This September, celebrate Hands On Nashville’s 25th birthday and take part in service events benefiting 25 Metro Nashville Public Schools! Follow this step-by-step tutorial to sign up a volunteer team for Hands On Nashville Day. Continue reading Team Registration: Hands On Nashville Day 2016
On July 15, we concluded our final week of Summer Camp at Hands On Nashville, and we have to say, it’s been an educational summer!
After a week of focusing our attention on the environment, and a week exploring health and wellness issues, we engaged young people in a third week of service-learning activities exploring issues of hunger and homelessness.
The goal of the week was to inspire campers to make a positive change by becoming more attuned to how hunger and homelessness affects those in our community. Much of our week was spent at Nashville organizations that focus on affecting these issue areas.
Given the hardships hunger and homelessness present to our fellow community members, this final session brought challenging moments. As campers confronted stereotypes and participated in service projects, we shared positive moments of camaraderie and understanding.
Here’s a look at few of the week’s highlights:
Park Center Visit
On day one, our friends at Park Center set the stage for campers by showing us first hand accounts of how being without shelter affects Nashvillians. Park Center’s mission is to empower people who have mental illness and substance use disorders to live and work in their communities through a variety of services. We’re grateful for their staff taking the time to help campers increase their understanding.
BELL Garden Project
During the week, campers dug around in the Bellevue Edible Learning Lab! BELL Garden is solely volunteer run and provides a local food pantry with its only source of fresh produce. Local gardens such as these help to provide fresh and healthy food in areas where fresh, nutritious foods are hard to access. Thanks BELL Garden!
More than a Paper
Campers also made a visit to speak with the staff and vendors at The Contributor. Thanks to The Contributor, a.k.a. the “street paper,” many people experiencing homelessness and many who are formerly homeless earn a steady source of income. For many formerly homeless vendors, income earned selling newspapers empowered them to achieve housing. Pretty great, right? And, not only does The Contributor newspaper help individuals earn a living, it also helps connect those individuals to their community. One piece of advice we got from The Contributor was to not just give money for the paper, but to take it and read it. Taking the paper not only gives vendors a sense of pride from fulfilling the transaction, you help the paper boosts their sales!
Second Harvest Green Bean Sorting
Green beans anyone? At Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, campers helped sort through huge boxes of green beans by discarding any that were not edible. Second Harvest is one of the largest food bank operations in the area and provides food to fight hunger across Middle Tennessee.
Open Table Immersive Experience
Arguably the most poignant moments of the week came during an immersive experience downtown led by Open Table Nashville . With their team, campers were able to speak with people experiencing homelessness and listen to their stories first hand. This experience was powerful for the group as it showed us that everyone has a story and it usually isn’t what we expect. Campers learned how some individuals became homeless and why they have not been able to get out of homelessness.
Open Table works closely with the homeless as their advocate, as their friend, and as their resource. One way we can all help, Open Table staff communicated, is to understand that everyone has a story and everyone deserves food in their belly and a place to call home.
Old School Farm Garden Project
Campers had a blast harvesting carrots with Old School Farm, an organization that provides fresh food to the community, while also employing and training individuals with intellectual disabilities. During our visit, Old School Farm leaders explained how disabilities, be they medical, intellectual or physical, can be barriers to employment work. Their efforts seek to provide those employment opportunities, as well as to fight hunger.
Room in the Inn Tour & Service Activity
On the last day of camp, the group toured Room in the Inn, whose mission is to provide programs that emphasize human development and recovery through education, self-help and work, centered in community and long term support for those who call the streets of Nashville home. Here, campers helped the organization prepare for an annual festival for Room in the Inn visitors designed to make them feel connected, welcome and stress-free.
Thank you to each of the organizations who supported this year’s summer camp. You all enriched these service-learning experiences and we thank you all for the work you do every day in our community!
And to the campers: our hope is that Summer Camp has had as great of an impact on you, as you made on our community. Thanks for a great summer.
Ready to volunteer? Sign up at HON.org.
Hands On Nashville hosts Fourth ReCYCLE for Kids Giveaway supporting Metro Students
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –On Saturday, July 30, 200+ youth took home helmets, locks, odometers and “like-new” bicycles during Hands On Nashville’s fourth ReCYCLE for Kids presented by Jackson.
This spring, Hands On Nashville volunteers donated and refurbished nearly 220 gently used bikes for Metro students and youth served by Metro Parks Community Centers. Saturday’s giveaway event at Coleman Park Community Center marked the culmination of a three-phase volunteer effort to support healthy youth lifestyle choices and access to community resources.
“Our summer and after-school programs are focused on keeping young people active to support healthy social and academic development,” said Coleman Center Facilities Manager Stevon Neloms. “Thanks to generous community volunteers, our kids now have another fun way to exercise and stay active here and at home.”
During the event, volunteers helped recipients select bikes, fit riders for new helmets, and led them through a series of bike-safety activities.
“Exercise and education are true building blocks for student achievement, and we’re thrilled that many of our families now have these resources,” said Paragon Mills Principal Dr. Maria Austria. “Our community has rallied together to show our students they care.”
Community partnerships played a key role in the successes leading up to the event. In May, Metro Parks Community Centers and Middle Tennessee YMCAs served as bike collection sites. For the fourth consecutive year, the Oasis Center led refurbishment efforts at its Bike Workshop, where volunteers cleaned bikes, replaced chains, repaired seats and more.
“At the Oasis Bike Workshop, teens learn about themselves and their communities through our bike building program,” said Oasis Bike Workshop Founder Dan Furbish. “Our hope is that today’s recipients develop a passion for biking now, and someday will join our program.”
Many ReCYCLE for Kids volunteers hailed from the Nashville business community, including Change Healthcare, Cummins, Regions and Ted Sanders Moving. Jackson celebrated its third year consecutive year as ReCYCLE’s presenting sponsor.
“One of Jackson’s core pillars is to enhance the lives of children in our community,” said Susannah Berry, corporate social responsibility specialist for Jackson. “Our team has truly united around ReCYCLE for kids, and its unique approach to empowering youth.”
Since its inception in 2012, ReCYCLE for Kids has made bike ownership a reality for nearly 1,000 youth living in underserved neighborhoods. The goal of the effort is to encourage the re-use and recycling of materials. Hands On Nashville plans to distribute remaining bikes to Nashville youth this summer.
“ReCYCLE for Kids is a testament to the value of creative community partnership and volunteerism,” said Hands On Nashville Interim Executive Director Lori Shinton, “This event is an uplifting example of what we can do as a community when we come together around a common goal.”
About Hands On Nashville
Hands On Nashville (HON) works to address critical issues facing the Middle Tennessee community through volunteer-centric programming. For more information, visit www.HON.org or call (615) 298-1108.
Hands On Nashville’s second week of Summer Camp was full of more projects, friendships, and fun!
From learning about healthy eating, to discussing stress management, to talking through best practices for living an overall healthy lifestyle, the group explored issues of health and wellness over the five day camp. Each afternoon, campers participated in service-learning projects at a different organization working to improve the health and wellness of our community and its individuals.
Hospital Hospitality House Service Project
At Hospital Hospitality House, an organization that provides low-cost accommodations to patients and families facing medical crisis, campers helped with outdoor beautification projects like weeding, picking up trash, clearing rocks away from pathways, and sprucing up the courtyards. Tasks like these can seem small, but they are a big help to organizations that rely on volunteers to help them continue to do the work they do!
Soles4Souls Shoe Sorting Service Project
Soles4Souls is an international organization that provides shoes to those in need in the US, and in 127 countries around the world! During Health and Wellness Week, campers sorted more than 1,000 pairs of shoes that will reach those in need around the globe. Now that’s a good feeling!
Cooking up something good.
What says health and wellness more than good food? Every day, campers worked together to prepare healthy lunches and snacks that honed their cooking skills as well as their taste buds.
Campers also took part in discussions on larger food security and access issues facing our communities, including the ease and accessibility of non-nutritious fast food, which can often seem like the best choice based on access and affordability. During lunch, campers practiced basic cooking skills, took home step-by-step recipes, and learned from nutritionists about the different benefits that eating nutritious food can have on the body.
Bike Refurbishment Project at Oasis Center
For the second camp week in a row, we traveled to the Oasis Center’s Bike Workshop for a bike refurbishment project! The Oasis Bike Workshop provides young people a place to go and fix their bikes, as well as learn how to maintain them. During the project, campers learned useful bike-fixing skills and refurbished bikes that will be donated to local students through Hands On Nashville’s ReCYCLE for Kids program this July.
Thanks to Sally Rausch, our very own fermentation guru and YVC Urban Agriculture Education AmeriCorps Member, campers learned about health the benefits of naturally preserved foods, not to mention it is a good way to use excess produce from the garden! Each camper made their own jar of preservative-free pickles to take home and eat in a couple of weeks.
Project C.U.R.E. service project.
Ever wonder what happens to excess or used medical equipment? During Health and Wellness week, campers sorted medical supplies at Project C.U.R.E., a nonprofit that collects donated medical supplies and distributes them all over the world to developing countries. The campers learned that these supplies can mean the difference between life and death and experienced first-hand how saving materials from landfills can make a huge difference for the health and well-being of those in need.
Thank you, campers!
A big shout out to our volunteer leaders this week, Jackson and Dhara, as well as all of our speakers and project coordinators — we could not do it without you!
What’s better than full circle community partnership?
“Hands On Nashville helped [Edgehill Bike Club] get on our feet three years ago when they donated 40 bikes to us,” said Edgehill Bike Club Founder Terry Key. “Now we get the chance to give back to HON by donating bikes to the ReCYCLE for Kids program.”
The Edgehill Bike Club’s mission is to change lives one child at a time by combining the refurbishing of bikes with regular bike rallies and mentoring — its relationship with Hands On Nashville goes back to the very beginning in 2013. At that time, Hands On Nashville helped Edgehill start its bike club with a donation of 40 bikes to get the wheels rolling.
For the fourth year running, Hands On Nashville is hosting a community-wide ReCYCLE for Kids drive to collect bikes to connect with community youth. As part of the initiative, volunteers help restore pre-loved bikes before they are gifted to young people, along with a new helmet, lock, safety education and more.
When Terry and his team saw Hands On Nashville’s call for a few more bike donations this summer, they reached out in support. With their own donation of 40+ bikes, Edgehill is bringing the partnership full circle.
“We love Hands On Nashville and the good works they are doing in the Nashville area,” Terry said. “Thank YOU for the opportunity to return the three year old favor!”
Thank you, Edgehill Bike Club, for your support to pedal RECYCLE for Kids forward this year!
On June 16 and 22, dozens of volunteers from Sarah Cannon Research Institute gave their of time and talents over two days of service. Volunteers supported nine Nashville nonprofit organizations and programs, giving 231 hours of their time to the Nashville community.
- Sorting donated medical supplies at Project C.U.R.E.
- Planting summer vegetables at Hand’s On Nashville’s Urban Farm
- Removing invasive species at Percy Priest Lake and clean up debris from the banks of a waterway
- Assembling furniture and painting the facilities at Martha O’Bryan Center
- Sorting food for Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee‘s elementary school backpack program
- Steaming suits for the YWCA’s Dress for Success program
Sarah Cannon, thank you for your elbow grease and dedication to service!
Here are a few pieces of volunteer feedback we keep reading over, and over:
“This was absolutely amazing and something we totally need to get more involved in.”
“We had an AMAZING time at the YWCA Resale Boutique! From steaming “Dress for Success” suits to sorting the clothes that would be stored for winter, it was a great opportunity to help prepare the store for so many women who can benefit from this resource!”
“We had a great time together!! Look forward to more opportunities to be in service!”
“This was absolutely amazing and something we totally need to get more involved in.”
“We had so much fun at the different Sarah Cannon Community Day activities. We are so grateful to work for a company that supports community service. I’m so proud to be a part of such a great team!”
Ready to get involved? Sign up for a volunteer project at HON.org.
Before Hands On Nashville partnered with Change Healthcare volunteers to install acoustic paneling in the Kirkpatrick Community Center gymnasium in April, the reverberating noise level often became so loud it limited the programming and activities in the space.
Games became difficult to follow. Conversations and coaching lessons were strained.
Volunteer TiAndrea Watkins, who volunteered that day in April, knew all too well how the volume affected the programming –thats because she is also a dedicated coach at the center.
TiAndrea is part of a team of ten Change Healthcare employees and family members who spent a Tuesday afternoon working to improve the acoustics of the space, which she says has made a significant difference.
After the project wrapped up, we caught up with TiAndrea about what the center means to her, her memories of visiting the center as a child, and her experience supporting Kirkpatrick as a coach and a volunteer. Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: TiAndrea Watkins
On Thursday, June 16, a group of 12 Cummins volunteers arrived at Ms. York-Waters’ home for a special Home Energy Savings “Plus” project.
Hands On Nashville’s Home Energy Savings (HES) Program engages volunteers to improve the energy efficiency of homes, which on average saves homeowners $390 annually on their utility bills.
During this special, HES “Plus” project, Cummins volunteers not only set to work on improving the energy efficiency inside the home, but made tremendous improvements to Ms. York-Waters yard, as well.
Before the project, the house was “leaking” a significant amount of air, meaning cool was air escaping into warm places, and warm air escaping to cold areas. This is in large part due to an addition to the house made many years ago. Leaking air is one of the main causes of high energy bills, as it requires HVAC units to work harder throughout the year to maintain temperatures.
To remedy this issue, volunteers caulked around each window, and added weatherstripping around windows and doors. As soon as the volunteer set to work, they could tell the impact was going to be immense.
“It’s definitely going to help them out,” said volunteer Todd Browning. “Their house needs some TLC.”
Beyond the Home Energy Savings scope of work completed inside, Cummins volunteers set out to improve an outdoor portion of her home. After rain storms, large amounts of water pooled in one low-point in her yard, eventually leaking right into the lower level of the home. To remedy this issue, volunteers built a beautiful rain garden complete with native grasses and plants that will absorb water before it can reach the home.
One of the volunteers who helped build the garden was Kathy Pessefall, a Cummins employee who has helped on multiple HES projects now. When asked why she enjoys the process, Kathy simply said planting rain gardens is one of her favorite project activities.
“I like helping people, for one,” Kathy said. “But [i} also [volunteer] for my own selfish reasons. Since learning about rain gardens, I’ve taught multiple other people what I’ve learned!”
As the project drew to a close, Ms. York- Waters expressed sincere gratitude for all of Cummins hard work.
“I’m so glad you’re here, “Ms. York-Waters said. “I’ve learned a lot about my house, especially cobwebs and how they develop when there’s a lot of air coming into the home from outside; just last week we were discussing how they get there.”
“I learned a lot about how much air leakage we have and much about what we never knew about our home before today,” she said.
To learn more about the Home Energy Savings Program and how you can get involved, please visit HON.org/hes.
On June 6, Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corps launched its three-week summer camp with five days of service-learning focused around the environment!
After a week of volunteer leader training, two of our “Hyped on Help”ers, Abi and Hallie (pictured above), led their group in team building activities, participating in service projects, and end-of-day reflections. Every day of environment week brought new projects, new speakers, and new challenges. Overall, the campers learned about issues facing our global environment, and more specifically, how everyday actions can have a larger impact than we think on the world around us.
During a visit to the Cumberland River Compact, a Nashville water conservation nonprofit, the campers learned how people affect their surrounding waters through an interactive watershed model. They learned about flood effects in urbanized areas, water contamination from various different sources, issues facing the Cumberland River, and the limitations of Earth’s water supply. On a smaller scale, campers learned personal tips and tricks for combating these issues.
At the OASIS bike workshop, the campers were able to get hands on experience servicing and caring for a bike. Later in the day, they also learned the environmental importance of alternate methods of transportation, such as biking and walking, and the impact they can have on reducing carbon emissions in the environment. The bikes that the campers helped refurbish are part of ReCYCLE for Kids, a larger project to recycle used bikes and distribute them to children living in underserved neighborhoods.
Nothing says environment week like a stream cleanup! During a project at Coopers Creek, campers were able to remove eight bags of trash and cleaned about 1,056ft of natural waterway. The removal of debris from waterways improves the quality of the water as well as the habitats that depend on it!
A visit from Urban Green Lab gave campers an interactive look into sustainable concepts and how we can adapt to a more sustainable lifestyle. The new solar-powered Mobile Lab was an amazing tool for learning about energy use, waste, food production, water conservation and more! The campers especially loved the energy-saving, human-powered blender! Fruit smoothies on a hot summer day were the perfect cap to learning about sustainability. Thanks, Urban Green Lab, for bringing out your mobile lab!
To end the week, campers were given a small budget for Nashville’s recycled arts and crafts store, Smart Art, to pick out materials to create an upcycled art project. So much of what we use goes to waste, so an upcycle craft is the perfect way to visualize how something old can be turned into something new! Campers were able to craft while watching Dr. Seuss’s, The Lorax. We had some amazing projects but the winner of the upcycle challenge was Ava with her 100% recycled coat hanger! (Can you spot the eyeglasses?)
Thank you to all those who participated in this week, it would not have been the same without you!
To learn more about Hands On Nashville, and how you can volunteer, visit HON.org.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM), Hands On Nashville and the Mayor’s Office partnered to honor 41 nonprofits achieving Excellence in Volunteer Engagement (EVE) certification today at CNM. Continue reading Mayor Barry and nonprofit partnership celebrate 41 successful volunteer programs