New Jersey Orators Celebrate Scholarship + Awards May 18th

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The New Jersey Orators, Inc. established in 1985 has held true to its mission statement:

To teach the art of public speaking, reading literacy and life skills to youth between the ages of 7 and 18, thereby increasing their self-confidence, leadership skills and ability to maximize career choices and academic success.

This non-profit organization was founded by a small group of African-American corporate executives living in Middlesex and Somerset counties who were concerned about the lack of language competency exhibited by many of the young people while interviewing for jobs in their companies.

As a result of their involvement with the organization and participating at corporate or community events, NJO youth have received full scholarships to private schools, an annual renewable scholarship for college, and job internships in the fields of broadcasting and publishing, as well as recommendations to highly selective academic programs. The Orators are proud of its graduation rate of 98% of their Seniors attending 4-year colleges.

The Orators will be celebrating their 2013 Scholarship & Awards Program with Keynote Speaker, Phyllis C. Hunter, well-known literacy specialist on   May 18 from 2 -5 PM at New Brunswick High School 1000 Somerset Street New Brunswick, NJ. Her speech will focus on "Its not Complicated!" addressing the myths about ability to read and providing techniques for successful readers.

To find out more about our organization log onto the New Jersey Orators website at: or call 732-846-5011.  "Like Us" on Facebook.  Write us at:

New Jersey Orators, Inc. 812 Hamilton Street   Somerset, NJ 08873

Aware that communication skills play a major role in achieving academic and career success, the founders sought a program methodology that could be fun and informal while structured enough to teach life skills. The organization has always relied on volunteers from diverse professions with varied skill sets to perform the role of coaches. The weekly commitment from these community volunteers is the foundation and lifeblood of our organization.

Since it's founding in 1985, the New Jersey Orators (NJO) recognized that illiteracy, unemployment and incarceration were direct correlates. A recent NY Times article by Erik Eckholm on the plight of Black men substantiated those worsening statistics.  Over the years, however, the organization has successfully stressed literacy through journals, reading literacy workshops and through its oratorical program. 

New Jersey Orators has grown from one chapter with 16 members in 1985 to 17 chapters statewide and two chapters in Pennsylvania. Annually, the organization services over 300 participating youth with requests for additional chapters every year.
Over the years, the organization has received recognition at the local, state and national level, including the following:


·      Huffington Post "New Jersey Orators Develop Positive Academic Skills", 2012

·      National Recognition by The President's The Points Of Light Foundation as number 51 out of 3,000 U.S. Volunteer Organizations

·      Manhattan Institute of Social Entrepreneurial Award 2002

·      One of the "Best Run Volunteer Organization in the Nation", The Wall Street Journal, November 2000

·      The Governor's Volunteer Award from the state of New Jersey

·      The Plainfield City News listed the Co-Founders/Executive Board among New Jersey's 100 Most Influential


Several youth representing all age groups and chapters throughout the state performed at the request of the Prudential Foundation for the 50th anniversary celebration the of Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. They performed with Archibishop Desmond Tutu at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, New Jersey in the spring of 2004 and received recognition for their performances. NJO was privileged to perform annually at the New Jersey State Theatre for Bristol-Myers Squibb's Diversity Committee.

Wanda Brooks, James Hunter, Lanetta Lyons, Eloise Samuels, and Leon Vinson make up the Founding Members and Executive Board of Orators, Inc. Currently retired from corporate management positions, Lanetta Lyons worked at Ethicon, Wanda Brooks and Leon Vinson worked at AT&T, Eloise Samuels worked at Bellcore / Telcordia Technologies. James Hunter works for the Essex County Prosecutors Office. These equally yoked individuals shared the responsibilities of supporting this organization as it strives to grow nationally.

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