The Mandan Lions Club founded National Speak Up For Service Day in 2014.
The Speak Up For Service Project’s history began in 2003, when the Fargo, ND Lions Club initiated a public speaking contest for area high school students in honor of Laura Christensen Espejo. Laura devoted her life to improving the health care services available to the less fortunate in the Fargo community and Peru, the country of her husband, Lucho. Lion Robert Littlefield coordinated the contest on the local level. Soon, he was launching it as a statewide initiative while serving as District Governor in 2010-2011.
In 2010, the Lions Club held its first annual Lions Speak Up For Service public speaking contest. Contestants spoke at the North Dakota State Lions Convention in Grand Forks. High school students who entered the competition spoke on topics related to young people and community service. Brent Johnson, a senior at Shanley High School, won the first-ever Speak Up For Service Contest. Johnson and the other contestants received scholarships for their participation in the event.
The Registrar at National Day Calendar® proclaimed the observance to be celebrated on October 30th, annually.