Spanish speaking volunteers are needed for Toastmasters programs in North Central Correctional Institution in Gardner and Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.

The rewards of prison volunteering are many.

"Facilitating Toastmasters in prisons is the most powerful volunteer work I have ever done. I'm inspired by their progress, hope and commitment to self-improvement, against all odds," said Susan Tordella, a prison volunteer since 2008.

Toastmasters is an international self-help movement that empowers people through public-speaking, teamwork, leadership and personal growth by following a set format of prepared speeches, extemporaneous speaking and evaluations. Some 280,000 members belong to 13,500 clubs in 116 countries. Volunteers mentor Toastmasters programs in 14 correctional facilities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The prison Toastmasters programs are facilitated by volunteers, under staff supervision. Inmates attend to learn skills that better prepare them for reentry. Toastmasters emphasizes public-speaking in the development of leadership, critical-thinking and teamwork skills, attributes that will benefit them in prison and upon release, since 92 percent of inmates will leave prison.

Volunteers must pass a criminal background check and commit to attending a weeknight meeting once a month, or once a week for a 12-week course. Training is provided. Volunteers will learn the Toastmasters program as they progress through the course.


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Programs are offered Monday and Wednesday evenings. The goal is for Latino inmates to gain confidence in Spanish, then transition to English programs.

For more information, contact Susan.tordella@gmail.com, 978-772-3930. Visit http://d31toastmastersprison.wikispaces.com/ to learn about Toastmasters programs at 14 correctional institutions in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. See more at www.toastmasters.org.