Sample Speech # 1

Making Dreams Reality

by Amber Mixon

Amber Mixon delivered this informative speech to her public speaking class at the University of Oklahoma. Note how Mixon effectively introduces her speech topic by asking her classmates to think about world hunger in terms of how much money a typical college student spends on food each day. She goes on to clearly explain how an organization called Feed the Children is addressing world hunger and related problems, and how students can volunteer their time and energy to support this cause.

            Did you know that 20 percent of children in the United States under eighteen years of age are hungry? Consider for a moment the amount of money that you as a college student spend in a single day on food alone. Did you know that 1.3 billion people worldwide live on less than one dollar a day? Have you ever volunteered your time to help the hungry? When some students think of volunteering, they focus on the benefits that it brings to their standing in a school organization or the status it earns them on their résumé rather than thinking about how important it is to help those less fortunate than they are.

            However, even if people choose to ignore the hunger problem in our world, one organization has dared to bridge the gap between the impoverished and those unaware of these circumstances. That organization is Feed the Children. Though I don't volunteer often, I have been lucky enough to experience the fulfillment FTC workers experience every day when I volunteered once during Christmas for our church's annual Feed the Children stocking stuffing event.

            Today, I would like to tell you about how FTC began, then discuss different outreach divisions that FTC has created, and finally inform you about ways you can contribute your time or money to make a difference. I will begin by sharing with you a quick overview of how Feed the Children began. I gathered most of the information about this organization from the Web site they have established, as well as by talking with several volunteers.

            Feed the Children began with a simple “down-home feeling” that has continued to thrive in the hearts of its workers throughout its nearly twenty-year history. The founder, Larry Jones, first realized this global hunger problem when he took a trip to Haiti in 1979. After witnessing the devastating effects of poverty, hunger, and poor medical care, he decided to start an organization to address the needs of victims, particularly helpless children. The driving statement behind FTC was quickly put into motion: “Feed the Children is an international, nonprofit, Christian organization providing food, clothing, medical equipment and other necessities to people who lack these essentials because of famine, drought, flood, war, or other calamities.”

            Today FTC has grown to an incredible size. The organization now ministers to the needs of seventy-four countries, including the United States. FTC has also acquired its own fleet of semi trucks in order to increase the efficiency and timeliness of each delivery. They are also the head of a vast network of volunteer associations throughout the world.

            It is clear that through the perseverance and dedication of many individuals, this organization has met with success. To aid as many people as possible, Feed the Children has four separate divisions that respond to specific problems: feeding the impoverished, providing relief during emergencies, offering personal assistance, and providing medical assistance. By specializing how each division responds to problems, FTC is particularly effective in delivering the critical necessities people need at the time they most need them.

            Of Feed the Children's four goals, the most well known aspect of FTC is its overwhelming adeptness at distributing food and necessity items. In 1996, FTC delivered sixty million pounds of food and supplies. Feed the Children has also proven its helpfulness in delivering emergency aid. In the United States, FTC responded quickly and provided assistance to victims of the 1998 Florida tornadoes as well as to the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma.

            Beyond providing emergency supplies and relief in times of need, Feed the Children also attempts to solve long-term problems. Feed the Children stands strong behind its belief that education helps reduce poverty rates. Therefore, FTC created a program, called Hope for Kids, that provides essential learning tools for America's poorest school systems, thus giving kids a chance to succeed.

            Ultimately, Feed the Children meets needy people at the source of their needs, be it hunger, emergency assistance, personal help, or medical assistance. Running a large, global relief organization requires tremendous effort from a lot of dedicated staff as well as volunteers. Feed the Children encourages assistance from volunteers because it helps the organization reach more needy people. On a financial level, Feed the Children accepts tax-deductible donations, consisting of cash, new toys, new household items, and so on. FTC also encourages community fund-raising projects such as recycling, bake sales, and garage sales that generate funds for FTC programs. People can also help out by donating time at their Oklahoma City headquarters. Volunteers can help in many ways, from working in public relations to cleaning to stuffing food boxes. Aiding FTC can even be as easy as attending a Garth Brooks concert and donating a few cans of food.

            As you can see, helping out this organization is not difficult at all. It could be as in-depth as spending a Saturday sorting food boxes, or as easy as putting a check in the mail. Now that we have taken an overall look at Feed the Children, I will conclude with a few final ideas.

            Today, I began by presenting to you the history of the Feed the Children organization and how it is divided into four functional divisions—medical, personal self-help, food provision, and emergency relief. I also shared several ways in which people, even busy college students, can get involved in this organization. Reflecting back on what I said in my introduction, it's easy to see what a big difference even one dollar used by FTC can make to someone who lives on only one dollar a day. As FTC stated in a press release: “Feed the Children isn't just an organization—it's people helping people.”

Discussion Questions

1.  What is the general purpose of this speech? What is its specific purpose?

2.  How does Amber Mixon capture the audience's attention?

3.  How does Mixon establish her credibility to speak on this topic?

4.  Based on Mixon's use of a topical organizational pattern, identify her three main points.

5.  How does Mixon make sure the audience follows and remembers her main points?