Hundreds of Volunteers Help Community Gardens Prep for Spring

Hands On Nashville, Starbucks Engage Youth Leaders and Volunteers in Global Youth Service Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – From Bordeaux to Whites Creek, 350 volunteers fanned out across Nashville today to help 12 different community gardens prepare for spring planting. (View photos of the day here.)

Nashville’s annual observance of Global Youth Service Day and Starbucks Global Month of Service was spearheaded by Hands On Nashville in collaboration with Starbucks. Today’s effort is one of 2,000 projects taking place around the world throughout the month of April as part of Starbucks Global Month of Service, and one of 1,400 projects taking place this weekend as part of Global Youth Service Day.

3175131727_global youth service day-107Youth volunteers ages 15 to 18 teamed up with Starbucks partners (employees) to provide all project leadership throughout the day. In preparation for the service event, each youth leader went through a special leadership training facilitated by local Starbucks management and Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corps.

“I am proud of the partnership between Hands On Nashville and Starbucks to empower the next generation of leaders and community servants,” said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. “Today’s youth-led volunteer effort to support Nashville’s community gardens demonstrates that young people have the energy and ideas needed to address community challenges.”

3175140647_global youth service day-121The 12 community garden sites ranged from those facilitated by nonprofits and schools to gardens organized by passionate neighborhood groups. All of the gardens play an important role in serving communities with limited access to fresh and healthy food. They also create learning and community-building opportunities for youth and adults.

A junior at Harpeth Hall, Laurel Cunningham served as one of the youth leaders in today’s effort, and is an ongoing youth leader with Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corps.

“Global Youth Service Day is an amazing day of service because you can see the impact you’ve made on a local level, but feel this international connection because youth all around the world are participating in service, too,” said Cunningham. “Getting the chance to lead a project today with a Starbucks partner, and knowing that our work will help these gardens feed those in need and teach youth about where our food comes from, I feel like I’ve made a real difference.”global youth service day-111

This program is part of Starbucks larger commitment to developing young people into extraordinary leaders. Through Hands On Nashville’s year-round work with Starbucks, youth are empowered to leverage opportunities with integrity and innovation; make good decisions and achieve results; value the impact an individual and enterprise can have on the community; engage others in an inclusive manner across teams, functions and cultures; and leverage new and creative ways of communication.

3175148626_global youth service day-132“At Starbucks, we look for innovative ways to help communities thrive,” said June Nwabara, regional director of operations for Starbucks Coffee Company. “We believe youth are important contributors to this success. By working with Hands On Nashville, young people engage, lead and create positive solutions that better our neighborhoods.”

“Starbucks commitment to Hands On Nashville’s youth programming and many other service efforts throughout the year makes so much possible for our community,” said Brian Williams, president and CEO of Hands On Nashville. “We appreciate all of the Starbucks partners, customers and young people who participated in today’s effort to support the important work of Nashville’s community gardens and to celebrate our city’s youth leaders.”

About Global Youth Service Day

Global Youth Service Day is an annual campaign that celebrates and mobilizes the millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service and service-learning. Established in 1988, Global Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world, and the only day of service dedicated to children and youth. GYSD is celebrated each year in more than 100 countries. For more information, visit

About Hands On Nashville

Hands On Nashville’s mission is to meet community needs through volunteerism. For more than 20 years, Hands On Nashville (HON) volunteers have been addressing critical issues facing the Middle Tennessee community such as hunger, homelessness and environmental protection. In 2013, HON connected or referred more than 123,000 volunteers to service opportunities, making it one of the largest volunteer resource centers of its kind in the world. Offering more than 300 volunteer opportunities to the community each month at, Hands On Nashville challenges everyone to find a way to give back and to … Be the Change. Volunteer. For more information, visit or call (615) 298-1108.

Media Contacts:
Becca Wilson, Hands On Nashville, (615) 426-1428,
Alisha Damodaran, Starbucks, (206) 318-7100,
Eric Tieles, McNeely Pigott & Fox, (615) 259-4000,



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