Please join us in thanking our October 2018 Volunteer of the Month for her service! Callie has been volunteering with Inspiration Corporation since 2014. She is a regular face in our kitchen and helps cook the amazing food we serve our participants. You can read more about Callie and her volunteer experience below.
I had the opportunity to eat at the Inspiration Cafe in Uptown (RIP) many years ago and was really struck by the organization’s relatively unique model. I loved that a place that served a terrific brunch could also be a training ground (and revenue generator) for so many programs that help people increase self-sufficiency.
What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?
I love clowning around in the kitchen with Sheila and other volunteers, singing along to whatever music Mark plays on Friday mornings, and greeting everyone who comes in from outside with the promise of a filling breakfast.
What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about? What is the most challenging?
I am most excited to continue to deepen relationships with the guests. While I know how most people prefer their eggs, I would still like to get to know more people on a personal level. I really enjoy sitting down once we’re done with service, to eat my own breakfast and chat with others at my table.
What is your volunteer background?
I spent several years volunteering on the Night Ministry outreach bus (but now cook at Inspiration Corp instead), and also currently mentor families who are new to the US, via RefugeeOne. I am on my second family from the Democratic Republic of Congo and am in awe of their resiliency and joie de vivre! I also serve on the board of Cure Violence, which aims to reduce shootings and killings in Chicago (and around the world) by treating gun violence like a public health epidemic.
Why do you volunteer?
Because many people find reason to complain about the state of the world and do not do anything to fix it. It’s so important that we all do our part–no matter whether it’s helping increase self-sufficiency among the homeless population, or mentoring kids, or cleaning up rivers. If everyone volunteered (and gave money) to fix the things that upset them, our world would be so very improved.
Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.
What I like about it, actually, is the comfort in the routine of it. Every other Friday I get to come in, chop vegetables and say ‘hey’ to people as they show up for the morning. If I’m lucky, Sheila lets me work the egg station, and it’s very meditative to make food that’ll nourish people so that they can go out and live their lives.
What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
I play ice hockey and enjoy training for triathlons. My husband and I also have a flock of backyard chickens (Dagny, Little Jerry, Nugget and Brittany) and enjoy watching them peck at worms and tear up our grass. When I’m not traveling, I’m dreaming of my next trip/adventure!
What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
That people have so many hidden talents and amazing stories. I am often struck by the stories, life experiences and talents that Inspiration Corp staff, guests and other volunteers have shared with me. This is an incredibly talented group of people, and it’s fun to come together and help each other reach our highest potentials