Congratulations to our May 2019 Volunteer of the Month, Alyssa Isberto! Alyssa has been volunteering with Inspiration Corporation since 2017. She regularly comes in to serve breakfast to our participants and is known for her infectious smile. You can read more about Alyssa below.
I heard about Inspiration Corporation through DePaul. I took a class called “Poverty Amidst Plenty” in which we visited multiple community service sites and were required to volunteer at one. I chose Inspiration Cafe in September 2017 and never left!
What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you? What is the most challenging?
The most enjoyable part would be interacting with guests. I love talking and making new friends! The most challenging would definitely be waking up in the morning. That’s really tough.
Why do you volunteer?
I feel like I can write a whole essay with just this one question. There are so many reasons why I volunteer, but here’s the short version: I’ll start by quoting Louise de Marillac who once asked Vincent DePaul, “What must be done?”. This question is literally plastered on every open space at DePaul as a constant reminder as to what I can do to better serve my community. I believe what must be done is enabling everyone with the resources to succeed. Many say America is a place of great opportunities, which is true, but it is also a place of great corruption and a place of great inequality. So I’ve asked myself the famous “What must be done?” and I’ve found my life’s passion serving and doing more for those in need.
One of my greatest frustrations is figuring out how to bring justice to marginalized communities through a system that is unjust. Grace Lee Boggs, an Asian-American activist I look up to, once said, “We urgently need to bring to our communities the limitless capacity to love, serve, and create for and with each other”. That’s the answer. Bringing love to our communities. Serving our communities. Creating opportunities for our communities. And it’s not just one way, but a cycle of giving and receiving as one community collectively coming together to help each other.
What keeps you coming back to the Cafe?
I come back because I believe that one person makes a difference. Even what feels like a tiny task, plays a bigger role than I realize. Many guests have told me that my smile alone brightens their day. It’s so encouraging to know that even though I am just one person, I am making a difference.
For a more selfish reason, I love the pancakes. I have traveled all over Chicago searching for the perfect pancake, and Inspiration Cafe wins with no competition.
Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.
One of the most interesting experiences was when a mother came in with her four little kids. Immediately, the person in charge brought a baby chair for one of the kids, multiple servers came and took their orders and got them their drinks, the kitchen staff created cute little pancakes for the younger kids, other guests made sure the family had a big enough table to hold all of them, and many more. What I saw was the whole community coming together to help her and her kids out.
What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
My hobbies include playing the piano, singing, and laughing. (The last one probably isn’t considered a hobby, but it’s an activity I like doing a lot.)
Do you have any advice for someone who is considering becoming a volunteer with Inspiration Corporation?
St. Vincent DePaul once said, “It is not enough to do good. It must be done well.” This means going out of your way for each and every guest. It means practicing patience because you don’t know what someone is going through. It means serving with a smile.
Thank you Alyssa for your continued dedication and service to Inspiration Corporation!