December’s Volunteer of the Month is the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League. We spoke to Project Manager, Deana Ingram about her experience as an Inspiration Corporation volunteer. Deana has been a great leader among our volunteers. Congratulations to the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League! Thank you for all you do.
How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?
The Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League began volunteering with The Living Room Cafe (now Inspiration Corporation) almost 10 years ago! It began with one of our past service chairs Leon Blair who used to volunteer on his own when he connected MetroBoard with the Cafe. We have been volunteering ever since.
What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?
For me personally the whole experience is enjoyable. From meeting other friend volunteers/staff members, to getting to know the patrons and them you. It’s a great feeling to put a smile on someone’s face by doing the simple things in life.
What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about? What is the most challenging?
With regards to LRC (The Living Room Cafe), I’m most excited about just being present. To know that I’m making a difference. The challenges arise when we get some patrons who are not agreeable (i.e. they are upset with their order, they feel they’ve waited too long). Some are difficult to deal with but nothing ever to serious.
What is your volunteer background?
My personal volunteer background stems back years. I’ve been the Project Manager for Community Service with the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League for the last year and a half. I have also volunteered at the following places/with the following groups:
- GlenEllyn Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Volunteered at the Bears Games to help them raise money for their Captial Fund
– West Suburban Food Pantry (Woodridge, IL)
– FreeStore Food Bank (6 years, Cincinnati, OH)
– Vitas Hospice Care (2 years, Cincinnati, OH)
– Habitat for Humanity
- Chicago Urban League
– Chicago Food Depository
– Various other events and organizations
Why do you volunteer?
I volunteer because I believe that to whom much is given much is expected. I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to have a good life. I don’t need much. So to be able to give back in some capacity that makes a difference in someone else’s life is something that I cherish.
What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
Outside of Metroboard and all of our service projects I really don’t have any hobbies :). Most of my free time is spent either physically volunteering or planning a service project/event.
What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
I’ve learned to be grateful for what I have because it could be worse.