Congratulations to Emily, our July Volunteer of the Month! Emily has been volunteering with Inspiration Corporation for the past year and a half. She brightens up our cafe by serving breakfast at least once a week. Emily also works to support Inspiration Corporation as a member of our Auxiliary Board. Read about Emily’s volunteer experiences below:

How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?

Google search! I’d looked for things in the past, but nothing jumped out at me. One day I searched again and it was the first thing that popped up and it immediately grabbed my attention.

What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?

Everything. From serving at the cafe, to now being a part of the auxiliary board and finding out how I can help in different ways is more rewarding and enjoyable than words could express.

What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about? What is the most challenging?

Easy question; the people. The community at Inspiration is amazing. Sure, getting up early in the morning couple times a week can be challenging, but once you arrive – it’s instantly worth it. From being greeted by the participants outside, to walking in the dining room, Inspiration becomes your very own “Cheers,” where everybody knows your name. Cheesy, but true. From the staff, to the participants, to the fellow volunteers, Inspiration has become a second home to me and it is the easily the best part of my day.

What is your volunteer background?

I volunteered in high school and college for different organizations in California.

Why do you volunteer?

My dad inspired me to get back into it by example. His passion for giving back to his community in my home town is so infectious, I just had to “drink the juice” that gave him that kind of smile. Selfishly, I feel like I get more out of volunteering than the participants – nothing makes my day more than seeing everyone at the cafe and sharing our joys, fears, accomplishments, and stories.

Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.

My parents were visiting and we ran into one of the regular participants waiting for the “L”. It was so great to see him outside of the cafe and to introduce my parents to him. We all waited for the train talking about our weekend plans and just how life was going in general. Experiencing the best part of volunteering, but this time outside of the walls of the cafe, was incredible. That will always serve as a reminder to me to carry out the purpose and spirit of Inspiration into my daily travels.

What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?

Live entertainment in the form of concerts, theatre, or sporting events.  Hiking and camping is also a big passion point for me. Things I get giddy over? The TV show, Friends, and listening to records.

What have you learned from your volunteer experience?

Definitely still learning. I learn so much every day/week. I’ve discovered that I can be proactive in how I want my life to be instead of being reactive to what life throws at me. Being at Inspiration is a great place to figure out who you are/want to be – that’s what everyone is trying to do there, so figuring it out together just makes sense. Finding Inspiration has been the best thing for me since I moved to Chicago.