People are invited to consider volunteering with prison Toastmasters programs at institutions near Routes 2 and 495 on Monday or Thursday evenings.

Through Toastmasters participation, people who are incarcerated learn skills to prepare to return to the community, such as self-expression, leadership, critical thinking, planning and teamwork. Volunteers make a difference in someone's life through encouragement, caring and guidance.

"Mentoring in prison is an opportunity to give people a hand up. It makes me aware of the privileges I've had, and to feel more gratitude while helping others. It is the most powerful volunteer experience I've ever had," said Susan Tordella, a prison volunteer.

Prospective volunteers must enjoy teaching, speaking extemporaneously and encouraging others to set and achieve goals. Training is provided by the Department of Corrections and by participating in prison Toastmasters programs in prisons. After visiting, when volunteers join our team, she or he is asked to mentor at least one meeting a month. People new to Toastmasters are welcome to volunteer.

To visit and for information on programs at 14 correctional institutions in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, go to www.d31toastmastersprison.wikispaces.com/. Massachusetts is an international leader for prison Toastmasters programs. Contact Susan.Tordella@gmail.com, 978-772-3930.