Resolve to Serve Stories: SCORE 

A teacher stands in front of you; a coach stands behind you; a mentor stands beside you. 

Mentorship, and the above interpretation, was on Nick Taras’ mind as he prepared to retire. His more-than-40-year career in food distribution took him from cleaning floors at his grandfather’s business to running Nashville’s SYSCO branch. As he moved toward his next chapter, he sought to align his passion for food service with giving back to the community. 

Teaming up with SCORE, which pairs business mentors with entrepreneurs and small businesses, Nick began “walking beside” his mentees on their journeys to business success. He watches their awareness and understanding develop while working collaboratively to move toward their goals.  

“Certain mentees stand out to me for different reasons,” said Nick. “Not because they built monster companies, but because they built their awareness, understood the process and connected with customers. I’ve worked with immigrants launching businesses while speaking English as a second language, individuals trying to reinvent themselves with second or third careers, mentees who saved headaches and money by realizing a new business idea wasn’t the right fit, co-mentor partnerships – each opportunity has been unique.” 

“Nick has a natural way of relating to clients at all levels and helping them reach pragmatic business decisions,” said Lisa O’Dell, a senior Nashville SCORE mentor. “His can-do and upbeat attitude engages clients and helps keep them positive, even when working through the most difficult issues.” 

Navigating the transition to retirement can be daunting. Volunteering can serve as an ideal bridge, allowing individuals to use and build professional skills while enjoying a flexible schedule and the satisfaction of helping others.  

“Since I’ve gotten into the retirement world, it’s amazing how many of my friends who are thinking about retirement want to engage in conversation about it,” said Nick. “I was fortunate to have people in my life who provided examples I could learn from. This made for a great transition – after planning my exit strategy for two years, I had options ready to go.” 

For those considering the transition to retirement, long-term volunteering opportunities can help individuals find their passion in service. By leveraging professional experience or building new skills while serving the community, volunteers build unmatched capacity for community organizations.  

SCORE fosters vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. The Nashville chapter serves the 30 counties that comprise Middle Tennessee, providing workshops and one-on-one mentoring.  

Browse all long-term and skilled volunteer opportunities with HON partners. 


Middle Tennesseeans honored as 2018 Strobel Volunteer Award finalists

Congratulations to the finalists for the 2018 Strobel Volunteer Awards! Those recognized, and the community organizations with which they serve, are noted below.

Capacity-building Volunteer

Honors individuals who provide significant operational or administrative support to a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry or community organization, or developed an innovative approach to significantly improve an existing program.

  • Cheri Ferrari, The Nashville Food Project
  • Joey Hatch, YWCA Nashville
  • John O’Shea, Room In The Inn

Civic Volunteer Group

Recognizes representatives of civic, membership, faith-based or non-corporate groups that volunteer together for a specific cause or issue. 

  • Delta Signma Theta Alumnae, MNPS Scholarship Support
  • NHA: Silver Socializers, Nashville Humane Society
  • Operation Song, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System

Corporate Volunteerism

Pays tribute to businesses that have robust employee volunteer programs with high levels of participation and impact. 

  • Media Star Promotions, The Nashville Food Project
  • Deloitte, PENCIL
  • Steve Ward and Associates, Preston Taylor Ministries

Direct Service Volunteer (ages five to 20)

Recognizes individuals who have contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources to help an agency’s constituents.

  • Leanna Edwards, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
  • Allison Heard, Saddle Up!
  • Sam Strang, Pro-bono Music and Entertainment for Various Nonprofits

Direct Service Volunteer (ages 21 to 49)

  • Paige Cruse, Alive Hospice
  • Sean Druffel, Habitat for Humanity
  • Jill Heyman, Oasis Center

Direct Service Volunteer (ages 50 plus)

  • Janie Busbee, Mother to Mother, Inc.
  • Dr. Catherine Thornburg, Siloam Health
  • Anthony J. Viglietti, Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival/Friends of Riverside Drive

Reserve your seat for the Strobel Volunteer Awards ceremony on April 25!

Resolve to Serve Stories: Nashville Clean Water Project

Walk around nearly any Nashville neighborhood, and you’ll see how the area earned its “It City” nickname. New construction and increased traffic are daily symptoms of a growing population. Unfortunately, increasing pollution levels in Middle Tennessee waterways are also a result.

Enter the Nashville Clean Water Project (NCWP). In 2017, the organization launched the Adopt-A-Storm-Drain Program, which includes an online database that maps the city’s thousands of storm drains. Individuals, local businesses, housing associations and any other Nashvillians can adopt location-specific storm drains. By committing to checking drains for debris, litter, construction site runoff and pollution, adopters help clean water flow into local lakes, rivers and streams while improving the region’s environmental health.

“The importance of the project inspired me,” said Jana DeLuna, a volunteer who adopted more than 30 storm drains in her Donelson neighborhood. “We all want clean water to use in our homes and offices – and every citizen can play a role in environmental preservation. It is super easy to take a walk with a trash bag and clean while I walk. The drains are in a short distance of my home, and I check them in the mornings on my day off.”


Mark Thein, executive director of NCWP, shared that one of the program’s top intentions is to help spread awareness about water quality and environmental health. “Our goal has been to reach new advocates,” said Thien. “99 percent of adopters were not previously engaged in Nashville’s clean water cause.”

For example, in two neighborhoods, housing associations (HOAs) stepped up to adopt 100 percent of local storm drains. Drain adoptions give HOAs and employers a quick way to engage in social responsibility without committing an unsustainable amount of time.

NCWP volunteers are advancing the way environmental fieldwork takes place. By adopting a storm drain near your home or place of work, spreading the word with friends and neighbors, or encouraging your neighborhood or housing association to get involved, it’s easy to help build a cleaner, greener future in Middle Tennessee.

The Nashville Clean Water Project provides residents and corporations across Middle Tennessee a platform to demonstrate environmental dedication and service commitments. To continue the conversation or set up a meeting with an HOA or community organization, reach out to the NCWP today

Hands On Nashville announces the 2018 Strobel Volunteer Award nominees

Congratulations to the incredible volunteers nominated for the 2018 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Categories and nominees are listed below.

Save the date for the award ceremony: Join Hands On Nashville on Wednesday, April 25 to celebrate volunteerism in our community.

Capacity-building Volunteer

Honors individuals who provide significant operational or administrative support to a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry or community organization, or developed an innovative approach to significantly improve an existing program.

  • Anna-Vija McClain
  • Carroll Kimball
  • Cheri Ferrari
  • Don Cornwell
  • Eddie Pearson
  • Gerald Davis
  • Heather Hicks
  • Helen Miles
  • Jane Baxter
  • Janet Kuhn
  • Jeff Parrish
  • Jen Robinson
  • Joe Christopher
  • Joey Hatch
  • John O’Shea
  • Kay Kretsch
  • Laneisha Coburn
  • Laura Beth Hyman
  • Laura Da Fonte
  • Leigh and Bear Barnes
  • Michael Gray
  • Mona Binda
  • Phil Holt
  • Rachel Petty
  • Robbie Williams
  • Robin Puryear
  • Samantha Perez
  • Terry Demars
  • Trish Sanders

Corporate Volunteerism

Pays tribute to businesses that have robust employee volunteer programs with high levels of participation and impact. 

  • Asurion
  • Bank Director
  • Bridgestone Americas
  • Cigna
  • Dell Nashville
  • Deloitte
  • Ingram Marine Group
  • Jackson National Life Insurance Company
  • LifePoint Health
  • Mars Petcare
  • Media Star Promotions
  • Nashville Predators
  • Nissan North America
  • Geodis
  • Publix Super Markets
  • Steve Ward and Associates
  • Two Men and a Truck
  • United Parcel Service (UPS)

Civic Volunteer Group

Recognizes representatives of civic, membership, faith-based or non-corporate groups that volunteer together for a specific cause or issue. 

  • Beta Upsilon Chi
  • Cooper Trooper Foundation
  • Covenant Baptist Church Women
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Nashville Alumnae Chapter
  • Education Equal Opportunity Group
  • First Baptist Church Goodlettsville, Women’s Ministry
  • Greater Nashville Realtors
  • Junior League of Nashville
  • Murfreesboro Young Professionals
  • Music City Community Court
  • NHA Silver Socializers
  • Operation Song
  • Perenity
  • Royal Hills Neighborhood Organization
  • The Oak Hill School
  • Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Nashville Capitol City Chapter

Direct Service Volunteer (ages five to 20)

Recognizes individuals who have contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources to help an agency’s constituents.

  • Allison Heard
  • Caroline Kreh
  • Carter Hyde
  • Gitanjali Rao
  • Gracie Stambaugh
  • Leanna Edwards
  • Margot May
  • Melina Nguyen
  • Nora Ryan
  • Sam Strang
  • Sidney Starling
  • Vince Dick

Direct Service Volunteer (ages 21 to 49)

  • Andy Morris
  • Arville Knight
  • Brittany Taussig
  • Casey Enright
  • Charlotte Avant
  • Jennifer Radcliffe
  • Jill Heyman
  • Josiah Holland
  • Julie Hornsby
  • Lesley Patterson-Marx
  • Paige Cruse
  • Robyn Saunders
  • Sean Druffel
  • Talisha Robertson
  • Tim Slate
  • Victoria Driver

Direct Service Volunteer (ages 50 plus)

  • Amelia Workman
  • Andy Womack
  • Anthony J. Viglietti
  • Bette Christofersen
  • Bill and Mary Jean Murphy
  • Brenda Hix
  • Carolyn Nash
  • Catherine Thornburg
  • Charlotte Swor
  • Don Cornwell
  • Donice Kaufman-Stewart
  • Ed Batsel
  • Geri Franske
  • Gordon Dunaway
  • Harold Pinney
  • James Hogge
  • Janie Busbee
  • Janie Luna
  • Jean Styron
  • Jen Robinson
  • Joyce Page
  • Karen Catron
  • Kathy Shaw
  • Kenneth Watford
  • Larry Christian
  • Lela Hollabaugh
  • Marilyn Bagford
  • Mary Beth Pacsi
  • Mary Buckner
  • Nancy Mally
  • Pam Cavala
  • Pat McDougal
  • Patricia Wright
  • Saralu Lunn
  • Warren White

Resolve to Serve Stories: Nashville Adult Literacy Council

Every day, Hands On Nashville’s community partners and volunteer community build stronger communities through service. HON celebrates these partners through Resolve to Serve Stories. We’re inspired by their work, their missions and their dedication – and invite you to get involved.

Imagine not being able to read. Imagine not being able to speak or understand the English language. Imagine not being able to fill out a job application or communicate with your doctor. Imagine never having a chance for a better job or job promotion. Imagine not being able to help your chil

dren with their homework or not being able to attend a parent-teacher conference. Imagine having to rely on someone to pay your bills for you because you can’t read them. Imagine the feeling of your children asking for a bedtime story, and you are unable to read to them.

Imagine yourself changing someone’s life.

Last year, the Nashville Adult Literacy Council (NALC) worked with hundreds of volunteers to help nearly 1,700 adults learn reading, writing, conversational skills and information about U.S. citizenship. Most of the agency’s volunteers do not come from a professional teaching background. Through NALC’s training, individuals become one-on-one tutors who help adults in Nashville become successful, thriving parts of the community.

Julie Kramer photo.jpg

Julie Kramer, ELL Specialist at NALC, manages the one-on-one tutoring program for adult immigrants. She draws from her own personal experience as an example of what volunteering for NALC means.

“I worked in the corporate travel industry for 30 years, but wanted to find a meaningful volunteer opportunity that would directly benefit someone,” says Julie. “I never thought of myself as a teacher and never thought I’d be teaching anybody anything, but I decided to get outside of my comfort zone to help someone in the Nashville community. I was pretty unsure of myself in the beginning.”

Julie’s first student was a biology teacher from Egypt, who was working in hotel housekeeping at the time. As the student gained proficiency with his English skills, he became more confident and landed a job in a biology lab. Though Julie met with her student in Antioch, Julie lived in Bellevue and worked near Nashville International Airport.

One in eight Nashville adults is functionally illiterate, and 12 percent of Nashville’s population was born outside of the United States. With more than 100 people on NALC’s waiting list, the need for one-on-one tutors is great, especially in the Antioch and south Nashville areas of the city.

Julie says, “I felt like this was the most rewarding volunteer experience I had ever had, so much so that I decided to change careers to work with adult immigrants who were learning English. I knew I had found my calling right away.” Now, she manages the program.

It wasn’t just Julie’s calling. The entire Nashville Adult Literacy Council staff began their work as volunteer tutors, many after careers in completely different fields.

Consider stepping outside of your neighborhood and meeting someone you would never come in contact with in your everyday life. NALC has trained accountants, IT professionals, college students, FBI investigators, doctors, project managers, waiters, scientists, homemakers, and healthcare workers to help adults learn to read and improve English skills.

Over and over, volunteers state they get more out of the experience than the learners. Participants enjoy the experience while making a huge difference in someone’s life.

The Nashville Adult Literacy Council is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to teaching reading to U.S.-born adults and English skills to adult immigrants. The agency’s vision is for all to learn and for all to help build a community of adults empowered through literacy. Browse all volunteer opportunities with NALC and visit the agency’s website for upcoming volunteer training dates.

Resolve to Serve Stories: Preston Taylor Ministries

Every day, Hands On Nashville’s community partners and volunteer community build stronger communities through service. HON celebrates these partners through Resolve to Serve Stories. We’re inspired by their work, their missions and their dedication – and invite you to get involved.

The night before Preston Taylor Ministries’ annual Nativity Store, staff members were putting in late hours to set up the space. Maggie Tucker, owner of the local children’s boutique Magpies, stopped by to drop off donations.

“She walked in and she could tell what was going on,” said Bethany Jones, Site Director Mt. Nebo and Volunteer Coordinator at Preston Taylor Ministries (PTM). “She took off her coat and asked: ‘What can I do?’”

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

At its core, Preston Taylor Ministries focuses on building relationships. Through tutoring, mentoring and events, the agency helps empower children and youth. For example, PTM’s Nativity Store serves more than 300 children per year. Parents are invited to shop from donations of clothes, toys and games, while children play with games and crafts in the space. Volunteers help engage children, maintain the store and wrap gifts.

The day before the Nativity Store, PTM hosted a separate holiday shopping event and gift-wrapping party for 90 youth. Magpies served as a 2017 event sponsor, and Tucker arrived as staff worked to transition the space. “She stayed for several hours to help set up,” said Jones. “She had great ideas and was encouraging to be around. What more could you want, when you have several people inexperienced in retail, and someone who owns a retail store walks in?”

Following her involvement with the Nativity Store, Maggie Tucker became a long-term volunteer with PTM’s Lunchmate Mentoring program. As Jones shared, PTM offers volunteer opportunities to fit any schedule, but mentors tend to stay involved with the agency for longer periods of time.

“We have a lot of volunteers who might, for example, know how to play chess, and begin leading a chess club at our after-school program,” said Jones. “Through the Lunchmate program, we’ve had kids who begin in the second grade, then graduate to our middle school and high school programs, and remain in touch with their mentors.”

Whether she’s working on the Nativity Store or showing up each week as a Lunchmate Mentor, volunteers like Maggie help PTM fulfill its mission in the community. Thank you, PTM staff and volunteers, for all you do!

Preston Taylor Ministries (PTM) empowers children and youth to discover and live their God-inspired dreams, develop a love for learning, and build joy-filled friendships. Browse all opportunities to volunteer with PTM.

Building Houses; Building Communities: Why the Jones Company Commits to Giving Back

There’s a world of difference between a string of homes and a community. The Jones Company sees that line each day. Founded in 1927, the home-building organization has a 90-year history of watching neighborhoods grow and change.

Bob Jones, the company’s founder, had a dedication to philanthropy that lives on in the organization today. By prioritizing energy efficiency in new homes and actively volunteering with local nonprofits, the Jones Company works to build stronger communities, in addition to new homes.

2017 was the Jones Company’s 90th year in business. To celebrate, employees participated in volunteer projects throughout the year. Serving with Second Harvest Food Bank, Operation Stand Down Tennessee, Safe Haven Family Shelter and Hands On Nashville’s Home Energy Savings (HES) program, Jones Company volunteers from every department – from sales to purchasing, accounting to construction – worked to meet needs related to housing and well being for residents in the community we all share.

“We wouldn’t have been in business this long without an attitude of thankfulness – for our customers, our business and our neighbors. Giving back is part of that,” said Bridget Thompson, director of marketing at The Jones Company. “It’s amazing what a group of volunteers can accomplish when they share their talents and resources.”

Photo Jul 19, 9 32 06 AM.jpg

HES projects are a natural fit for The Jones Company, as HON’s work to cut utility costs for neighbors living on low incomes mirrors the Jones Company’s initiative to employ energy conservation in all new homes. Such efforts are also a priority for Jones Company customers. “Affordable housing doesn’t just mean getting into a house and making a monthly payment – it’s also the upkeep,” said Thompson.

For Jones Company employees, volunteering as a group also offers the chance to step out of daily roles and take a break. During one Second Harvest project, Jones teammates got a kick out of seeing their colleagues, construction workers nearly always wearing work clothes, wearing hairnets, shelling peas and having fun.

Photo Jul 13, 8 48 04 AM.jpg

In today’s business world, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become less of an option and more of a requirement. According to Deloitte, 70 percent of millennials are influenced by a company’s CSR practices when considering taking a job. For Jones Company, however, building community simply comes with the territory.

Thank you, Jones Company, for spending your 90th year in service!

Learn how to increase your team’s corporate social responsibility.

Excellence in Volunteer Engagement awarded to 7 Nashville nonprofits

Nashville, Tenn. – October 24, 2017 – Dismas House of NashvilleFannie Battle Day Home for Children, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, Inc., Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee, Nashville Humane Association, Nashville Wine Auction and Project C.U.R.E. were recognized today for Excellence in Volunteer Engagement (EVE) certification at the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM). Through EVE, a partnership between CNM, Hands On Nashville (HON) and the Mayor’s Office, Middle Tennessee nonprofits with outstanding volunteer management programs are recognized and celebrated.

“EVE not only recognizes the nonprofits and volunteers doing incredible work in our city, but also the strong, productive relationships that grow from putting excellent management strategies in place,” said Tari Hughes, president and CEO of CNM.

EVE certification is awarded twice annually to nonprofits that adhere to volunteer management best practices, including conducting volunteer orientations and including a volunteer program component in the organization’s strategic plan. A nonprofit’s certification lasts two years and is then eligible for renewal. In total, 61 organizations are currently EVE certified.

“Nonprofits rely on volunteers for day-to-day support, as well as long-term capacity building,” said HON President and CEO Lori Shinton. “Our EVE-certified partners expertly engage volunteers to support their respective missions while empowering individuals to build stronger communities.

The next round of EVE applications will be accepted in the spring via Any nonprofit agency in Davidson County may apply.

View the full list of EVE-certified nonprofits.

Why Nashville Public Library’s volunteers keep coming back

There’s no limit to what dedicated volunteers can accomplish in a day. Some projects require a longer time commitment, however – days, weeks or even months. The Nashville Public Library (NPL) knows this divide well, as 90 percent of its volunteer opportunities require long-term support.

NPL recognizes an annual “Volunteer of the Year” to help thank dedicated community members for their work. Long-term volunteer Julia Jones was awarded the title in 2017.

Julia Jones, NPL Volunteer of the Year 2017

Jones’ nomination highlights both her commitment to service and her valued role at the library:

“At the core of everything Julia does is her kindness, devotion, sensitivity, free-spiritedness, and a wonderful sense of humor. She warmly welcomes each and every guest at story time and other children’s events, addressing the children and their parents by name and showing genuine interest in them. She sings, she dances, she laughs, and in so doing, encourages the children and their caregivers to sing and dance and laugh. She encourages participants to explore the collection, recommends materials, and helps them locate those items in the library. She walks them to the door, helps them carry personal belongings, and makes patrons feel they are part of a big, Donelson family.”

– Kathryn Shaw, Donelson Branch Library Volunteer Leader

NPL lists all long-term volunteer opportunities on, and many volunteers and staff members recruit friends and family through word of mouth, adding to the sense of community among those who support the library.

“We feel such a sense of gratitude for people coming together in the community to help the library. It’s really humbling,” said Amy Pierce, volunteer services supervisor at Nashville Public Library. With long-term volunteer support, the library can offer unique services, such as the Talking Library – a program with two staffers and more than 70 volunteers, through which vision-impaired patrons can listen to volunteers read newspapers, books and more.

Volunteers must provide background checks before working at NPL, and using the library system requires training. Initially, library staff implemented the 50-hour rule to help conserve resources. However, long-term volunteering creates a sense of support and fulfillment over time.

“We work with volunteers and staff to find times that work, and allow volunteers to continue on a schedule,” said Amy Pierce, volunteer services supervisor at Nashville Public Library. “We require all volunteers to commit 50 hours of service. Often, they hit a rhythm and keep going. Many volunteers have been with us for years; last year, a volunteer hit more than 10,000 hours.”

What could your organization accomplish with a fleet of long-term volunteers?

Post your long-term opportunities on and find out today.

Harpeth Presbyterian Church Comes Together to Support Nashville Youth

“Rewarding.” That’s the word Brent Grunfeld, longtime supporter of the youth group at Harpeth Presbyterian Church (Harpeth Pres.), used to describe the church’s involvement with ReCYCLE for Kids 2017.

Harpeth Pres. is a small but mighty congregation in Brentwood, TN. After going on a mission trip to Mobile, Alabama last year, the youth group wanted to make a difference closer to home. While in Alabama, youth group members learned that people experiencing homelessness needed bikes to get around the city – and they were pleased to find out that local organizations exist to meet that need. Coming home, the group wondered if Nashville had resources in place to connect community members with bikes.

ReCYCLE For Kids: a volunteer-powered initiative that collects, restores and connects bicycles with youth in underserved neighborhoods. Between 2012 and 2017, ReCYCLE engaged 1,600 volunteers and connected nearly 1,000 youth with bicycles.

harpeth2A portion of bikes collected by Harpeth Pres.

After meeting with Hands On Nashville about ReCYCLE For Kids, Harpeth Pres. members had no idea how much their involvement would grow. What started as a youth-group project to donate and collect bikes turned into a congregationwide effort to make the biggest impact possible. Initially, the church donated 54 bikes, but they didn’t want to stop there.

“Our entire congregation came together and got behind supporting the program,” said Grunfeld. “It was amazing, the camaraderie and fellowship; we had eight-to-10 year olds and seniors going out of the way to help us figure out how to donate bikes. It created an environment that hadn’t really existed before.”

This newfound dedication led Harpeth Pres. to collect more than 110 bikes – accounting for nearly half of bikes delivered to community members at the ReCYCLE For Kids 2017 giveaway event.

harpeth 3Congregation members learning the ropes at a bike refurbishment project

The church’s enthusiasm was also apparent at its bike refurbishment project, which took place at Oasis Bike Workshop. “To have 32 people show up for refurbishment – they took over the Oasis Bike Workshop,” said Grunfeld. “Church members didn’t know what to expect. The next thing you knew, you had people who didn’t know anything about bikes fixing tires and brakes. The excitement was amazing when we left.”

Between the refurbishment and giveaway, nearly 50 people volunteered for ReCYCLE – not including the numerous people who helped in other various capacities.

After donating and collecting dozens of bikes, participating in a refurbishment and volunteering at the giveaway, Harpeth Pres. is already talking about keeping the momentum going. They look forward to working with other churches and increasing community member involvement in similar service projects.

To the entire congregation: ReCYCLE 2017 would not have been rewarding for us without your eagerness, excitement and support. From our team to yours, we are grateful.

Read about this year’s ReCYCLE For Kids bike giveaway.