Fran Oakson of Tottenville on Staten Island has founded "No Limits Toastmasters". The club, which Mrs. Okeson leads with Area 91 Governor Joan Maurizio of Prince's Bay, has 27 members and is for people with developmental disabilities and people with special needs -- it lives up to its name by serving groups as diverse as South Beach Psychiatric Center consumers to members of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Chartered in 1998, the No Limits club allows people with disabilities to have the same access to Toastmasters training as those without disabilities. Ms. Okeson formed the first group for her four adult foster home residents and for the three adopted down syndrome children of disabilities advocate Teri Russo.
Through participating in the No Limits clubs, members develop strong communication skills that help them overcome barriers to socialization and employment. Dues for needy members and other expenses are sponsored by the Staten Island Foundation, Richmond County Savings Foundation and the Staten Island Rotary Foundation. For more details, see this story on silive.com