Odessa Johnson has volunteered with Inspiration Corporation at The Living Room Cafe for several years and she’s this month’s Volunteer of the Month. Congratulations Odessa and thank you for all your help!
How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?
In 2005 or 2006, I was getting over breast cancer and my daughter was attending CSU. I had fallen into a slight state of depression. The meal manager at that time was Theodore Brown. He saw me one day and asked me if I was okay. I said no, and Ted told me to come over for dinner and that I might feel better. Well I have been coming ever since.
What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?
I think being able to give back to others. The same way someone gave me hope and helped me to smile again, I would like to think I can help others. You never know what is going on in a person’s life.
What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about? What is the most challenging?
1. Just greeting people and trying to help them to the best of my ability and knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life.
2. Realizing you can’t help everybody, but I do the best I can.
What is your volunteer background?
Not sure how to answer that, but even as a child I was always helpful to children, older adults and the elderly. Even in school, I helped others who had problems. Anything from tutoring to being a young psychologist listening and trying to help others solve problems.
Why do you volunteer?
This has been something I always wanted to do. It is relaxing for me, believe it or not.
Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.
The two most interesting things I’ve experienced. A person coming in, on an off day for Food Pantry, in tears and helping them to get food. Another time was a homeless woman who needed to see a case manager and also needed clothing, food, listing of soup kitchens, listing of food pantries and legal aide. I was able to help provide her with all of the above. Her reaction was she ran out, hugged me, and kissed me. She said thank you so much. I said not a problem. She replied “you treated me like a person and not look down on me!!” That was a good day for me.
What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
Acting – I’ve been in six independent films and I have helped my daughter on several screen projects. Another hobby is going to college and studying nutrition, mental health and psychology.
What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
That we should sometimes humble ourselves. We never know a person’s circumstances and the faces you look into could be you or a family member.