working with a mentor
Jessica from VL Omni is our mentor for this fellowship. She is incredible! A great source of advice, guidance, and support. During our call, we introduced our project to her and spoke about several challenges we were expecting in the weeks moving forward. We were worried about the process of incorporation, the costs of venues, and the data collection process for our survey. Her advice has helped us restructure our marketing plan, as we now focus on both digital outreach and community outreach.
What we have learned
This fellowship has taught us the importance of collaboration, the importance of tracking our finances, and the dangers of underestimating timelines. As with any project, there are often unexpected changes or technical difficulties, which makes preplanning buffer time essential. Another lesson learnt is the best ways to reach out to public organisations, such as community centres. Often, our emails would receive no response, even after multiple follow-up emails. With a lot of perseverance and after several in-person conversations, we were finally given the cost estimates and fine print we required. Finally, we grew to specialise and became better at task division. Working in a team of three, accountability is of the utmost importance. One of the easiest ways to ensure tasks were being completed to the best of our abilities was to assign positions/roles based off of experience, strengths, and preferences. Stephanie, a graphic design enthusiast, focused on digital production and marketing. Arushi, with extensive experience in liaison and managerial positions, focused on reaching out or booking venues. Alice, with extensive experience with incorporation, logistics, and leadership, focused on organisational establishment and managing finances.
What is left to do
At this point, a major milestone is to host our workshop and formally launch our initiative. We envision Voca Speak as a long-term project to maximise our impact on our community and expand our reach for our investigation/study. In the future, we hope to continue to host community workshops, reach out to parents and students, organise a public speaking tournament, and continue to collect responses. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to present our project at the TU20 Expo on September 28th!