A Generation That Learns to Listen, Reason, and Persuade,
Can Shape the Future.
New Jersey Orators, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C) 3 youth organization that teaches the art of public speaking, an appreciation for literature, reading and media arts literacy, civic engagement, college readiness and life skills to youth from 7 to 18 years of age in preparation for advance learning. The organization is a national organization with state chapters and a national Advisory Board.
The organization was founded in 1985 by a small group of African-American corporate executives who were concerned by the lack of formal language skills of young people who visited and interviewed for jobs at their respective companies.
Aware that communications skills play a major role in achieving academic and career success, the dedicated executives established the first Orators chapter in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Orators has established a record of achievement with our youth being asked to speak at corporate functions, local non-profit organizations’ dinners, state assembly, state recognition events of national Civil Rights law (Brown vs. Board of Education) and in local churches everywhere.
It has grown from one chapter with 16 members to chapters throughout the state of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and several planned for New York City and beyond. The New Jersey Orators, Inc is headquartered in Bridgewater, NJ.
The growth of New Jersey Orators is attributed to three factors:
1. excitement generated at performances and statewide competitions
2. word-of-mouth by parents and youth
3. referrals by teachers
“This successful program integrates the humanities with school and community. With support from libraries, local bookstores, teacher partnerships and referrals, students are responsive and attendance is high.”
~ The Board of Directors
Mission & Vision
Our Mission is to teach the art of public speaking, an appreciation for literature, reading and media arts literacy, college readiness, and life skills to youth nationwide from 7 to 18 years of age in preparation for advance education.
The objective is to develop critical thinking skills in our youth and expose students to culturally sensitive literature written by authors and playwright whom they would not normally know about from the curriculum taught in their schools, but the exposure would enrich their educational experience.
“An Appreciation for Literature” means African American Literature, Latin American Literature, Caribbean American Literature and Literature of the African Diaspora.
“Youth” means ALL youth without discrimination but we are reaching out to low-income “at-risk” youth.
Our Vision is to build confident youth with the ABILITY to succeed.
“Personally, I have been influenced by my involvement as a trained NJO Competition Judge for more than 15 years. As an educator, I recognize and fully appreciate the service New Jersey Orators renders to the community…”
-Rita Holliday, President, Nu Xi Omega Chapter Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 2011
The Executive Board and the Management Operating Board oversee and manage Orators, Inc.
The Executive Board is comprised of the original founders of the organization. Their role is to promote the program, track and maintain organizational records, and manage the on-going operations of the organization. Their main responsibilities include:
• Promote the oratorical program
• Solicit funds
• Assist in the recruitment of coaches, judges and other participants
• Maintain the operating budget
Executive Board Members
Eloise Samuels, President, Retired Director, Telcordia Technologies, Inc.
Paul Briley, CPTD, MBA, Vice President, Consultant ,Coach
Deborah Myers-Thurmond, Secretary, Retired Teacher
Austin Skelton, Treasurer, Reed Smith, LLP
Evelyn Ayum M.S. ED, Board Member, Newark School District, Office of Early Childhood, Teacher Coach
Naa-Shorme Aidoo, Board Member, Fulbright Fellow, N.Aidoo Consulting, LLC
Codey Young, Information Systems Administrator, Board Member, Fork Office, LLC
Shea Richardson, Supervisor of Social Studies, Board Member, East Orange School District
Kanika Griffith, Competition Chairperson
Mr. James Hunter
Mrs. Eloise Samuels
Mrs. Lanetta Lyons
Mr. Leon Vinson
Mrs. Wanda Brooks
- Education and Training
“…Among the approaches that can be applied that can divert children and teens from the prison pipeline, there are two activities that I’d like to draw your attention to: Oratory and Baseball…When I was young we had oratorical contests in school, where you learned to speak with clear enunciation and good diction. The present day model is the New Jersey Orators, which seeks to improve public speaking skills among children…”
-Marian Wright Edelman, Founder of Children’s Defense Fund, Chicago Defender, October 2007
Orators, Inc. is a 501 C 3 non-profit umbrella organization established to teach the art of public speaking, life skills and literacy skills to youth. The organization was founded in 1985 by a small group of New Jersey African-American corporate executives who were concerned by the lack of formal language skills of young people who visited and interviewed for jobs at their respective companies. These executives set out to improve the language skills primarily of youth from ages 7 to 18 years of age, in preparation for roles in leadership and employment.
The organization is a national organization with state chapters and a national Advisory Board. Aware that communications skills play a major role in achieving academic and career success, the dedicated executives established the first Orators chapter in New Jersey. Since founding, Orators, Inc has established an affiliate chapter at the Ethembeni Enrichment Center in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
“This successful program integrates the humanities with school and community. With support from libraries, local bookstores, teacher partnerships and referrals, students are responsive and attendance is high. All of this is reflected in improved academically achievement,” says the Board of Directors.