Optimist Club of Malibu starts new program: ‘Kids Speak Out!’ 

Contributed photo

The nine finalists presented their speeches in the Raitt Recital Hall on the Pepperdine campus

The Optimist Club of Malibu started the “Kids Speak Out!” program at the Malibu elementary schools last year in an attempt to provide a more equitable competition for younger speakers.

The goal of this program is not to determine who wins, but rather to provide the opportunity for boys and girls to gain experience in speaking to an audience and develop self-confidence.

“This is a relatively new program for the Optimists and is essentially a pre-oratorical program open to all of the fourth-grade students in Malibu,” former Optimist Club of Malibu President Mona Kyle said. “The Optimist Oratorical Contest has become the longest-running program sponsored by Optimist International. The contest is designed for young people to gain experience in public speaking, perfect self-expression, gain self-assurance and improve communication skills. 

Anyone under the age of 19 can compete in the Optimist Oratorical Contest. 

The topic for this year’s competition is “Can an ‘Everyday Hero’ Bring Out Optimism in Others?” The students have seen a PowerPoint presentation in which optimism and the Optimist Creed were explained as well as the concept of “Everyday Heroes.” 

Heather Anderson and Fiona Corrigan visited each of the fourth-grade classes to present a general workshop on public speaking. Last month, the preliminary rounds of competition were held and three students were chosen from each fourth-grade class to represent Webster, Our Lady of Malibu and Malibu elementary schools.

“This is only the second year this Optimist program has been offered to the fourth-grade students in Malibu, and the schools have been very receptive and great about welcoming us into their classrooms,” Kyle said. “The preliminary rounds of competition were held at each of the schools during the week of May 22.”

The nine finalists presented their speeches in the Raitt Recital Hall on the Pepperdine University campus.

Last month, the Optimist Club granted scholarships of $1,000 to a total of 11 students. Out of these recipients, nine students were from Malibu High School, while one student each hailed from Viewpoint and Oaks Christian.

For the past 60 years, the Optimist Club of Malibu has been presenting scholarships to graduating seniors. 

Initially, the scholarships began with a value of $100, but they have now been raised to $1,000 per recipient.

Throughout the span of 24 years, the Optimist Club of Malibu has generously distributed a sum of $294,000 in scholarships. Notably, among the beneficiaries was Henry Stern, the former state senator, who was granted a scholarship in the year 2000.