Congratulations to these three finalists in the Direct Service—Youth category of the 37th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Vote for your favorite story of service until April 15 using the button below!
Volunteers with STRIVE4You
Harlan Ray is an asset to STRIVE4You who has transformed the organization into what it is today and dedicated more than 300 hours of service there in the past year alone. No job is too small: He dedicates between three and six hours of their week to administrative tasks for the organization and taking on any other job they are asked to do. This included planning and carrying out STRIVE4You’s biggest event of the year, handling everything from preparing food to keeping scores during a Regional Tournament, without any breaks. This task alone was a lot of pressure — USABA Goalball referees indicated that if it weren’t for Harlan running the clocks, they would have been unable to referee the game, However, Harlan went above and beyond without complaints.
“As a sighted volunteer working alongside blind and low-vision individuals, Harlan has such a big heart. He has never made it a big deal that he works on so many tasks, he never asks for anything. He never looks at any of those he works with and assists differently,” says Harlan’s nominator.
Before serving STRIVE4You, Harlan volunteered with the Tennessee Association of Behavioral Analysis (TNABA) for almost five years. Harlan is a proven workhorse: No matter what task heis presented with, he runs with it, never expecting thanks or acknowledgment in return.
Volunteers with Beautiful Spirited Women
Asia Bigsbee has an incredible record of community service and volunteer work. She currently volunteers with Beautiful Spirited Women, an organization that focuses on teaching leadership and general life skills that will help provide guidance to youth to become positive-minded citizens in their schools and their communities. She has packed 345 bags for girls, packed 100 warm kits for The Salvation Army, packed over 750 senior food boxes, and much more. She gives back to her community members and school tirelessly.
Asia also founded the Cupcake Mentoring Program, which teaches children ages 4–11 leadership and life skills in a positive and productive environment. She is always willing to serve and truly enjoys it. She was born with a servant heart and is incredibly important to the organization’s success.
Asia’s nominator says, “She will one day be a true mentor and positive Black female figure for other young people to look up to.”
Volunteers with Nashville Diaper Connection
Mary Meacham, a local high school senior, has dedicated more than 190 hours of her time to the Nashville Diaper Connection, also known as “NashDiaper.” This organization is Nashville’s one and only diaper bank, providing free diapers for those in need. Mary started volunteering for NashDiaper in 2021 as a sophomore and has since become an essential part of the team.
Mary has wrapped over 243,800 diapers, translated for those who speak Spanish, assisted with social media and data entry, led volunteer groups, and much more. Not only does Mary volunteer at NashDiaper, but she also volunteers for Study Buddies for Equity and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She has helped to recruit over 270 volunteers for NashDiaper, who have contributed a total of 544 service hours – and made an immeasurable impact in the community. Mary is always available to help where she is needed.
Of her work, Mary says, “Working with NashDiaper, I felt as though I had stumbled upon work that both lights me up and interests me to learn more.”
To see a full list of the nominees for the 37th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, click here.