Hands On Nashville Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Service Projects Benefiting 25 Schools.

Nearly 1,500 volunteers serve and celebrate on Hands On Nashville Day.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, nearly 1,500 volunteers lent their helping hands to local classrooms during Hands On Nashville Day, a community-service celebration supporting 25 Metro Nashville Public Schools. Continue reading Hands On Nashville Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Service Projects Benefiting 25 Schools.

Hands On Nashville Day Volunteer Spotlight: Stephanie Jensen

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Hands On Nashville Day 2016 is made possible in part by generous supporters like Dell and their volunteers, like Stephanie Jensen. Stephanie plays a leading role in connecting its Nashville team to service opportunities. Continue reading Hands On Nashville Day Volunteer Spotlight: Stephanie Jensen

Marines Volunteer to Support Nashvillians during Marine Week!

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As part of Marine Week, hosted by the United States Marine Corps,  Hands On Nashville had the honor of engaging two groups of service men and women in meaningful community-focused projects.

Home Energy Savings Project 

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Marine Week is designed to be a celebration of Community, Country and Corps – providing the American public the experience of directly connecting with hundreds of Marines. And for one Nashville homeowner, this direct connection occurred in a very real way.

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On Sept. 8, a group of 12 Marines arrived at Ms.Galloway’s home, ready with a mission to make her home more energy efficient. After three hours of hard work, the results were transformational.

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The group first helped move old family memories from attic , which had zero insulation prior to the project. After a team effort, volunteers sprayed 15 inches of insulation throughout the attic, which will make a significant impact on keeping the home comfortable.
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The group also air-sealed windows, doors, and underneath sinks and cabinets. They added toilet tank banks, installed new light bulbs and smoke detectors, and even helped patch dry wall where air was escaping.

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When the project was complete, the effort made a 21% percent improvement in the amount of air that was leaking from her home. On average, Home Energy Savings Projects save homeowners nearly $400 a year on their utility bills.

Hands On Nashville Urban Farm 

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On Saturday, Sept. 10, members of the US Marine Corps devoted much needed support at Hands On Nashville Urban Farm.

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During their four hours of volunteerism, the Marines prepared the Urban Farm for fall vegetable planting. From mowing around orchards, to adding compost and soil to three garden field rows, to removing weeds and grasses in prepped garden rows, the Marines made tremendous headway in getting the Farm in shape for the colder months ahead.
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Our most sincere thanks to each member of the Marine Corps who volunteered their time in support of Nashvillians during Marine Week. Your service to others is an inspiration.

To learn more about how you can get involved with the Home Energy Savings Program and Urban Farm, please visit HON.org.

 

Team Registration: Hands On Nashville Day 2016

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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

Summer Camp Week 3 Addresses Hunger & Homelessness

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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!

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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.

071416_Health & Wellness WM-5Open 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.

071416_Health & Wellness WM-3Old 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!

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.

Kids Ride! Volunteers Connect Bikes with 200+ Nashville Youth.

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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.

View more photos from this event.

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.073016_ReCYCLE Giveaway_WM-9

“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.”

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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.”

073016_ReCYCLE Giveaway_WM-8Community 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.

073016_ReCYCLE Giveaway_WM-17.jpg“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.”

073016_ReCYCLE Giveaway_WM-1Many 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.

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2016 Summer Camp Recap: Health & Wellness!

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.

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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!

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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.

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Pickles, anyone?

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.

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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!

Looking to get involved? Sign up for a volunteer project at HON.org.

Edgehill Bike Club Supports ReCYCLE for Kids!

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The Edgehill Bike Club donated 40+ youth bicycles to support Hands On Nashville’s 2016 ReCYCLE for Kids!

What’s better than full circle community partnership?

This June, the Edgehill Bike Club has donated more than 40 bikes to support Hands On Nashville’s 2016 ReCYCLE for Kids effort, presented by Jackson!

“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!”

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Terry Key (far left) and his team at the Edgehill Bike Club.

Thank you, Edgehill Bike Club, for your support to pedal RECYCLE for Kids forward this year!

To learn more about how you can volunteer with ReCYCLE for Kids, visit HON.org/recyclebikes.

2016 Sarah Cannon Days of Service Recap

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.

Projects included:

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.