We’re happy to introduce Barbara, a dedicated volunteer who has been with us for over 5 years! We’re so grateful that Barbara is a member of our team of volunteers, and we’re excited to highlight her as our November Volunteer of the Month!
Please continue reading below to learn more about Barbara’s experience with Inspiration Corporation:
How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?
One of my teachers from junior high retired, moved to the city, and connected with a bunch of former students through Facebook. He kept posting about serving amazing meals to 30 or 40 people at a time. I finally asked what he was up to, and I went to an Inspiration Corporation volunteer orientation a couple of weeks later. That was five and a half years ago.
What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?
The guests and my fellow volunteers. A lot of mornings, the atmosphere of camaraderie and congeniality is especially strong, and it sets me up for a really positive day.
What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about? What is the most challenging?
I’m most excited when a regular breakfast guest takes a major step forward and tells me about it, whether it’s graduating from the employment program, getting a job, or getting an apartment. The most challenging is . . . 6:30 a.m. in winter.
What is your volunteer background?
I didn’t have loads of time for regular volunteering while raising my daughter, but I chaperoned a lot of field trips and served on school committees. I have also done mock interviews for Inspiration Corporation a couple of times.
Why do you volunteer?
A couple of reasons. I’m not traditionally religious, but I see volunteering as the purest form of church: helping people out and at the same time feeling gratitude for all I have and humility in the face of others’ strength. Also, I see volunteering as a bit of a butterfly effect. If the plate of pancakes I serve helps someone ace a job interview and get on their feet, I know they will pass along that positivity to someone else down the line.
Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.
I have served a few people on their very first day in the cafe. When I walk them through the menu options, they are almost overwhelmed with choices. I love it when a few weeks later, that same person is very particular about their order. To me, that embodies the attitude of “dignity and respect” that client is developing for his or her own self.
What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
Reading, writing, endless grad school, exploring the depths of my cat’s personality.
What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
I have been surprised to learn that I make a decent diner waitress—at least, for an hour and a half at a time!