Toastmasters benefits at Old Folsom State Prison

Toastmasters benefits at Old Folsom State Prison

Attending my first Toastmasters meeting was for the sole purpose of getting a woman off my back. She thought Toastmasters would be good for me. I attended alone with the intention of telling her that “Toastmasters is not for me.” Fifty-five minutes into the meeting, I was hooked.

Every Toastmaster ultimately expresses a deep and personal sense of intimacy. We are given specific tasks, goals and rules to follow in order to achieve rewards and move forward. We learn that it is easiest to give a speech on a topic we know or care about.

Aligning our head, heart, and gut allows us to deliver authentic, sincere, and heartfelt speeches. At the Old Folsom State Prison Gavel Club meeting in January 2017, I heard speeches about little brother love, the stress of life in and out of gangs, and the terrifying experience of sitting with a two-year-old girl during a prison visit.

When we connect with others in a genuine way, it builds trust. I love my little sister very much. I feel connected when I have friends, and when I became a 19-year-old mother, I was terrified. As the speakers shared openly in an authentic way, I was interested in what was said. I believed and believed what was said. The end result was a relationship that was established through stories told that night.

Everything learned in Toastmasters can add positive skills to use in everyday life. The organization is global and offers lifelong learning and connections with others. Gavel Club members and community members can easily connect with each other. Toastmaster’s ground rules are the same worldwide, which puts everyone on the same page.

Once a Toastmaster always a Toastmaster. The lessons learned about appropriate pauses, time management, sentence structure, grammar, communication, words and phrases will stay with you forever.

When I joined Toastmasters, I didn’t feel stressed about speaking in front of groups until I broke down during my fifth speech. My mentor encouraged me to stick with the program. She said I would be surprised and grow personally and professionally if I stayed committed to the program. I thank her and my club members for their encouragement and support.

The Old Folsom State Prison Gavel Club Toastmasters creates a safe, structured and positive environment for me and those who are dedicated to their personal growth and professional development.

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