Congratulations to these three finalists in the Direct Service—Youth category of the 35th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Vote for your favorite story of service until June 15 at the button below!
Volunteers through various organizations around Nashville
In a year of uncertainty and destruction, high schooler Hannah Bodoh spent 2020 looking for ways to be a light to others. When the March 2020 tornado hit Nashville, she immediately jumped at the chance to volunteer with Hands On Nashville, helping to deliver meals to families who had been displaced in North Nashville and assisting with cleanup efforts. Then when COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect, Hannah spent her time sewing masks, making baby blankets, sending cards and photos to health care workers and the elderly, and collecting clothing and art supplies to distribute to those who needed them most.
Around the holidays, she stepped up to make and deliver meals to the homeless. When transit shut down due to the Christmas Day bombing, Hannah made sure at-risk Nashvillians received hot meals since they could not get to the shelters.
Throughout the school year, she volunteered for several events to help raise money for Mary’s Meals, an international organization that feeds the hungry.
“For me, service has ignited a deep compassion for others and allowed me to share my skills, while meeting new people in a wide range of situations,” Hannah says. “Without service, I would never know the kindness the world can offer each one of us. To this day, service continues to remind me to love humanity for all of its beauty.”
Hannah has demonstrated an incredibly level of humility and compassion for her age. She makes service a top priority in her schedule, and her efforts have helped countless Nashvillians while inspiring others to step up and make a difference.
Founder of Jumbled Dreams Changing Lives
When she was just 13 years old, Sydnee Floyd founded the nonprofit Jumbled Dreams Changing Lives. In 2020 alone, her nonprofit helped 20 different organizations and several thousand individuals through a number of donations, including clothing, toiletry bags, sanitary wipes, first aid kits, backpacks and more.
Through Jumbled Dreams Changing Lives, Sydnee identifies various volunteer opportunities and then recruits young people, educating them on how they can change lives through volunteer service in the hope they will continue service throughout their lives. She also organized a club, Echoes of Hope, at her high school to get even more students involved in charitable causes.
2020 was a challenging year for the Middle Tennessee community. COVID-19 caused a shortage of support since people weren’t venturing outside of their homes and many businesses helping the homeless were temporarily closed. On top of that, many people lost their jobs, adding to the number of those in need or facing homelessness. Still, in the face of all of that, Sydnee’s organization gathered 100 students and volunteers to provide the needed manpower to gather, sort and pack items to distribute. When the March tornado hit, Jumbled Dreams sprang into action, distributing supplies and materials for victims and volunteers.
Sydnee says she grew up in service, inspired by her mom, and has always looked for ways to help her community.
“Service is my whole world. My passion, fire, fuel and heart. I thrive on helping others, and no matter what that will always be my passion. Because I have seen the smiles, tears, heart and passion of those who are experiencing hard times and those who volunteer with us. It might be hard, but it is worth it seeing the heart and soul of your organization come to life.”
Volunteers with Urban Bicycle Food Ministry
High school student Ian Hooper became involved with the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry (UBFM) when he was looking to try something new while serving. Since May 2020, he’s logged more than 130 hours of service, biked hundreds of miles and touched countless lives.
Regardless of the weather – heat, cold, rain or snow – the UBFM team bikes into downtown Nashville twice a week to deliver burritos, water, supplies and words of encouragement to those experiencing homelessness. Ian has developed a true passion for UBFM and the ministry they have created. The two nights a week he volunteers have become his favorite nights of the week, and he’s developed relationships not only with the team, but with the people they serve each week.
When Ian injured his leg and had to wear a boot, he did not let that stop him from serving. He continued to drive downtown and meet the team each week, standing by to help deliver blankets and other supplies that could not be easily carried on a bike. On his birthday, he chose to ride and deliver food and cookies to celebrate, instead of going to dinner.
While those who are served each week benefit, the benefit Ian and the rest of the UBFM team receive in return is just as impactful.
Ian says the UBFM organization has saved him from a lot of personal struggles.
“UBFM and the opportunity to serve has made a mark on Ian and fueled his passion to serve others,” said Ian’s mom, Laura.
To see a full list of the nominees for the 35th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, click here.