It’s National Mentoring Month!

January is recognized as National Mentoring Month, a time to take an uplifting look at the power of relationships. Mentoring amplifies change, one relationship at a time, and helps young people find and follow their passions.

Hands On Nashville is incredibly fortunate to partner with organizations that sponsor and nurture mentorship programs across Middle Tennessee. Here are just a few options for how volunteers can make a difference in someone else’s life:

  • BEGIN ANEW: Tutor students online to help them grow stronger with their education, and stronger in their faith. Begin Anew is a faith-based education program working to empower individuals to overcome obstacles created by poverty. They provide GED test prep, English as a second language classes, and computer and job-skills classes to adults, as well as mentoring and access to resources. SIGN UP HERE
  • DISMAS HOUSE: Work with adults transitioning out of the prison system to increase their educational and job-preparedness skills. Volunteers assist with preparation for college placement exams, academic support, resume and cover letter writing, internet navigation, and more. Dismas House‘s mission is to foster community awareness and understanding of the challenges and obstacles formerly incarcerated men face upon re-entry by providing a system for personal transformation and growth as they transition back into society. SIGN UP HERE
  • THE FAMILY CENTER: Practice healthy coping, social, and emotional skills with clients at The Family Center! Each year The Family Center helps more than 4,000 families by providing the support and tools they need to better themselves as parents and as people. SIGN UP HERE
  • THE NASHVILLE DOLPHINS: Assist with teaching special needs children to swim while instilling in them a sense of teamwork and accomplishment with the Nashville Dolphins.
    The Nashville Dolphins offer the physical and emotional benefits of swimming to people with special needs regardless of age, ability, or financial circumstances, and their programming is offered at no cost to participants. SIGN UP HERE
  • NASHVILLE INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR EMPOWERMENT: Become a youth mentor and help students and their families navigate online learning platforms, develop and maintain learning schedules, offer homework assistance, and provide individualized support to English Learner students. It is the Nashville International Center for Empowerment‘s mission to ensure refugees and immigrants achieve their full potential now and for generations to come. SIGN UP HERE
Celebrate International Mentoring Day with us on January 17!

  • PRESTON TAYLOR MINISTRIES: Volunteer with Preston Taylor Ministries’ after-school program, where you can work with children in kindergarten through fourth grade to help facilitate math and reading rotations, give assistance with homework, and provide instruction in enrichment activities. Preston Taylor Ministries is a mentoring program that offers several avenues for building life-changing relationships. SIGN UP HERE
  • SALVATION ARMY NASHVILLE: Volunteer music instructors are needed to assist in teaching future musicians! The Salvation Army offers music lessons two to three days a week, with a flexible schedule for volunteers. Drums, piano, and guitar players are immediately needed, but all other instrumentalists are encouraged to sign up. SIGN UP HERE
  • YOUTH VILLAGES: Offer guidance and support through one-on-one relationships with Youth Villages’ Mentoring Program. This opportunity provides young people receiving their services with positive adult role models. Some mentors choose to play catch at the park, get a burger and hang out, or even take a trip to the county fair. SIGN UP HERE
  • WATER WALKERS: The Water Walkers offer multiple mentorship opportunities with children. Options range from participating in after-school tutoring, having fun during recreational time, or supervising monthly indoor rock climbing adventures.
    Water Walkers is a water-sports and adventure-based education and mentoring nonprofit serving kids in Nashville. They use water sports and adventure to provide chances for kids to face fears, grow in confidence, and learn that they are capable of achieving the life they want for themselves. SIGN UP HERE

Interested in seeing our new volunteer opportunities first? Sign up for our newsletter!

City of Nashville & Davidson County join nonprofits to provide response and recovery efforts for historic downtown area

December 31, 2020, Nashville, Tenn. – The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Office of Emergency Management, and Nashville/Davidson County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) are working together to provide immediate assistance to individuals affected by the tragedy on Friday, Dec. 25, in downtown Nashville.

With the city’s focus of quickly identifying businesses, employees of those affected businesses, and residents who lived in the damaged historic downtown structures, members of the VOAD have been identified based on their areas of expertise to assist in moving the recovery efforts downtown forward. This group of local nonprofits has been working closely since the incident to organize and mobilize resources and assistance by individuals and families affected.

Available resources include:

January 1st Food and Essentials Drive-Thru Event for Survivors

• 1 p.m., Community Resource Center, 218 Omohundro Place
The Community Resource Center, in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, will be providing essential kits for survivors that will include food, hygiene products and diapers for those in need. The food boxes and essential kits will be available to pick-up during a “Nashville Strong” drive-thru event on Friday, January 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm at the Community Resource Center, located at 218 Omohundro Place, Nashville, TN 37210.

Lutheran Disaster Response will also be on site for emotional and spiritual care providing purposeful listening to survivors overcoming challenges related to disaster recovery.

Additional Resources Available for Survivors

Nashville Strong Assistance Fund
Catholic Charities will provide assistance to those who live or work in the explosion perimeter area in the historic downtown area, through a specially funded program that will begin Monday, Jan. 4. An online application for assistance will be go live on Friday afternoon, Jan. 1.

The application can be accessed from the following web site: nashvillestrong2021.org. Those who are unable to access the online application can call (615) 352-8591.

hubNashville
For assistance from Metro Nashville Davidson County Government, affected individuals should visit hub.nashville.gov, use the hubNashville 311 app or call 311.

Food Assistance
Individuals in need of emergency food assistance can text ‘FEEDS’ to 797979 or
visit www.secondharvestmidtn.org/get-help to access Second Harvest’s Find Food tool to locate the nearest food distribution, including Emergency Food Box sites in Davidson County. For additional assistance, individuals can call 2-1-1.

• Cash Assistance
A limited supply of gift cards, provided by Salvation Army — Nashville Area Command, will be available for immediate cash assistance for those affected. Individuals can receive more information by texting the word ‘STRONG’ to 484848.

Housing and Immediate Needs
The American Red Cross of Tennessee is providing assistance for those displaced from their home, apartment or townhouse. Those needing assistance should contact the Red Cross at 800-RED-CROSS to help with their immediate needs, which may include food, shelter, clothing, health and mental health services, community referrals and recovery assistance.

• Assistance for Spanish Speakers
Spanish speakers affected can call Conexión Americas at (615) 270-9252 for assistance beginning on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

Resource and Referral Line
Individuals in need of assistance can contact United Way of Greater Nashville’s 24-hour resource and referral line for help by dialing 211 or visiting 211.org. Note: To qualify for financial assistance, survivors will need to provide proof of employment or residency in the direct impacted area.

How Community Members Can Help

Donate

United Way of Greater Nashville is partnering with Mayor John Cooper’s office to accept gifts to its Restore the Dream Fund which will provide long-term disaster recovery support to nonprofits for the survivors. People who wish to donate may visit www.unitedwaygreaternashville.org or text RESTORE20 to 41444.

• The Salvation Army – Nashville Area Command believes “we are stronger together” and is assisting survivors with urgent needs of food, transportation, and healthcare through Kroger Gift Cards, UBER Rides and UBER Eats. Gifts can be made in support of this disaster response at www.salvationarmynashville.org.

• Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville provides a range of services that help clients through crises and toward self-sufficiency. Services include emergency financial assistance, counseling, job training, housing stability, hunger relief, and more. Gifts in support of their disaster relief efforts can be made at www.cctenn.org.

• The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s Nashville Neighbors Fund, established in partnership with WTVF-NewsChannel5, is accepting gifts to provide services to both the immediate and long-term needs of survivors affected by the Christmas Day tragedy.

Community Resource Center of Nashville will be actively engaged with long-term recovery efforts to provide basic essentials, clothing, household goods, and is collecting items to assist with debris removal, clean up and first responder needs.

Volunteer

Hands On Nashville is recruiting volunteers to help with disaster relief and recovery efforts, including cleanup and distribution of essential items to survivors and first responders. Visit hon.org to register as a volunteer or find a disaster-relief project.

###

About the Nashville/Davidson County VOAD

The Nashville/Davidson County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) provides the framework for successful preparation and activation of nonprofits and private companies to provide essential augmentations for local government’s capacity and available resources during a disaster. The VOAD is a purposeful mechanism that scales up during crisis, strengthens area-wide disaster coordination, and enhances preparedness by sharing information and engaging in joint training.

The current VOAD steering committee includes:

  • American Red Cross of Tennessee
  • Catholic Charities of Tennessee
  • Community Resource Center
  • The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
  • Conexión Americas
  • Hands On Nashville
  • The Housing Fund
  • Lutheran Disaster Response
  • Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Nashville Humane Association
  • Salvation Army – Nashville Area Command
  • Neighbor to Neighbor
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee
  • United Methodist Committee on Relief – Tennessee Conference
  • United Way of Greater Nashville
  • Urban League of Middle Tennessee

2020 volunteerism by the numbers

In spite of — and because of — all the challenges of 2020, Nashville volunteers made a strong showing in 2020. The numbers below reflect a community that shows up for its neighbors. We are grateful for you. See you in 2021!  

OVERVIEW 

Volunteers52,000+ 

New hon.org volunteer registrations: 34,000+ 

Projects on the calendar: 6,600+ 

Virtual or remote projects: 440+ 

New long-term or flexibly scheduled projects: 160+ 

Economic value volunteers created for community partners: $2.29 million 

SKILLS-BASED AND LONG-TERM SERVICE 

• HON placed 23 AmeriCorps members at 13 local nonprofits for a yearlong term of service. 

• HON’s GeekCause volunteers completed 24 tech projects, which saved our community partners $169,773

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT 

• The corporate engagement team enlisted 1,265 volunteers who donated 6,100+ hours of their time to support 13 local nonprofits. 

• Several employee teams utilized new at-home and kit-based project models to create 5,000+ care packages for teachers, students, veterans, individuals experiencing homelessness, and seniors. Those at-home projects allowed many to engage their families in their volunteer activities.

DISASTER RESPONSE   

• Individuals who signed up to help with disaster relief: 35,000+ 

• Individuals who volunteered at a disaster-relief project (some many times): 11,200+  

• Disaster-relief projects completed since March: 2,300+ 

Updates on the Second Avenue explosion

Updated 1.8.20 at 12:36 p.m.

Early on Christmas morning, an explosion rocked downtown Nashville, causing massive damage in the area near 2nd Avenue and Commerce Street. First responders and investigators continue to work in the area. We extend our gratitude to them for their hard work in an already exhausting year!

Officials ask that people steer clear of the area if possible so they can continue to investigate what happened.

Volunteer projects related to the blast recovery will be posted at the link below, and we’ll publish information and updates on social media and in our newsletter.

Many local organizations including HON are working with the Metro government to ensure survivors’ needs are met. Click here to read more about those efforts and the resources available.

Thank you for continuing to be #NashvilleStrong.

Other ways to help now

• Make sure your hon.org account is set up to designate you as a disaster volunteer! Click here to learn how to do that for both new and existing hon.org accounts.

• The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has partnered with NewsChannel 5 to establish a fund for survivors and businesses in the area affected by the blast. Click here to donate to the fund.

• The Community Resource Center provides immediate assistance to survivors through food and essential item donations. Click here to donate money or items.

• The Salvation Army – Nashville Area Command is assisting survivors with urgent needs of food, transportation, and healthcare through Kroger Gift Cards, UBER Rides and UBER Eats. Gifts can be made in support of this disaster response at www.salvationarmynashville.org.

• Catholic Charities, Diocese of Nashville provides a range of services that help clients through crises and toward self-sufficiency. Services include emergency financial assistance, counseling, job training, housing stability, hunger relief, and more. Gifts in support of their disaster relief efforts can be made at www.cctenn.org.

Donate to Box55, a nonprofit that support first responders in the field.

• The Tennessean has a thread where they’re posting ways to help, including a list of online fundraisers for businesses destroyed in the explosion.

• Do you have tips or information about the blast? Click here to access the FBI’s tip line.

How to get help now

Nashville Strong Assistance Fund
Catholic Charities will provide assistance to those who live or work in the explosion perimeter area in the historic downtown area, through a specially funded program that will begin Monday, Jan. 4. An online application for assistance will be go live on Friday afternoon, Jan. 1.

The application can be accessed from the following web site: nashvillestrong2021.org. Those who are unable to access the online application can call (615) 352-8591.

hubNashville
For assistance from Metro Nashville Davidson County Government, affected individuals should visit hub.nashville.gov, use the hubNashville 311 app or call 311.

Food Assistance
Individuals in need of emergency food assistance can text ‘FEEDS’ to 797979 or
visit www.secondharvestmidtn.org/get-help to access Second Harvest’s Find Food tool to locate the nearest food distribution, including Emergency Food Box sites in Davidson County. For additional assistance, individuals can call 2-1-1.

• Cash Assistance
A limited supply of gift cards, provided by Salvation Army — Nashville Area Command, will be available for immediate cash assistance for those affected. Individuals can receive more information by texting the word ‘STRONG’ to 484848.

Housing and Immediate Needs
The American Red Cross of Tennessee is providing assistance for those displaced from their home, apartment or townhouse. Those needing assistance should contact the Red Cross at 800-RED-CROSS to help with their immediate needs, which may include food, shelter, clothing, health and mental health services, community referrals and recovery assistance.

• Assistance for Spanish Speakers
Spanish speakers affected can call Conexión Americas at (615) 270-9252 for assistance beginning on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

Resource and Referral Line
Individuals in need of assistance can contact United Way of Greater Nashville’s 24-hour resource and referral line for help by dialing 211 or visiting 211.org. Note: To qualify for financial assistance, survivors will need to provide proof of employment or residency in the direct impacted area.

Housing/work space
Kenect Nashville is offering assistance with living and work space for those affected by the blast. Click here to access their contact page.

Phone service
Some phone service — including 911 — had significant downtime for many in the region. Click here to view a list of alternate emergency numbers for counties in the region.

‘We still have work to do’: Celebrating the volunteer spirit that powered us through 2020

We kicked off 2020 thinking we’d usher in a spring of commemoration. It had been 10 years since the devastating flood of 2010, during which time thousands of volunteers came together in a show of solidarity and spirit.

But hopes for reflection turned into action, this time in response to the March 3 tornado and COVID-19 pandemic. Again, volunteers showed how absolutely critical they are during disaster response and recovery.

We’re excited to share with you a video that celebrates the spirit of the volunteers helping our community get through this challenging time.

Hands On Nashville is in awe of this community. It’s not easy for folks to give to others while they themselves are hurting. But that’s what Nashvillians do. It’s who we are.

We’re working hard to be ready for the next disaster, and we can’t do it without you. Join us by volunteering or donating.

👋 Volunteer: http://hon.org/membership
🎁 Donate: http://hon.org/donate

Thank you for your support!

Thanks to Adelicia Company for the great partnership this year, and the beautiful videos! Additional thanks to everyone who contributed photos and video clips to help us tell this story.

Five ways to make a difference in 2021

What a year it’s been. It’s hard to imagine what life will look like after such a chaotic and challenging 2020. We know one thing for sure: Nashville’s needs aren’t going away just because the calendar flips over to 2021. Volunteers will still be needed. They’re the gift that keeps on giving to the community all year long.  

So, what can you do? 

Here are five easy ways to make a difference in 2021: 

1. Commit to volunteer 3 hours per month 

It’s so easy through hon.org! Sign up to volunteer with more than 200 local organizations. Fly solo or serve as a family or team, find an in-person or virtual project, enjoy an outdoors project, or even select a project where you can utilize your creative or technical skills.   

2. Donate to empower other volunteers 

Independent Sector says volunteer time is valuable: It’s worth $27.20 per hour! That means volunteers who donate three hours of their time each month are essentially donating $81.80 monthly to the organization they help. So maybe your schedule is packed and there’s no time to volunteer. Can you commit to donate $81.80 each month — the equivalent of three hours of volunteering? Any amount helps HON cultivate active volunteers. Click here to set up your sustaining donation now

3. Give while you shop  

Add Hands On Nashville to your Amazon Smile account. It’s totally free and allows your regularly scheduled shopping to benefit the community automatically. 

4. Use your paid volunteer hours if you have them 

Many companies offer paid time off for their employees to volunteer. Don’t let this benefit go to waste! If your company doesn’t already offer paid volunteer time, ask if that’s something they’d be willing to implement in the future! Or maybe even ask your boss if your colleagues could volunteer as a teambuilding exercise. Need ideas on where to go and what to do? That’s why HON is here! 

5. Like, share, and comment on HON’s social media posts

Every time you engage with one of our posts, it increases our reach on social. And when our reach on social grows, we are able to recruit more volunteers and meet more critical needs in the community. Stop doom scrolling and get inspired! Check us out on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

HCA volunteers help plant trees during HCA's Community Days: A Month of Service initiative

Partner Spotlight: Q&A with HCA Healthcare Foundation

HCA Healthcare — the Nashville-based company that owns and operates more than 186 hospitals and 2,000 sites of care in 21 states and the United Kingdom — has a long history of service, including through partnerships with Hands On Nashville. We spoke with the Corporate Community Engagement team about how 2020 has been different for the company’s desire to give back to their communities.

Q: Let’s start with the history: Can you tell me a little bit about the history of the HCA Healthcare Foundation? What made them want to get started helping others?

HCA Healthcare employees volunteer throughout the year for various nonprofits and their missions. [Photo by Ademola Ogunnaike]

A: The mission of the HCA Healthcare Foundation is to promote health and well-being and to strive to make a positive impact in all the communities HCA Healthcare serves. We accomplish this mission by providing to nonprofit organizations support in three areas — leadership, through colleague board service; service, through colleagues volunteering their time and talents; and financial support, through direct grants and by matching colleagues’ charitable contributions. HCA Healthcare is committed to our communities well beyond the efforts of the Foundation. Giving, serving, leading and learning are key components of our approach to helping every colleague engage in a meaningful way with their communities.

An HCA Physicians Group employee assists in planting a tree during HCA’s Community Days: A Month of Service. [Photo by Ademola Ogunnaike]

Q: One of your big initiatives is HCA’s Community Days! Can you tell me a little bit about that?

A: This year, because of COVID-19, HCA Healthcare re-imagined its long-standing tradition of two days of service completed by corporate colleagues as Community Days: A Month of Service. From Oct. 1-31, our Nashville-based colleagues were encouraged to volunteer safely in person or virtually at nonprofit agencies across Middle Tennessee in increments of one hour or more. We partnered with our long-standing nonprofit agencies to bring back favorite projects and relied heavily on Hands On Nashville to help us explore new ways — virtually and in person — our colleagues could volunteer.

Continue reading Partner Spotlight: Q&A with HCA Healthcare Foundation

Boosting volunteerism is easy no matter your budget

Did you know that charitable giving is good for your health? At the end of a difficult year, we could all use that immune system boost. The good news is it’s easier than ever spread the love for your favorite organizations no matter what your budget looks like. Here are three super easy ways you can show support for HON and our mission to meet needs through volunteerism: 

1. Set it (a sustaining donation) and forget it  
Don’t get us wrong — one-time donations are fantastic! But did you know you can set up a monthly, quarterly, or annual donation to HON? Sustaining donations help HON plan our budget for maximum impact. No gift is too small — even a $5 sustaining monthly gift makes a big difference to us. 

2. Start a fundraiser on Facebook or Instagram  
There’s power in numbers! Use this link to set up a fundraiser for HON on Facebook. Or, in Instagram stories, go to the sticker menu and select the “donation” icon. Search for “HONashville.” When you post a story with the HON donation sticker, your followers will be able to donate with just a couple of taps!  

3. Like, share, and comment on HON’s social media posts
Every time you engage with one of our posts, it increases our reach on social. And when our reach on social grows, we are able to recruit more volunteers and meet more critical needs in the community. So YES, Virginia, spending all that time on social media really CAN do some good! Check us out on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

Volunteers will remind groups about safety guidelines

As the holidays kick off and revelers and shoppers are more likely to spend time out and about in groups, the Metro Public Health Department is looking for volunteers to help spread the word about masks and social distancing. Katie Stone from Metro Public Health took time to answer some questions for Hands On Nashville about how a mask and social distancing ambassador spends a volunteer shift.  

HONWhat will a shift as a mask and social distancing ambassador look like for a volunteer?   

Katie: The volunteers will initially meet up as a group with the Health Dept representative and will be given a hat and a yellow “Public Health Volunteer” shirt to clearly identify them.  From there, depending on the number of people available, we will disperse and walk around to ensure visibility. Volunteers will work in groups of 2. 

HONTo what parts of town will volunteers deploy?  

Katie: The current areas are Lower Broadway, Opry Mills Mall, and Green Hills Mall.  However, some of those may change based on need and number of signups. 

HONWhat happens if someone takes offense to the volunteer’s suggestions?   

Katie: The volunteer should simply walk away and let the Health Dept representative know if they have any concerns.  

HONWhy are these volunteer ambassadors important to Metro’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19?  

Katie: As is now widely known, the wearing of masks and maintaining distance from others greatly reduces the spread of COVID-19. However, pandemic fatigue is setting in, and we have found that a visible reminder (by way of people wearing yellow “Public Health Volunteer” shirts and hats) of the need to continue following recommendations is very helpful in encouraging those out in public to wear their masks and remain socially distant. By encouraging people to wear masks and stay socially distanced, volunteers can help stop the spread and keep our city and economy going until COVID-19 is behind us. 

Looking for a way to help this holiday season?

It’s here — our guide to where you can donate items this holiday season to help out many of our partner nonprofits! We’ve rounded up some of their most urgent needs at the link below. From books to gloves to hearing aids, no donation is too small.