Five tips for writing a strong Strobel nomination

The Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards are Middle Tennessee’s largest celebration of volunteerism! Each May, Hands On Nashville honors the legacy of Mary Catherine Strobel, best remembered for her tireless, joyful commitment to Nashvillians in need.  

It’s a time to recognize volunteers for their commitment to service in 2022 and celebrate Nashville’s giving spirit. By nominating a friend, co-worker, or fellow volunteer, you acknowledge their dedication to our community, and possibly help them receive $1,000 that they can donate to their favorite cause! 

Nominations are open Feb. 1-15, and the first 25 nominators (that’s you!), will receive a $50 Hattie B’s gift card. Don’t delay!  

Click here for information about this year’s award categories.  

Click here between Feb. 1-15 to nominate a volunteer!

Tips for writing a nomination:  

  1. Accuracy: The most important thing! Please double check the spelling of your nominee’s name, their age (if applicable), the organization they volunteer with, and that they are an unpaid volunteer.  
     
  1. Defining storytelling: Beyond sharing heartwarming stories of your nominated volunteer, set your nomination apart by including data and a few facts! Knowing a volunteer served 20 hours a week for a year (1,040 hours!) is more compelling than “they volunteered weekly.” 

    Another pointer: Share the importance of your nominee’s service with their collective impact! Say a volunteer packed 300 meals a shift, once a week, for a whole year — cumulatively, that’s 15,600 meals for community members in need. Again, just a much more impactful way of sharing “they packed meals weekly.” 

  1. Details: Don’t forget to include all the information! Does your volunteer serve at multiple organizations? Do they have a history of volunteerism? Sharing your nominee’s background tells a captivating story and helps screeners (wonderful community leaders who choose the Strobel finalists) get a comprehensive picture of your nominee and their heart for service.  
     
  1. Grammar and spelling: We know you’re all very excited to submit your nominations, but please take a moment to review your nomination before submitting! Do the sentences make sense? Are there multiple misspelled words? Keep your nomination clear and easy to read.  
     
  1. Length and clarity: There’s tons of freedom with the nomination form, so nominators can write as much or as little as they like to highlight their volunteer. We’d recommend two to three paragraphs to share your nominee’s story. More than a few sentences are preferred, but stories can sometimes get lost in the details. Everyone’s story is different, so please feel free to write what you feel!  

 
Note: Not sure which category best fits your volunteer? We recommend considering their type of service before nominating for an age-based category. If their service work falls under building capacity, equity, or responding to a disaster, submit in that category! Individuals and group categories are great when a volunteer’s experience spans multiple impact areas.

Thank you so much for participating in this year’s Strobel Awards! We’re incredibly grateful to our nominators as much as our nominees, and we can’t wait to celebrate with you in May!  

Remember, you can submit your nomination Feb. 1-15 on hon.org! 

Thank you, mentors!

January is National Mentoring Month, a great time to thank our local role models for dedicating their time to bettering the community. Hands On Nashville is very fortunate to have a great group of mentors serving alongside our AmeriCorps members as they complete their term of service. Below you’ll find a few highlights from our members, who took the time to praise their mentors. THANK YOU AmeriCorps mentors, for your patience, encouragement, and care of not only your mentees, but the community as a whole.

Interested in becoming a mentor?

Through mentoring, volunteers share their experiences with those interested in a similar career field, or who are looking for some life guidance or ways to succeed. By volunteering, you can help inspire others to become successful, no matter their age.


 

Mentor name: Katherine Dennis 
Organization: Friends of Mill Ridge Park 
Quote from mentee: “Katherine is an excellent mentor. Her background, both academic and in the workplace, means that I’m often learning better methods to approach problem-solving, running “experiments”, and program management. She is caring and empathetic in all her communications with the public and in private when I have something to gripe about. I am very thankful to have her as my service mentor and I hope she knows how much I respect her!” – Caleb Trotter  




Mentor name: Mira Hanna 
Organization: Nurture the Next  
Quote from mentee: “Mira is a program officer at NTN and is one of the first people you would meet if you came to the office or a NTN event. As a mentor, she has gone beyond just supervising me by passing on her years of experience and wealth of knowledge to me. This challenges me academically in this family intervention field, aiding me to help further develop program curriculum for Nurture the Next.” – Helena Fisher  




Mentor name: Drew Himsworth 
Organization: Hands On Nashville 
Quote from mentee: He is a very understanding mentor who is always willing to talk about any questions or concerns I may have. He has shown support in every step of the way as I learn and try to discover what I want my future/life to look like. As I started the program, he was a very hands-on mentor who showed me everything I needed to know. Now he allows for much more autonomy while still providing support.” – Dapheny Sequeira  

Hands On Nashville announces new Americorps Manager, Amiee Sadler

Amiee Sadler is the AmeriCorps Manager for Hands On Nashville.
Amiee Sadler is the new AmeriCorps Manager for Hands On Nashville.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 5, 2023) – Middle Tennessee’s Hands On Nashville (HON) recently announced the addition of their new AmeriCorps Manager Aimee Sadler to the team. A graduate of the Nashville Young Leaders Council class of 2020, Sadler was recognized as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2022.

In this new position, Sadler will help HON drive impact in the Nashville community through matching national service participants to community partners. She will maintain a positive program experience for AmeriCorps by providing ongoing support to its members and host sites.

Sadler, a graduate of Columbia State Community College with a degree in sociology, is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville. She brings with her a significant background in social work and community involvement, having served on the Tennessee Board of Regents and as chief justice of the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature while at Columbia State. She was also appointed as the first student school board member for Metro Nashville Public Schools in Tennessee and served as an international officer for the United Methodist Youth Organization. She currently serves on the board for the Nashville Launchpad and in|tn Inclusion Tennessee.

“At Hands On Nashville, we take pride in bringing ambitious, dedicated and collaborative minds onto our team,” said Hands On Nashville CEO Lori Shinton. “Aimee Sadler is not short of any of these qualities, and we are excited to see how she uses her passion for justice to serve the Nashville community alongside us.”

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For More Information

Savanna Maue: savanna@hon.org; 615-298-1108
Julia Stough: jstough@mpf.com; 615-259-4000

About Hands On Nashville

Hands On Nashville (HON) builds capacity for individuals and agencies to meet needs through service. Its programs connect volunteers to opportunities supporting 200-plus nonprofits, schools and other civic organizations; help these partners reimagine volunteer potential; and bring awareness to the challenges facing the people and places in our community. HON also partners with the city to coordinate volunteers whenever there is a disaster. For more information, visit HON.org or call 615-298-1108.


A graphic design highlighting the completion of the Safe Bar App, a project facilitated by Hands On Nashville's GeekCause program.

GeekCause volunteers help prevent sexual violence across TN

We’re so excited to share the completion of our most recent GeekCause project! GeekCause volunteers made modifications to the Sexual Assault Center of Middle Tennesee’s (SAC) Safe Bar App that was originally developed during Hack for the Community 2022. Hands On Nashville was honored to be approached about this project and grateful to provide volunteer support from two of our amazing tech volunteers. They worked diligently to consult with SAC on their needs and implement solutions to get this incredible resource ready for public rollout.

Skilled GeekCause volunteers spent a total combined 28.5 hours on this project, a service valued at more than $3,000! 

The Safe Bar program works with local bars and restaurants to raise awareness about alcohol’s role in sexual assault, engaging bar owners and staff in bystander intervention, and working together to do their part to prevent sexual violence across Tennessee.  

The app will allow users to browse all Safe Bars across Tennessee with its new map feature and shares links to learn more about the program and request trainings. 

We want to extend a special thank you to our dedicated volunteers, Molly Kemp and Michael Bentley, who worked so diligently on this project. Here’s what our friends at SAC had to say: 

“Thank you so much for the timely and top-quality work you provided for us through our most recent GeekCause project on the Safe Bar App. We are so grateful for you time and skill and know that this will benefit our community and work more than you can imagine. Thank you!” 

For local bars and restaurants interested in becoming a certified Safe Bar, reach out to SAC’s Statewide Training Specialists, Jack Ohmes at johmes@sacenter.org or Marie Michonski at mmichonski@sacenter.org

Could your nonprofit use some tech help? Does your tech-savvy work team want to give back to the community? Learn more about GeekCause here 

Interested in learning more about the Safe Bar app? View an article recently published by the Nashville Scene here.

Hands On Nashville’s 2022 Guide to Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

Looking for ways to give back to the community this holiday season? We’ve got you covered with great opportunities for your family, or to do with friends!

To view even more upcoming volunteer opportunities, visit our calendar. Looking to donate items in need to our nonprofit partners? Visit our HON Holiday Wishlist.

Thank you for your support of Middle Tennessee’s nonprofits, and from the HON family to yours, we hope you have a very happy holiday.

1. Sing holiday carols at Morning Pointe senior living facilities 
Organization: Franklin Lantern of Morning Pointe   
Minimum age: 18+ 
When: Times vary through Dec. 24 
Collect a group of friends or family and sing holiday carols with the residents at Franklin Lantern of Morning Pointe! Music benefits older adults cognitively, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  This senior community provides assisted living to older adults with Alzheimer’s to promote dignity and independence as adults age.  

2. Greet guests at Cheekwood’s annual Holiday Lights 
Organization: Cheekwood Estate and Gardens 
Minimum age: 16+ 
When: 4:30 to 7 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 28 through Jan. 8 
Assist as a greeter/way finder through Cheekwood’s winter wonderland with over one million lights, s’mores stations, a holiday marketplace, and more! Celebrate the holiday season by volunteering at Cheekwood’s annual festive Holiday Lights!  

3. Package meals for families in need at The Branch
Organization: The Branch of Nashville 
Minimum age: 6+ with adult; 15+ without
When: Times vary, Nov. 30 through Feb. 4 
Volunteer at The Branch of Nashville to help with guest intake and registration, preparing food, checking valid expiration dates, distribution of food to guests, sorting and stocking items from delivery trucks to the storeroom supply, putting extra food items in prepared carts, boxes, and bags, and cleaning empty carts. Help The Branch support those in our community who face the challenge of food insecurity for their families this holiday season! 

4. Deliver holiday giving tree items to families in need 
Organization: Inspiritus  
Minimum age: 18+ 
When: 11:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Dec. 21 
Inspiritus is looking for a few volunteers to help deliver door-to-door Giving Tree bags full of personal care and cleaning supplies to families living in the Haywood Lane apts. There are only 50 apartments, and this could be accomplished during your lunch break, so come spread some holiday cheer! 

5. Write holiday letters to seniors and disabled individuals 
Organization: Greater Nashville Regional Council   
Minimum age: 3+ with adult, 14+ without
When: Times vary, ongoing through Dec. 31 
Bring some holiday cheer to isolated seniors, seniors in nursing homes and/or disabled individuals in the Nashville community by sending them heartfelt, handmade letters! Volunteers can incorporate the theme through art by making their own themed cards. Once signed up, volunteers will be contacted with instructions for the letters and the address to send them to. 

6. Create Christmas crafts with older adults 
Organization:  Franklin Lantern of Morning Pointe  
Minimum age: 6+ with adult, 18 
When: 3 to 4 p.m. every Friday in December
Make a chain garland for the Christmas tree, pinecone bird feeders, and Santa hats for the residents of Franklin Lantern of Morning Pointe. Bring some holiday joy to the Morning Pointe community this year.

7. Create Family Care Packages in the There With Care warehouse 
Organization: There With Care Middle Tennessee  
Minimum age: 18+ 
When: Times vary, ongoing through Dec. 31 
Volunteers are needed to help with creating care packages including family toiletries, cleaning supplies, clothing items, groceries, toys for patients, and baby care essentials that will get delivered to families in Middle Tennessee.

8. Fulfill food orders at the CHOICE Food Pantry with Nashville CARES
Organization: Nashville CARES  
Minimum age: 18+ 
When: Times vary, ongoing through Dec. 31 
Nashville CARES needs volunteers to pack food in their food pantry. Clients can come into CARES’ offices, fill out a menu of various food items they would like to receive, and volunteers pack their food bags for them! This is a great opportunity for someone who would like a direct, hands-on way to give back this season!

9. Spread Cheer with WinterWonder Boxes at Nurses for Newborns 
Organization: Nurses for Newborns of Tennessee 
Minimum age: 18+ 
When: times vary, Dec. 5 through Dec. 6 
A great opportunity for coworkers, friends, or family members, host a donation drive and collect needed items for Nurses for Newborns! Volunteers then sort the items into donation boxes to be dropped off for new families in need. Nurses for Newborns can provide

10. Craft ‘fits’ to support Healthcare in Tennessee
Organization: Tennessee Justice Center
Minimum age: 18+
When: Times vary
The Tennessee Justice Center is looking for crafty volunteers to make ‘fits’ to support their cause of spotlighting access for affordable healthcare coverage. These stress ball yarn animals are distributed to partners, friends, and clients across the state to encourage legislators to close the Medicaid coverage gap.

11. Harvest winter vegetables and prepare the gardens for spring
Organization: BELL Garden
Minimum age: 18+ , 12+ with an adult
When: 9 a.m. to noon, Saturdays in December
Deadhead flowers, weed vegetable gardens and pathways, harvest vegetables for the food bank, and assist with overall garden maintenance to prepare for spring! This is a great opportunity to get outside with your family and assist in preparing thousands of pounds of food for the community.

• • •

Looking for another way to give back? We invite you to volunteer your time organizing a holiday donation drive for one of our partners! While Hands On Nashville does not accept material donations, many of our partners do! Here’s a very easy way to organize a donation drive: 

  1. Visit our wish list page to see what organizations are needing 
  1. Ask colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors to bring wish list items for your donation drive 
  1. Create a designated drop-off space  
  1. Deliver items to the deserving organization or have them shipped 

Three easy ways to give back this holiday season

Here are three easy ways to give back: 

  1. Donate today! Hands On Nashville supports nearly 200 local nonprofits, ranging from education to the unhoused. Invest in Hands On Nashville and support not just one cause, but every cause.

  2. Start a fundraiser on Facebook or Instagram! Set a goal of raising $300 for Hands On Nashville and join others around the world this Giving Tuesday.

  3. Sign up to volunteer today! Give your time by serving others at one volunteer shift before the end of the year. Check out our holiday volunteer opportunities here!

Thank you for all your support. We are so grateful for the Nashville community this #givingtuesday and the huge collective heart for service! 

Find instructions for an Instagram fundraiser here and a Facebook fundraiser here! 

Combating hunger and homelessness in our communities

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is an annual program across the country that draws attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness in our communities. November 12-20, participating organizations are coming together to promote resources, programs, and volunteer opportunities for you to help. It is also a time to share our compassion with those who see themselves in these circumstances. 

Did you know:

These statistics show the ongoing work needed to combat these social issues. Here are a few ways you can help make a difference in our community’s vulnerable populations. For a full list of volunteer opportunities, visit our calendar at hon.org/calendar.

Distribute food at apartments in North Nashville 
Set up tables, organize food, take names, and help with clean-up as Dream Streets distributes food to the community members at Cheatham Place Apartments. This opportunity is available from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. on Wednesdays.  
Sign up here: https://www.hon.org/opportunity/a0C5a00000iOIHFEA4/free-grocery-distribution-at-cheatham-place-apartments 

Help sanitize showers and hand out hygiene supplies with Shower The People 
Check-in guests, hand out hygiene supplies, and distribute food as Shower The People uses their mobile shower bus to shower unhoused people in the community. STP needs volunteers from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursdays.  
Sign up here: https://www.hon.org/opportunity/a0C5a00000iOFliEAG/mobile-shower-volunteer 

Prepare food boxes to be distributed  
Sort, stock, and prepare food at The Branch of Nashville. The Branch of Nashville is a faith-based organization that dedicates its efforts to supporting families who face food insecurity. Flexible shifts are available.   
Sign up here: https://www.hon.org/opportunity/a0C5a00000iOJ5zEAG/help-fight-food-insecurity 

Pack foster bags and food for foster animals   
Looking for a way to support homeless pets in the community? The Nashville Humane Association is looking for support with its foster program. Volunteers pack foster bags, prep food bags, clean the foster bin, and more! If you’re lucky maybe one of NHA’s foster pets will adopt you!  
Sign up here: https://www.hon.org/opportunity/a0C5a00000iO43NEAS/foster-program-support 

Fall volunteer fun!

Volunteering is a great way to enjoy local fall events while giving back to your community! We’re highlighting just a few of our fall opportunities with our nonprofit partners all across Middle Tennessee! Whether you’re a college student home for Fall Break or a family looking for new experiences with your littles, there’s something for everyone! To see our full opportunity calendar, click here!

Also, mark your calendar for Nashville Volunteer Week! This inaugural event begins Oct. 17! Learn more here!

Bartend during a NightLight615 movie night   
The Fort Houston/The Forge/NightLight615 
Minimum age: 21+ 
When: 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, or Friday, Oct. 21
Serve drinks at the bar and attend to guests at the NightLight615 movie event series! Volunteers will receive food and drinks in addition to free parking during the event.  

Teach swim lessons to children and adults  
Nashville Dolphins
Minimum age: 14+ with adult 
When: This is an ongoing opportunity from Oct. 7 to Dec. 10 
The Nashville Dolphins is looking for volunteers to help teach children and adults with special needs learn water safety and how to swim! Experience is not necessary, and training will be provided.  

Unload and give away trees during Tree Fest 2022
Nashville Tree Foundation  
Minimum age: 16+, 13+ (with adult)  
When:  Times vary, Oct. 21, 23, 25 and 29
Unload trees from trucks, assist with registration, hand out container trees, and clean up after the event with the Nashville Tree Foundation. Heads up: If you volunteer, you may be able to take a tree home!  

Fly A Kite and attend to guests at Kite Fest 
Friends of Mill Ridge Park  
Minimum age: 18+  
When: 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, 22, or 29
Friends of Mill Ridge Park is looking for volunteers to welcome park visitors, assemble kites, demonstrate proper kite flying, facilitate lawn games for event attendees, replenish snacks and drinks as needed, and help with cleaning up after the event. Various shifts are available!  

Prepare community gardens for the next season 
BELL Garden 
Minimum age:
18+ 
 When: 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, Oct. 8, 15, 22, or 29
Volunteer with BELL Garden as they prepare their garden for the upcoming season! Volunteers will harvest vegetables for the food bank, deadhead flowers, weed beds and paths, and more.  

Prepare meals for local families in need  
The Branch of Nashville 

Minimum age: 15+, 8+ (with adult)  
When: Varying times, Oct. 5 through Oct. 29
Are you an advocate for food insecurity? Help The Branch of Nashville pack food bags, check for food freshness, clean their facility, and distribute food to guests. 

Check in guests and offer support at the annual Hike for Safe Haven
Safe Haven Family Shelter  

Minimum age: 18+, 12+ (with adult)  
When: Various times, Saturday, Nov. 12
Support Safe Haven Family Shelter as they host their annual Hike for Save Haven event. Volunteers are needed to set up, check in guests, distribute refreshments, assist at the photo booth, monitor the children’s area, and help pack up supplies.  

Support foster animals at the Nashville Humane Association  
Nashville Humane Association 

Minimum age: 16+, 13 (with adult)  
When: This opportunity is ongoing until the end of the year 
Are you passionate about animals? The Nashville Humane Association is looking for volunteers to serve in their foster program by preparing food and supplies for new foster pets as they prepare to be placed in their homes! Volunteers will fill foster bags and food containers, empty returned foster bins after pets are adopted, and more. This is a great ongoing opportunity looking for return volunteers!

Socialize with older adults during Friends Adult Days Services
FiftyForward 
Minimum age:
18+, 16 (with adult)  
Date: Ongoing until Nov. 18 
FiftyForward is looking for volunteers interested in reoccurring shifts with their day program! Volunteers will welcome participants, assist during meal service, and provide one-on-one support with the older adults during their activities. Being engaged allows these adults to thrive and live a more happy and more active life.
 

National Preparedness Month: Protect Your Legacy

The 2022 National Preparedness Month theme: A Lasting Legacy.

Each September the Federal Emergency Management Agency partners with Ready.gov to compile a list of resources for families to prepare themselves in case of disaster.

The 2022 theme of preparedness is “A Lasting Legacy.”

The life you’ve built is worth protecting, preparing for disasters is the best way to create a lasting legacy for you and your family.

Here’s four steps Ready.gov recommends:

Build a Kit

An emergency kit should have everything you need to survive for several days. Keeping your kit stocked with necessities like food, water, and medical care can make the difference in the face of a disaster.  Consider unique needs of your family. Include supplies that might be needed by pets, older adults, and those with disabilities in the event of the emergency. Don’t forget to include:

  • Non-perishable food and water that can last several days.
  • Flashlights, radios & extra batteries.
  • First aid kit.

Learn more at Ready.gov/kit.

Make a plan

Disasters can happen anywhere, any time. That’s why it’s important you’re prepared. Do you have a plan for yourself, your pets, and your family? Consider the specific needs you might have in an emergency. 

  • Consider any special needs your family might have.
  • Make sure your kids know important phone numbers.
  • Learn your evacuation routes.

Learn more at Ready.gov/plan.


Protect family and property

Here’s a few quick ways to prepare your property and keep your family safe should a disaster strike:

  • Sign up for free emergency alerts in your area to receive life-saving information from your state and local municipality.
  • Store important documents and information in a safe place. Items like passports, birth certificates, maps and electronics should be put in a flood-safe place like a high shelf or upper floor in resealable, water-tight plastic bags to help waterproof them. Store important documents like insurance policies digitally. Make sure you put important phone numbers somewhere besides just your cell phone.
  • Verify your home is fully insured for the disaster risks in your area. Talk to your insurance agent to ensure there are no gaps in your coverage, but also remember you should shop around to get the best rate. Ask about discounts that may be available and consider increasing the deductibles to reduce your premiums.

Learn more at ready.gov/be-informed
Own a business? Click here for more resources.

Teaching Youth

It’s never too early for your little ones to feel safe. Whether it’s knowing their phone number, guardian’s names, or address; or for teens to know how to call for help or their home’s evacuation routes — there’s steps you can take today. Every member of the family can prepare. 

Ready Kids has tools and information to help before, during, and after disasters.

Learn more at ready.gov/kids.


How to help Kentucky flood survivors

With historic flood damage and brutal heat affecting those in Eastern Kentucky, we know Nashville is looking for ways to help.

YAIPack Outreach, a member of the Nashville VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), is collecting donations for survivors and first responders at 1255 Paradise Hill Road, Clarksville, TN.

Inspiritus, also active in the Nashville VOAD, is looking for volunteers willing to travel to Kentucky to offer aid. Those interested in this opportunity can contact Sherry Buresh at 859-353-2243 or email her at sherry.buresh@weinspirit.org.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (center) met with Inspiritus volunteers at the Volunteer Reception Center in Wayland Floyd County to provide encouragement to responders and survivors alike. (Photo by Inspiritus)

The Inspiritus Disaster Response team is currently on the ground in Eastern Kentucky running the Volunteer Reception Center and coordinating volunteer efforts.

Other local organizations offering relief are The FootPrint Project, Kentucky Red Cross, and the Christian Appalachian Project. They need monetary donations, as well as volunteers.

This is a reminder that disasters can occur without warning. Hands On Nashville and our partners are always preparing for whatever may come our way.