Category Archives: Friends

Installation Dinner Potluck

Peninsula Toastmasters will hold a potluck dinner for the officer installation event on Thursday, July 12. If you would like to bring a dish to share, please sign up below with the item(s) you plan to bring. Click HERE to see what is already on the menu!


Story Night Potluck Sign-Up

Peninsula Toastmasters will hold a potluck before Story Night on April 19. If you feel like contributing, please sign up below with the item(s) you’d like to bring. Click HERE to see what people are already bringing!

Director’s Commentary With Jaime Espiritu

Our recent feature on the East Palo Alto Senior Center has generated an overwhelmingly positive response from our readers and fans. Many people have written to Peninsula Toastmasters wanting to know more. We sit down with Jaime again to find out more about the backstory of his project.

1. How were you introduced to the East Palo Alto Senior Center project?

One of the pastors at my church (Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View) asked me to do a promotional video in order to persuade the East Palo Alto Senior Center to continue to give funding to the center. The Pastor was a volunteer at the center. I did many video projects at church with him. I first met him when he was doing a program called “Inspire U“. Inspire U is an outreach program that mixes life skills with flag football for at risk kids. I videotaped their flag football games, made highlights and created 1 minute promotional video clips that is shown during the service.

2. Do you feel a personal connection to the people at the center?

I feel a definite connection to the seniors at EPA Senior Center because the people there have no where and no family to depend on. For some, this is there only place to feel loved and for something to do. For others, some just don’t have the money to meet daily needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

3. For you, who had the most inspiring personal story?

The most inspiring story is Mrs. Grant. She is the Executive Director who personally cares for each person at the center. She constantly gives to this organization. Mrs. Grant also gives free monthly breakfast meals to anyone in the community. What struck me the most is the that she personally talks to each person who enters the center. She makes everyone feel like their personal friend.

4. What do you think persuaded the City Council to change their mind about the funding?

The council was about to cut funding at the Center . They just didn’t know what was going on there. The video definitely changes the EPA’s council’s mind  they know now the faces at the center. They heard and seen the stories for some of the members who come there everyday. They hear the voices, the facial expressions and the sites and sounds of the center.

5. Is there still an unmet need? And if so, how can people help?

There is always an unmet need at the East Palo Alto Senior Center. They always need volunteers. They also need donations to buy more food and keep the meal programs going.

On behalf of the community of which we are part, Peninsula Toastmasters thanks Jaime Espiritu for his time and applaud him for his wonderful work. Jaime’s talents truly sparkle on film. Communication is great, but action is even better. To find out how Jaime can help you produce a great video, please visit To learn how you can help at the East Palo Alto Senior Center, please click HERE to contact the organization.

Member Spotlight – Jaime Espiritu

This week Peninsula Toastmaster sits down with one of our members from the film industry, Jaime Espiritu. Jaime first joined our club two years ago. He had been an officer in our club and is half way to his Competent Communicator goal. Jaime currently works full time at his video production company, Visual Creations Productions (VCP Film). VCP Film specializes in generating short video productions for clients in the non-profit and private sector. Be sure to visit Jaime’s website at

1. What is VCP and why do people choose you to help tell their stories?

Visual Creations Productions is a boutique video production company that specializes in creating 60 second video promotions for small businesses and non profit organizations. We also create customized videos on request. People choose us because I’m easy to work with. They think of me as a trusted advisor to bring in and convert potential customers into buying customers. I’m their creative consultant to help them deliver their marketing messages.  Non-profit organizations love my work because I help them create compelling video stories that make people think and touch their emotions.

2. Do you consider yourself an artist?

I do. I worked in the IT field for about 11 yearsl at a major San Francisco law firm. This skill was self taught and I had the passion for IT. I was being paid well. At the same time, video was a hobby at about the same time I was doing IT. After being burned out, I decided to pursue it as a business and to help small businesses.  I started video by creating wedding stories for brides. I put together 40 minute stories by including interviews of the bride and groom’s wedding day. As an artist, you love to touch people’s hearts and remind people of their special day.

3. Why did you choose film as your medium?

I had the passion for film since I was a child. I wanted things that no child would dare ask for. My first thing I wanted was a still camera. I learned from my dad on what not to do when creating home movies.

My video hobby started out in the church as a ministry at the same time I worked in the IT industry. I created stories about our homeless ministries that fed the homeless. In the business world, creativity really takes a backseat. You create videos to help bring in more profits. You really have to create videos that small business owners want. They are the experts in their field and I partner with them to create a visual story for them

4. What is your goal as a filmmaker?

I want to touch people’s hearts. I want to create things that help people out. Everyone is being called to have one assignment in life. Mine happens to be video. It’s my passion. It’s my duty to share my gift to everyone who cares to watch and to listen. As a Christian, I also want to tell stories that spreads the Gospel throughout the world.

5. How did Toastmasters help you hone your skills?

Toastmasters helped me get over my stage fright by speaking in front of people. Table topics improved my improvisional skills in business. When someone asks me a question that doesn’t relate to anything we are talking about, I can quickly react with an clever answer.

Toastmasters helps me with telling effective stories by telling them to a person or telling them through video. Toastmasters also helped me bring out my personality when speaking.  I use these skills heavily in my video marketing videos that I create on my website. Although I use a teleprompter for speaking in front of the camera, the little things like body language and vocal variation has helped my video presentations run smoother.

Rory Vaden Interview On Toastmasters Bay To Bay

If you’re a Toastmaster, you should know the name Rory Vaden. He is a TWO-TIME World Champion of Public Speaking Runner-Up, renowned motivational speaker, and all-around cool guy! He just released a wonderful book on how to motivate yourself to success called “Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success“. You can buy it on Amazon by clicking HERE. I already have the book and I plan to write a review on it soon!

Rory was interviewed recently on the monthly TV special “Toastmasters Bay To Bay” by Birgit Starmans. You can watch the segment by clicking on the Episode 41 hyperlink on the left side of the page. Skip to the 12:43 mark of the video if you just want to see Rory. Who can blame you? Rory is so dreamy!

Be sure to check out other Bay To Bay episodes to see great speeches and unbelievable Table Topics. Rory also appears in Episode 32.

How To Tell Great Stories

Who wants to be a great storyteller? Everyone! Stories have been called “fast lanes to the brain”. Valerie Adolph runs a WordPress site focuses on the art of Storytelling. She believes that stories are the essence to branding, persuasion, and  sales. Her articles break down essential elements in storytelling and show the reader how to execute those elements in any speech. Here are just some of the topics covered on Valerie’s blog:

To find more tips on how to become a great storyteller, click HERE. Her website is also bookmarked on the left under Friends.

A Request For A Cherished Member

Jaime Espiritu is a Peninsula Toastmaster in absentia. He has been away for a few months, but we still miss him and love him very much. His sister is dealing with a serious illness and is in very precarious state. Here’s Jaime in his own words.

Hi, Everyone Just wanted to check into the club. I do miss it everyone but I had a couple of family illnesses. My sister was diagnosed on October 27th with Stage 4 Lung Cancer and she isn’t a smoker! She was recovering nicely a couple of days ago and then suddenly a cancer cell poked through her lung. Her right lung collapsed. She had to have intubination (tubes down her throat) to keep breathing oxygen into her lungs. I do believe in miraculous healing. God is in control…

Please join me in prayer for healing and renewal for Jaime’s sister. As well, please send Jaime an encouraging word or well wishes on our Facebook Wall. You may also email Jaime directly at his Email. Let’s show our support for Jaime and his family as they weather this difficult ordeal.