Letter from Larry C.A.
As you know, I have just recently become a member of Toastmasters Collective Voices Gavel Club at the C.T. Terrell Unit. I would like to express my appreciation for your dedication to this club and the growth of its members. In the short time that I have been a member, I have been encouraged by the positive influences that this club has had on its membership and I am looking forward to many years of association with this organization.
It is my opinion that far too many inmates are resigned to the belief that a prison environment does not offer a realistic means for improving one’s practical life skills, but this club proves that misconception erroneous. During my first Toastmasters meeting, I was pleasantly surprised to find so many men involved in making a genuine effort to improve their communication and leadership skills; which is something I have rarely seen since my incarceration. I have been determined not to succumb to the notoriously negative impact that prison life has on a person’s character and especially, a person’s vocabulary as a result of the repeated use of slang and jailhouse jargon. These Toastmasters club meetings provide an opportunity to fellowship with men who are likewise resolved. They promote grammatically correct and meaningful discourse and that is why I am glad to be a part of it.
As a member, I have been taught to believe in myself. I have always been timid and I have felt inferior to others because of my inability to express myself verbally. By talking with my fellow Toastmasters about my lack of self-esteem, I have learned that many of my misgivings are universal. These men have functioned as a whole for the purpose of helping me overcome my fears of public speaking, thereby cultivating self-esteem. I intend to continue working toward my goal of self-improvement and becoming an effective speaker, which will be skills useful in my job search once released and, also, in retaining that job once I get it. I anticipate more life-altering experiences with this Toastmasters club, which I will be eager to share with others.