We are pleased to announce that Youth Unshackled Ministries (YUM) is our August 2017 Volunteer Group of the Month!
YUM is dedicated to “Giving Back” without expecting anything in return. They’ve made a difference with every visit they’ve made to Inspiration Cafe and Inspiration Kitchens. We sat down to talk with Dianna O. Amacker, Executive Director of Youth Unshackled Ministries to learn more about their work.
How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?
I was first introduced to the mission/work of Inspiration Cafe as an employee of CME Group (Chicago Mercantile Exchange). As a Board Member of Youth Unshackled Ministries (YUM). I proposed that we volunteer at The Cafe, thus providing an opportunity for us to expand our community service.
What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?
Youth Unshackled Ministries is comprised of a group of friends who attend a variety of churches but share a common heart. Our common goal is to demonstrate the love of God through acts of kindness. Touching lives by meeting needs is the most rewarding aspect of volunteering.
What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about? What is the most challenging?
YUM continues to be encouraged by an awesome team of volunteers who serve with a glad heart. We serve. We sing. We sit and talk with those we are serving. Their story has value. We travel from the far south side and sometimes the traffic is CHALLENGING.
What is your volunteer background?
Youth Unshackled Ministries has been committed to serving youth since its inception in 1983. The Executive Board along with a team of dedicated volunteers have created programs and collaborated with local churches to create safe haven activities for youth. Those events have included Ice Cream and Movie Events, Poetry Slams, Book Talks, Leadership Forums, Annual Cook outs, School Supply Giveaways, New Bike Giveaways and our annual You’ve Made A Difference Encouragement Event. We’ve established an Annual Scholarship Awards, Phenomenal Youth Award and a variety of community awards, We will be hosting our 25th Encouragement Event in 2018.
Why do you volunteer?
Youth Unshackled Ministries is committed to making a positive difference in the world by showcasing the love of God. We are mandated to model for our youth the power of community and giving to those in need. Our faith mandates that we search out opportunities to serve others.
Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.
The YUM volunteers are a special group of people ranging in ages 8 – 65. We have volunteered at The Cafe but our volunteer efforts began with preparing lunch bags. The simple act of shopping and receiving donations, preparing sandwiches and packing bags followed by loading up the vehicle and delivering as many as 250 lunch bags has given such joy to the kids volunteering (and the adults too). I’ve heard the kids share the details of their volunteer efforts.
What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
The volunteers have a vast array of interests, talents and skills. Some have written books. Some attend grammar school or high school. Others are college students. Some are entrepreneurs. Some are musicians and singers. Some have retired from corporate. Others are educators, social workers, pastors and ministry leaders. Most love to travel and enjoy a good book.
What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
The volunteer experience continues to reinforce organizational values which include the power of community and the boomerang effect that acts of kindness have upon the life of the volunteer.
Solomon, an ancient wise man, said it best, “…by watering others they water themselves”- The Book of Proverbs.