The African-American Affairs Commission (AAAC) has established its new affiliated Toastmasters Club in Waterbury. The Challengers Toastmasters Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Meetings will take place at the Grace Baptist Church located at 64 Kingsbury Street in Waterbury, Connecticut. The public is invited to attend.

The AAAC hopes that people will join the group and take advantage of the opportunity to gain communication and leadership skills. While the African-American Affairs Commission is a non-partisan commission of the Connecticut State Legislature, the AAAC does hope that Connecticut residents from all backgrounds, especially African-Americans, will use their improved presentation skills for personal and community advocacy.

“I think the important thing is for people to feel comfortable in presenting their views. They need to have experience in doing that, but first they need to feel supported in doing so. The AAAC is confident that our Toastmasters Clubs can help do that”, said AAAC’s Executive Director Vanessa Burns.

Meetings for a Bridgeport Toastmasters Club have also started. The group meets at Bridgeport City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace, (Wheeler A Conference Room), Bridgeport, Connecticut on the first and third Thursday of every month. It is anticipated that a third AAAC affiliated club will organize later this year.

As a Commissioner on the Waterbury Board of Education and a Vice President of the Challengers Toastmasters Club, Joyce Petteway believes in the value of Toastmasters. “I’ve come to realize that success in whatever field you choose is based on how effective you are. By participating in Toastmasters, my ability to lead, motivate, manage and persuade has been greatly enhanced. Toastmasters has helped me improve my personal and professional life”. Petteway is also President of the Demosthenes Toastmasters Club in Hartford.

Groundwork for the Challengers Toastmaster’s Club (Waterbury) is underway. The group already has 20 members. The following officers were recently elected.

President Kenneth Reeder
Vice-President – Education Annie Booker
Vice-President – Membership Agnes Odom
Vice-President – Public Relations Joyce Petteway
Secretary Patricia Mayfield
Sergeant-at-Arms Pam Stewart
Treasurer LaDonna Blow

The AAAC is a 13-member commission whose mandate charges it with responsibilities to:

  1. Review and comment on any proposed state legislation that would affect the African-American population in the state,
  2. Advise and provide information to the Governor on state policies concerning the African-American communities;
  3. Advise the Governor concerning the coordination and administration of state programs serving the African-American population;
  4. Maintain a liaison between the African-American community and governmental entities;
  5. Encourage African-American representation at all levels including state boards and commissions;
  6. Secure appropriate recognition of the accomplishments and contributions of the African-American population of the state; and
  7. Prepare and submit to the Governor an annual report concerning its activities with appropriate recommendations concerning the African-American population in the state.

Additional information regarding the African-American Affairs Commission (AAAC) and the Challengers Toastmasters Club (Waterbury) may be obtained by calling (860) 240-8555.

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