Behind the scenes at Hands On Nashville

Guest post by Deven Bhatia –

Sponsored by the Cal Turner Family Foundation, the Turner Fellowship Program at Franklin Road Academy offers students an opportunity to serve in partnership with nonprofit organizations within the Nashville community. Deven Bhatia spent six weeks at Hands On Nashville this summer developing the school internship training curriculum, leading summer service projects, and planning Fall Break opportunities with HON’s youth program manager. A senior at FRA this year, Deven loves to play all kinds of sports including Ultimate Frisbee, spikeball, and basketball; read; listen to music; and plans to major in pre-medicine in college.  

Deven volunteering at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm – go, Deven!

It just got to me. This may be the last time I reflect on my indescribably awesome time at Hands On Nashville. Time definitely flies when you’re having fun. I don’t even know where to start. I guess a good place is to describe my last week with HON. This past week has still been busy for me as I have helped Colleen plan the Hands On Fall Break week. (Which is taking place this week through October 13, and volunteer slots are still available! To learn more and sign up, click here. Check out this video of youth volunteers’ work at a wheelchair ramp build project today.)

It was really fascinating to see exactly how volunteer events like this are created in the first  place. I am usually terrible at making business calls on the phone, but working on this project helped me as I had to talk with several different people from several different organizations. It was a great week until Wednesday, my last day in the office. It felt weird clearing out my cubicle because I honestly felt like I had just gotten there. The whole Hands On Nashville staff was so fun to work with. They brought me popsicles on my last day. The entire staff was so optimistic and truly made me feel like a part of their family.

I still can’t believe the Turner Fellowship is over for me. These past six weeks have blown by me. However, I can definitely attest to two things. 1. I enjoyed every second of my experience at Hands On Nashville. 2. I think I’ve changed after this experience. I’ve changed into a young man who has a greater appreciation for the nonprofit field. Before this fellowship, I had no idea what occurred behind each and every volunteer opportunity, but now that I do, I have much greater respect for the employees who work at HON. Now I know for sure that I want to make nonprofit work a huge role in my life. I could see the vibrancy and the energy for helping people and creating a cleaner, more sustainable Nashville at both the office and the Urban Farm. When I told people that I was a summer intern at Hands On Nashville, they asked me what the nonprofit was and what it did. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next five years, everyone in the greater Nashville area knows who Hands On Nashville is and what Hands On Nashville stands for. If I move back to Nashville, I can definitely see myself volunteering at numerous Hands On Nashville events and introducing this organization to my family as well. I cannot thank the Hands On Nashville family enough for taking me in and making me feel like one of them. I wish them all the best of luck in their endeavors both in their occupations and their worldly enjoyments. Big shout-out to Colleen for keeping me on as an intern throughout the year, and dealing with my hectic schedule with workouts while still doing phenomenal work in the youth department.

I’ve now been sitting here for the last fifteen minutes thinking of an awesome last sentence to my blog, but unfortunately I’m kind of unsuccessful. Thank you to all my readers for putting up with my attempts to be humorous. I wish all of you the best and maybe who knows? You may see me writing another blog someday. Stay tuned and if you enjoyed this let me know:

(For the last time now…I think my computer is about to shut down because of all the tears it has absorbed.)

Dream Big,

Deven Bhatia

Long Live Life.

(The Hands On Nashville staff would like to thank Deven for his amazing work this summer, and wish him luck on all his future adventures!)

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