The D.C. Office of Communications held a kickoff at the Reeves Municipal Center last week for its Speaker's Bureau program.

The Speaker's Bureau will provide community and civic groups with speakers from the ranks of the D.C. government to explain how offices of the city government work.

"This will give us {the D.C. government} another opportunity for more face-to-face contact with the community and give us the opportunity to see what's on their minds," said Mary Layton, director of the Office of Communications.

"It will be a way for organizations to find out details about specific areas -- halfway houses, public works, the arts . . . Whatever the topic is, we can find a person to address it."

Layton said Mayor Marion Barry suggested a citywide speaker's bureau last summer.

Barry and William B. Johnson of the city's education department were on hand to help launch the program during the ceremonies.

There is no fee or honorarium charged to groups seeking a speaker.

All they need do is contact the Office of Communications and specify the area of city government they would like information on.

The Speaker's Bureau program will draw volunteer speakers from all levels of city government.

In addition, those who volunteer may take training sessions in public speaking.

"We're looking people with enthusiasm to tell the city's story," Layton said.

"It's a chance to take government to the people."

The speaker volunteers who enroll in the training sessions will attend a two-week course offered by local chapter of The Toastmasters, a nonprofit organization based in California.