Summer CSGC Grant Update: Voices Part II

For my Summer Grant project, I’ve continued to work with the blind school ORBIS as I did the previous year to help cultivate and make public speaking as accessible as possible for blind students in China. I will do this by continuing the public speaking competition I did last year.

For More context, here is last year’s post.

The planning this time was a lot quicker than the team’s. I largely kept the same preparation structure as last year’s, starting with individual training and one-on-one coaching, then moving into large group workshops at the end of the summer before the big public speaking competition. The most notable change to the system this year is the increased focus on individualized training, with longer tutoring sessions dedicated to reciting speeches and creating a speaking style with tutors making edits to their speech and correcting Grammar mistakes outside of class. The reason for this change is the hope that the newer students will feel more confident to speak in front of a large crowd if they receive more intensive preparation. The topic of this speaking showcase is a memory that the students hold dear to their hearts, titled “My Story.”

My role as coordinator and lecturer has stayed the same since last year. I will continue to serve as a tutor and work with ORBIS staff to organize the event behind the scenes. This year has seen me doing more tutoring as there has been an influx of newer students eager to participate and need coaching and guidance. The workshop dates are still yet to be determined.

This year’s prizes will be the same braille books and plush toys as last year. Still, we plan to change it up this year by making the prizes something the students can gift to their guardians. The benefit of giving prizes that students can gift to their guardians will help them feel empowered by letting them be on the giving end.

Either way, progress this year looks pretty smooth, and we’re hoping to outdo ourselves.

-Billy ’25