Monroeville Club Nurtures the Gift of Gab
Bowling, Brian, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
A club devoted to public speaking may seem anachronistic at a time when people increasingly prefer e-mails and texting to face-to- face or even phone conversations, but the members of Monroeville Toastmaster Club 2954 say their organization is more relevant now than when it was founded 50 years ago.
"The art of speechmaking is not losing ground, particularly when people see the benefits of rhetorical communication through people like the current president," said Bernhard Erb, the club's vice president of membership.
Regardless of what people think of their politics, politicians such as President Barack Obama and former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo repeatedly demonstrate the power of the spoken work, Erb said, as did Ronald Reagan, the late former President .
The Monroeville club was founded on June 17, 1959, and it will celebrate its 50th anniversary Wednesday at Tolerico's in Monroeville. Toastmasters International started in 1924 in Santa Ana, Calif., and has 9,000 clubs with more than 200,000 members worldwide. District 13 has 69 clubs covering 37 counties in Western Pennsylvania, 20 counties in West Virginia, three counties in Ohio and two in Maryland.
Nate Stephens, president of the Monroeville club, said Toastmasters gives people a self-paced program to learn communication and leadership skills. While the program emphasizes speaking before groups, the organizational and thinking skills it teaches have far-reaching applications. …