Introducing Hands On Nashville’s 2016-2017 AmeriCorps Members!

092816_AmeriCorps-Team-Photo--1.jpgThis Fall, Hands On Nashville welcomed a class of AmeriCorps members to serve in key impact areas. From leading projects that enhance our environment, to harnessing the power of Nashville’s corporate volunteers, each of these individuals will support Hands On Nashville in its mission to meet community needs through volunteerism.

As Breanna, Peter, Anna and Natalie get settled into their terms, we asked them about the meaning of volunteerism, what drives them to serve, and few curve balls for good measure.

092816_AmeriCorps Team-5.jpgBreanna, Corporate Relations AmeriCorps Member

During her term, Breanna will support the development, planning, and implementation of projects that maximize the ability of corporate volunteers to address community needs.

“Connecting individuals to service has been a long-standing passion of mine. There is something powerful about diverse communities coming together in order to create something both positive and sustainable,” Breanna says. “By engaging corporate volunteers, I will be able to help individuals find a tangible way to give back, meet community needs, and hopefully educate volunteers on why the work they are doing is vital—and what they can continue to do to create meaningful change.”

Q: What’s the most important piece of advice any one has ever given you?

A: I shared a cab with a man in India, as I was traveling to the airport. We started talking about the difference between Eastern and Western experiences with love. He said to me, “We should have an abundance of love for ourselves, which then spills out onto other people. If we have this love we are able to love from our hearts, not from insecurity.” This conversation happened during a very transitional time in my life, and his words have stuck.

092816_AmeriCorps Team-8.jpgAnna, Youth and Education AmeriCorps Member

 During her term, Anna will work with Nashville neighborhood stakeholders to identify volunteer engagement opportunities supporting youth and education. Anna will help identify neighborhood needs, create volunteer-focused solutions, and support the project management of those solutions.

“Volunteerism is about coming together with all of our differences and similarities, all of our skills and beliefs to accomplish a goal,” Anna says. “Volunteerism is about deciding that today we won’t let ourselves be separated by the things that make us different, that today we are going to work together to accomplish something good something that takes all of us.

Q: What’s the most important piece of advice any one has ever given you?

A: To show others compassion even when you think they don’t deserve it and to show yourself compassion even when you know you doesn’t deserve it. There isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion and sometimes the hardest person to give compassion to is the one who needs it the most.

092816_AmeriCorps Team-3.jpgNatalie, Environmental AmeriCorps Member

 During her term, Natalie will provide programmatic support to Hands On Nashville’s Home Energy Savings Program by conducting homeowner outreach and education, as well as leading volunteers. She will also manage and lead projects benefiting our environment, including waterway cleanups and invasive species removals.

“Hands On Nashville’s environmental restoration and Home Energy Savings projects combine my passion for environmental work and service to others, and I am so excited to spend a year learning more about the intersection of poverty, housing, and environmentalism,” Natalie says. “I am interested in uniting environmental and humanitarian work to create positive change in my community and planet, and this position gives me an opportunity to truly immerse myself in that world.”

 Q: If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

 A: My ideal superpower would be the ability to become fluent in any language instantaneously. I believe so many world conflicts (especially environmental ones!) could be resolved with a better understanding of people, culture, and perspective. I also love classic literature, and so reading works in their primary form would be a dream.

092816_AmeriCorps Team-6.jpgPeter, Urban Agriculture and Greenhouse AmeriCorps Member

During his term, Peter will lead volunteers and organize projects at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm, as well create engagement opportunities for high school students through a new greenhouse at Glencliff High School.

“I am thrilled about teaching the students at Glencliff all the various aspects in plant science outside the typical classroom environment,” Peter says. “The Urban Farm is an amazing place to use as a teaching tool for individuals of all ages. It’s going to be great to continue the work that has been devoted to the Farm and develop new ideas of my own as well. At the greenhouse I hope to implement a strong, reliable system that will engage and attract students to the program. I want to utilize the space and potential volunteer opportunities out at the Urban Farm. There are a variety of teachable moments that would be beneficial for individuals interested in gardening and general upkeep at the farm.”

Q: What’s your favorite hobby and why?

A: Screen Printing on t-shirts and canvas – I appreciate the chemistry and all the considerations that are involved when choosing the types of ink with the material to be printed on.

Keep up with all of their great accomplishments via Hands On Nashville’s Facebook and Twitter.

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