Our Volunteer Group of the Month for January is Maine West High School’s human rights group, Voice for the Nameless. The group has been volunteering with us for several months, and they’ve already been incredibly helpful – they volunteered at both of our participant holiday parties and have also cooked and served at both of our Cafes. Congratulations Voice for the Nameless, from Maine West High School.
How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?
Randy (teacher): In September, the leaders of the group and I had decided to use the month of November to feature the issues of poverty and homelessness and so we looked for an organization to feature and hopefully partner with. We learned about Inspiration Corporation through the mom of one of our leaders who connected us with a speaker at Oakton Community College. When we looked at the Inspiration Corporation website we were really excited at the holistic approach taken and the emphasis on approaching the issue with dignity and respect because that is at core value found in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…”
What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?
Randy: First, knowing that we are actually a part of a program that is delivering critical resources and training that reinforce Article 25.
While I make financial contributions to several organizations (and I just became a monthly supporter!!), there is nothing like being involved at the grassroots level in the mission of an organization. It makes me that much more excited about contributing to its financial success.
Then for all of us, it’s making personal connections with people, to be able to get to know the people we hope to assist. Here’s what some of my students said.
Natasha (student): Getting the satisfaction of helping out others and making them happy.
Dianne (student): The most enjoyable part about volunteering is being able to interact with people and meet new people.
Jorge (student): I think the most enjoyable part is knowing you’re making someone smile. Whether it is serving food, or having a conversation with someone, knowing that you are there for them feels good. We always take things for granted, not realizing the little things that could make someone’s day.
What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about? What is the most challenging?
Natasha: I am most excited about making a difference in the world, and the most challenging is definitely working with the people who don’t exactly make it easy for you, who may not appreciate the effort.
Jorge: The most exciting part is the people, seeing their personalities. I also get excited about the adventure of it all, finding out what job or position I have when I’m there and trying my best at it. However, that can also be the most challenging part. I never want to make anyone wait because of me, so I have to learn what I’m doing as I go, without any bumps.
What is your volunteer background?
Randy: One thing I enjoy as a teacher is the chance to give students new opportunities. For many of my students they’ve never volunteered before.
Natasha says, I’d never volunteered before this. So when they enjoy it as much as they have, it’s VERY gratifying!
We’ve served for the Peterson Community Garden Project as well as Feed My Starving Children. For the last two years we’ve been involved in One Billion Rising and last year we hosed a community forum showcasing local, state, national and international organizations that work to end violence against women
Jorge: I have volunteered at local festivals and events, and I also have gone to Feed My Starving Children with my teacher Mr. Harper. Each one was different from the last, but they all felt the same; great.
Why do you volunteer?
Bailey (student): I love to help people. It makes me happy to see other people’s needs met and to have a part in making that happen.
Megan (student): I volunteer because I love people. I love helping others, putting a smile on other peoples’ faces, and making a difference.
I volunteer because it a real eye opener, to think about how you act at home, and how easy it is to take simple things for granted, then to help people and understand how much it means to them, it just feels good.
Medinah (student): To me volunteering isn’t simply helping somebody, it’s improving the situation for a family member. Especially with Inspiration Corporation, I was able to communicate with people I have never met before, however it felt as if I knew them all my life. They were kind, and polite, all of us sharing respect, which is crucial, there were no differences we were all on the same level, and that is how it should always be.
Volunteering to me is like a door, behind it all is a world of possibilities, the people you meet, the situations you encounter, the overall experience fills you with an emotion that no materialistic matter can. It is not just one hand giving to another, but both, for what you learn by volunteering is nothing you can learn in a classroom, the way in which your views are changed and the growth you acquire as an individual is more than you’d think possible. Though the bond that is created with everyone is what truly places a smile on my face.
What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
Randy: I’m most definitely an outdoor person. I especially love biking, hiking/backpacking. I LOVE spending time with my students outside of class whether it’s volunteering or going to see a movie or going to see them in an event or activity they’re involved in.
Many of my students are involved in music and sports in addition to carrying solid academic loads. That’s why it’s so cool to see them giving time to volunteer and help make human rights a reality.
What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
Bailey: That you should respect everyone and that there are many different ways to help people.
Natasha: How to work more effectively and with patience in difficult situations.
Megan: After volunteering a couple times with Inspiration Corporation, my eyes have been opened. I’ve realized how fortunate I am with all I have. It warms my heart knowing that this awesome program gives hope to others in our area who need the help, and I’m so grateful to have an opportunity to make a difference.