Congratulations to Liz K., our June 2016 Volunteer of the Month! Liz has been volunteering with Inspiration Corporation for over 5 years, and we’re so happy she is a part of our team. She always volunteers with a bright smile, and she brings such joy to our participants through her service!
Here is what Liz said about her experience with our agency:
How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?
Comically, given I don’t read it too often, I read about Lisa Nigro and Inspiration Corp in People magazine! At the time, I lived a few minutes away from the Uptown cafe location and the mission appealed to me so I signed up for a volunteer orientation.
What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?
Easy answer! The people! I love getting to be a bright spot in our guests’ days, I enjoy getting to know them week after week. Beyond our guests though – I have so enjoyed developing relationships with the other Wednesday morning volunteers & staff. The people make the organization come to life for me.
What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about? What is the most challenging?
At the moment I am only volunteering in the caef as a breakfast server, which I simply adore. It is a wonderful start to each of my Wednesdays. In past years, I’ve served on event planning committees and I look forward to getting back to that aspect of volunteering this year. The most challenging thing for me is accepting the reality that when guests get upset with me, or the food, or the service, it has very little to do with me personally. It is a challenge for me in life & also in the cafe!
What is your volunteer background?
I started volunteering as a kid and haven’t really stopped! I went to a Jesuit high school where our motto is “Men and women for others.” Service was a huge aspect of my high school life. I carried that through into college where I chose social work as my major. Despite the fact that I never ended up becoming a social worker, I’ve continued volunteering.
Why do you volunteer?
I suppose I would ask the question to everyone else: why DON’T you volunteer?? It is part of who I am; I have been lucky & blessed and led a great life thus far. I owe it to the world to give back. It makes me feel whole when I am regularly volunteering!
Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.
I suppose it is more funny than interesting, but my habit of bringing bananas in for our guests has given me the nickname of “banana lady,” which I find really wonderfully appropriate and ridiculous!
What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
I love traveling (a lot of which is to visit family & friends), running, baking, entertaining, and I’m working hard at turning by brown thumb green! I have tomatoes in pots – I am open to advice on helping them grow!!
What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
I may have known it before I started at IC, but the knowledge that everyone has a story to tell has been solidified for me. So often we fall into the trap of putting other people into boxes, making assumptions, not giving others a chance. Volunteering in the cafe has reinforced my need to listen, slow down, and hear people. Each & every participant has something to share.