Orlando group Route 7 helping students find their voices

Group just completed 12-week program at Levy Hughes Boys and Girls Club

ORLANDO, Fla. – We first introduced you to a local organization helping students find their voice in August. Route 7 is a member-based, nonprofit organization of men.

“It’s being very intentional and coming to an environment where we are able to share in an ego-less environment and help each other grow,” Route 7 President Gene Martin said.

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The group just completed the “Well Said” program at the Levy Hughes Boys and Girls Club this week. The 12-week program is free and for middle and high school students. The program’s founder, Aquanza Cadagon, is a creative and community activist. He said he saw a need after getting involved with a Toastmaster’s club.

“And I would help at oration contests and help some of the young people get prepared for the contests. And after I’d finish, a lot of the parents would come up to me and say, ‘How can I get my children involved in what you do? I’d love my children to be more versed in speaking,” Cadagon said. “So for me, it was all about let’s start now by giving these young people the opportunity we may not have had. And just giving them the opportunity to do whatever they want when they have those skills we all wish we had because public speaking is everyone’s number one fear and we’re going to get that fear out of those kids early and just make them really confident.”

Twenty students completed the program and showed off their skills in the “Well Said” showcase.

“We’ve learned those are skill sets they need when they walk into a room for a job interview, or if they’re trying to advance in certain classes in school,” he said. “Communication is a skill that you will use no matter how old you get or what device you use it on, no matter if you doing it in person or virtually. Communication is key, it’s like riding a bike, once you learn how to do it correctly you will know how to do it forever.”

Cadagon says 20 mentors gave more than 200 community service hours to make the “Well Said” program a success.

To learn more about how to become a volunteer, mentor, or sponsor, click here.

About the Author:

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.