“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
— Mother Teresa
At the Toastmasters District 7’s winter leadership institute conference today, the audience heard from a variety of speakers.
One of the speakers is a mentor for the Toastmasters prison clubs in Oregon – clubs that operate as certified clubs, but behind bars. He eloquently described the lives that are being turned around everyday, in part because the inmates are finding focus and value in themselves, through Toastmasters, by learning to lead, listen, and speak better.
After the conference, the mentor told me a short story of making a difference.
A while back, the mentor was speaking to a group of prisoners about the need to take responsibility for one’s actions in life. After his speech, one of the following speakers, a prisoner, came to the front of the room.
However, before the prisoner started his prepared speech, he paused and said, paraphrasing, “I had an opening already planned. But after hearing (the mentor’s) speech, I’m going to change it.”
“Instead, I want to say that I’m a guy who likes making babies. And not taking responsibility for them. But from now on, I’m going to start making some changes.”
It’s just one small step in that man’s life, and it’s just one person who happens to wear prisoner’s clothing. But like the prison club mentor said to me, again paraphrasing, “It’s why I continue to help the clubs behind bars. I can’t help everyone, but I can help one person.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Today’s gift of time … Delivered a new speech as the model speaker at today’s Toastmaster’s conference to help a fellow Toastmaster doing his first judges’ training … Helped lead a brainstorming session for specialty and corporate clubs … Made a contribution to the prisoner’s club fund in District 7. The fund helps go to pay the dues for prisoners who have no income.