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Homelessness In California – What Is The Problem? And What Is The Solution?

Homelessness in California was the subject for the 83rd annual Student Speakers Contest sponsored by The California Lions Club Multiple District Four in Arcadia, California.

The Lions Club is the largest service organization in the world that has been around for over 100 years serving some 48,000 Lions Clubs around the world.

The Lions Club is a place where many develop leaderships skills and The Students Speakers Contest is one of those opportunities. Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for competitive public speaking and supports students and challenges them to consider topics of importance to them, their community, their state, nation and world. It has grown over the 83 years from a small contest to a large contest with substantial scholarships for the contestants. It helps students to stimulate self-expression and independent thinking. It helps to present to the public through the student speakers contests the problems surrounding the maintenance of this commonwealth as a free nation and to consider the means at our disposal of meeting with solutions the current and future problems.

This event was sponsored by the Arcadia Champion Lions Club, president Daniel Chiu, past president Judy Mak, zone chair Scarlett Ku, Region Chair Amanda Tang, Directors: Xiaolu Yuan, Eliza Tsui attended the contest. Lions club student speech foundation president Chris Ohrmund also attend the contest.

The rules are very straight forward. Essentially a 5 minute not to exceed 10-minute speech. A time monitor follows the clock with each speaker and deducts for under or over time.

There are 4 judges, two attorneys, an architect and Dr. Mark all of us having a public speaking background at many levels. There was a strict judging criterion. Do not speak before or during to the contestants. Judging was on the following breakdown. The Content. Originality 10 points. Did the speech adhere to the subject 10 points. Were the main points supported by evidence 10 points.

Was the conclusion clearly presented 10 points.

The Delivery. The emphasis and voice control 10 points. The enunciation and pronunciation 10 points. The sincerity, enthusiasm and poise 10 points.

The overall effectiveness of the effort. Was the speech well-rounded and a cohesive effort 10 points. Was it logical and organized 10 points. Was the speak persuasive 10 points.

In the Arcadia contest there were 4 contestants. All were high school students with one freshman and the rest seniors and all of a form of Asian descent.  Shinjini Das, Anvitha Marlapati, Jaycee Sacdalan and Ye In Kim.

All the students gave good speeches. They all cited statistics. While knowing the subject very well as I have been working with the Homeless Situation for over 20 years. Knowing the stats and much of the content was garnered from politicians and questionable inaccurate opinionated sources, the judging was only about their speech, delivery and effectiveness of stating the problem and providing a convincing solution. The winner of the contest was Shinjini Das and she qualifies to go on to the next zone level contest.

Afterward we were asked our opinions on their speeches and the subject. I stated it was good to see the great compassion the students had for the homeless and their bright positive attitude about learning. I told the students we feed over 100 people every morning and every evening. One asked why not lunch and I responded because we want them out there looking for and working a job. I invited them and the leaders of Lions Club to come to our facility and to take a day of cooking, cleaning and serving for a first-hand look and learn of what it takes each day to deal and serve the homeless in California. I advised the students with regard to their statistics that about 62% of all statistics are made up by politicians on the spot. They all laughed and we stood for pictures and wished them all luck.

Dr. Mark A. Rafter
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