Skills for Life Program
Skills For Life utilizes Toastmasters International curriculum and goals program to teach public speaking, personal responsibility, and servant leadership.
Regarding personal responsibility, inmates act as mentors to one another to help each member reach their full potential. They design and run their meetings. Skills For Life takes the roll of a coach. Our only requirement for membership is that the inmate has a heart for wanting to learn to speak in public.
In their five to seven minute speeches inmates focus on the technical aspects of speaking: how to research and organize a speech, eye contact, overcoming nervousness, effective use of gestures, vocal variety, eliminating vocal pauses, using props effectively.
In their face to face evaluations of each other, they focus on making everything they say be helpful, motivating or encouraging. Rather than saying a speaker needs to improve, they offer a way to improve.
Through a segment of the program called Table Topics, a participant must respond for one to two minutes on a question posed to them extemporaneously.
Some of the results we see in addition to building self-confidence are the manner in which they conduct their meetings (everyone is treated with dignity & courtesy) and the development of a real sense of community (membership is comprised of all races and religions).
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