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High School students create program to help kids with public speaking

Mira Loma High School seniors launch "Leaders Speak" to help kids with public speaking

SACRAMENTO, Calif — Sacramento speech and debate students are taking their skills to help others with public speaking.

Hemang Dhaulakhandi and Derek Yuan are not your normal high school kids. The nationally ranked speech and debate students are using their speaking skills to help other kids get over public speaking fears.

Many kids are absolutely terrified of public speaking. In fact, it can be a nightmarish experience for them. Dhaulakhandi and Yuan wanted to help kids get over those fears, so they started a program to help kids with public speaking.

“When we started our public speaking careers, we realized there was a hill for us to climb, because we weren’t able to develop those skills at a young age," Dhaulakhandi explained. "We realized that we don’t want other kids to go through this. We want to solve this problem and provide opportunities for other kids to start developing these public skills from a young age."

Both Yuan and Dhaulakhandi are seniors at Mira Loma High School, and together they launched “Leaders Speak,” which is a public speaking program that aims to enhance students' abilities and confidence in public speaking. 

“We try to create this fun environment that really cultivates students’ abilities for public speaking," stated Yuan.

The program is free for all students, and since they launched the program over a year ago, they have already impacted over 100 students internationally. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all sessions are offered via zoom.

“The end goal is to help as many students as possible. To improve as many students public speaking as possible," Dhaulakhandi said. “Several weeks into the program I have kids going three to four minutes, just impromptu with no hesitation. That sort of growth really motivates Derek and I that what we’re doing is making a difference, so why not continue it and impact as many people as possible.” 

Dhaulakhandi hopes to go to medical school and become a doctor, while Yuan plans to continue with a professional career in public speaking.

To find out more on Leaders Speak, feel free to visit theleaderspeak.org.

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