East Moline Correctional Center Hilltop Toastmasters Club ranked as one of the most accomplished Toastmasters International clubs in the world
Featured are inmates participating in the East Moline Correctional Center (EMCC) Hilltop Toastmasters Club along with EMCC Assistant Warden of Programs Louis Hare (foreground, right) and IDOC volunteers Donald Wadleigh (foreground, striped shirt) and Gilbert Norris (background, striped shirt).
SPRINGFIELD - July 18, 2014 – The East Moline Correctional Center (EMCC) Hilltop Toastmasters Club has been recognized by Toastmasters International as one of the highest ranking Toastmasters clubs in the world. Toastmasters International is an organization dedicated to developing public speaking skills for individuals in a variety of settings.
EMCC Hilltop Toastmasters Club #7889 recently was ranked No. 2 in the world as a club for the number of academic awards achieved. The Club earned seven Triple Crown achievements and 42 individual awards from 2013 to 2014. EMCC’s club also was named a member of Toastmasters International’s President’s Distinguished Club.
“The staff, volunteers and inmates involved with this exceptional honor at East Moline Correctional Center are to be commended,” said IDOC Director S. A. “Tony” Godinez. “This is a perfect example that programming is significant in providing invaluable life skills for inmates. Every programming situation in corrections is an opportunity for success. By helping offenders through programming, the outcome is immeasurable and far-reaching. When we make a difference in the lives of inmates, we make a positive impact on their family, friends and our communities.”
“East Moline Correctional Center is honored to receive this distinguished recognition,” said EMCC Warden Mark Williams. “The center’s programming efforts are committed to helping offenders prepare for successful reentry into society as well as contributing to the department’s overall goals and mission.”
“I am pleased to see the success of the Hilltop Toastmasters Program at East Moline Correctional Center,” said EMCC Assistant Warden of Programs Louis Hare. “The interest and growth of this program in the past 2-1/2 years have been inspiring to witness and this ranking has made us all proud. Its high level of success is a testament to the dedication of our volunteers and staff as well as the commitment and passion of our offenders.”
Featured are two inmates (former Club Governor and current Club Governor) of the East Moline Correctional Center Hilltop Toastmasters Club. One of the roles of a Club Governor is to identify opportunities for club enhancement that help bring about positive change.
Hare noted that to receive a Triple Crown, a Toastmaster must earn three or more individual awards in a year, including Competent Communicator, Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Communicator Silver. Seven of EMCC’s Toastmasters have achieved a Triple Crown award the year ending June 30. One of the club's goals for the upcoming Toastmasters year is to exceed this number. To become a member of the President’s Distinguished Club, a club must achieve five awards that measure criteria in club growth (new members), club quality (number and type of awards) and administrative compliance (submitting officer lists and dues on time). EMCC’s club achieved six awards.
The Toastmasters Program at EMCC boasts 20 full-time offender members and between 10 and 15 casual participants. Three regular volunteers conduct the program two to three hours per week and hold an average of two major local competitions per year. Competitions involve having two of the best speakers from the EMCC club compete against two accomplished speakers from District 19 (3,000 Toastmasters across Iowa). The Club selects a number from their membership, usually 7 or 8, to compete in the Hilltop Competition. A special session is set up where Toastmasters from the outside come in to help judge the competition. A first, second and third best is judged by both club members and those from outside.
Toastmasters International has more than 292,000 participants in more than 14,350 clubs in 122 countries. In correctional centers, the organization helps offenders develop strong communication skills, focusing on fostering an atmosphere of success. Offenders learn a range of communication skills from job interviews to constructive criticism to public speaking. Toastmasters International additionally helps reduce recidivism by giving offenders confidence and poise and instilling within them a sense of accomplishment.