The Participant Leadership Forum (PLF) convened on Thursday, July 19 at Inspiration Cafe for its monthly meeting.  PLF Co-Chairs Johnnie K., Will F., and Muriel V. were in attendance, as well as alternate chair Lacey H. and four other Inspiration Corporation participants and three staff people.


Will led a discussion on the PLF’s goal of raising funds to provide support to Inspiration Corporation participants in key areas not currently covered by the organization’s programming.  Areas of focus include more transportation assistance for participants and more activities outside of Inspiration Cafe.  Will also discussed the need for a system to be put in place to manage any money raised by the PLF.

Participants in attendance suggested that gift certificates to the Inspiration Kitchens restaurants be offered by Inspiration Corporation as raffle prizes to the PLF.

Stressing the Rules

The PLF is determined to continue to support dignity and respect at Inspiration Cafe.  This includes relationships between clients, volunteers and staff.  Lacey suggested that meal rules be announced before meal service begins at breakfasts and dinners by milieu managers, that the PLF stress Cafe rules in their own announcements, and that participants be educated on the grievance policy so that they are empowered to handle conflicts within the milieu.

Participants in attendance suggested that entertainment programming (musicians, etc.) in the milieu tends to produce a more positive atmosphere.  The PLF agreed that they would like to see more of this kind of programming.

PLF Greeters

Discussion continued about how to best balance the responsibilities of the milieu managers during meals with creating a more orderly check-in process for new participants on the weekends.  PLF members expressed that handling check-in is difficult for non-staff because they may not be aware of new participants, current suspensions, and other issues.  It was suggested that the PLF provide a “greeter” to stand outside the Cafe’s main double-doors and welcome people to the meal as a first point of contact.

Other Business

Will has approached Living Oak about the possibility of coming into the Cafe to lead workshops for participants.

Muriel is working on an Inspiration Cafe scrapbook in addition to the monthly agendas, and Will, Johnnie, and Lacey will contribute to the newsletter.  Will continues work on his Inspiration Cafe quote book.

Former Inspiration Cafe PLF member Erskine is investigation starting a PLF at The Living Room Cafe.

Next Meeting
  • Inspiration Cafe – Aug 16

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The mission of the Participant Leadership Forum is to encourage and support Individuals affected by homelessness and poverty to make a positive difference in their lives through dialogue and advocacy.