Congratulations to Nina Bachkova, our Volunteer of the Month for September! Nina has been volunteering with Inspiration Corporation for about four years, and has been a tremendous asset to the organization. Here are a few answers to questions about her experience:

How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?
I first learned about Inspiration in 2011 through a friend who is very involved in the community. I participated in the Hunger Walk that summer and met other volunteers who inspired me to help.

What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?
I love knowing that I am part of something great—greater than myself. Inspiration Corporation, particularly, is a great place to give my time because the environment is so positive, welcoming, and social. Getting to know the participants and other volunteers more and more each week feels like I’m catching up with friends.

Nina Bachkova_September 2015

Nina after a breakfast shift at Inspiration Cafe

What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about?
I love learning about other ways of life, the ways all of our lives differ even living in the same city. Volunteering can be a valuable cultural exchange.

What is your volunteer background?
I started volunteering at a young age helping out in Chicago Public Libraries and the Greater Chicago Food Depository during summer breaks from school. After grad school, I took a year to volunteer as an English teacher in Ecuador through an organization called WorldTeach. That was the most challenging and meaningful year of my life.

Why do you volunteer?
I volunteer for a sense of community and truly to help others with whom I share the universal life goal of being happy.

Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.
I was having a particularly bad morning and at the end of my shift I sat at a table with four participants who were talking about meditation and Buddhist philosophies. Their words and energy were so positive. It was exactly what I needed to turn my day around.

What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
I love working out. I just bought a used bike I’m excited to ride around the city and learn more about Chicago’s growing bike culture. I also travel internationally any chance I get and have visited over 30 countries. My favorites are the Netherlands, Cuba, and Indonesia.

What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
I can answer this with a quote from Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Volunteering helps the volunteer just as much as it helps those benefitting from the service.