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Hands On Nashville meets community needs through volunteerism. Join us at HON.org

Resolve to Serve Stories: Nonprofit Committee Opportunities

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at a nonprofit.

Fundraising, marketing, programming, outreach — all fueling the important business of serving clients and meeting needs in the community.

To make it all work, some Nashville nonprofits look to volunteers for help as committee members. These folks get a seat at the table — literally — to carve out the direction of the nonprofit and its programs.

Mary Margaret Randall, CEO of One Voice Nashville, says committee volunteers are crucial to OVN’s success and growth.

“We’re just two years old as a nonprofit,” Randall says. “The committees really do help expand our reach. They help us think through strategically how we can grow as an organization.”

Randall notes that many people with nine-to-five job commitments find committee membership works well with their schedule. OVN committees meet once a month for an hour, then individuals can work independently on assignments between meetings.

Jim Hawk, Executive Director of Neighbor 2 Neighbor, says his organization is similarly looking for volunteers who can move his agency and its programming forward through independent — but collaborative — committee work. This is especially true for their Marketing & Fundraising Committee and Good Neighbor Day Festival Committees.

“For people who are entrepreneurial, the sky is the limit,” Hawk says. “We’ve had people just blow their component out of the water and after they’re done, we’re like, ‘Wow! We never knew it could be this good,’ because they took it to the next level.”

Valeri Otey-Nellis, Leadership Development Specialist at N2N, says joining a committee is a great way to meet people in the city whose paths you otherwise might not cross.

“[You] get an opportunity to interact with neighborhood folks from around the city,” she says. “The network is really positive.”

Hawk agrees: “One of the things about our community is that we’re pretty diverse. You’re going to meet people who aren’t like you.”

One Voice Nashville and N2N are currently looking for volunteers to join committees, as are other Nashville nonprofits. Throughout the year, HON’s Community Partners post committee slots as they come open. Assignments include fundraising, marketing, event planning, strategy, and more. For some nonprofits, committee membership is a pathway to joining the organization’s board of directors.

Click here to see where you could make an impact as part of a nonprofit committee.

One Voice Nashville builds bridges and closes gaps by valuing all voices through storytelling and narrative journalism. To see all available OVN volunteer opportunities, click here.

Neighbor 2 Neighbor’s mission is to equip residents and neighborhood organizations with the tools they need to build safer and more vibrant neighborhoods. To see all available N2N volunteer opportunities, click here.

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AmeriCorps Member Spotlights: Rachel Bradd and Drew Himsworth

It’s been an honor during this year’s AmeriCorps Week to share stories of some of the incredible HON AmeriCorps members serving in nonprofits across Nashville.

Today we feature two members of the Hands On Nashville squad. They have been incredible teammates and all-around natural HONies.

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Rachel Bradd

Volunteer Project Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

One thing that was particularly rewarding was planning an event with a non-profit/corporation that HON has never worked with for my AmeriCorps MLK Day of Service project. Through this project with the help of Drew (HON’s Community Partner Program Coordinator AmeriCorps member) we were able to plan, organize, and assist volunteers, in partnership with Metro Social Services, with bundling more than 600 care packages to distribute to people experiencing homelessness.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

I wanted to gain experience in the business environment while simultaneously pursuing my MBA. This opportunity also allowed for me to serve my community. Service to others has always been a big part of my life.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

My plan is to pursue a career in government contracting with a government agency.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

As a full-time grad student, I am typically studying or writing papers when I’m not serving or volunteering. I also do check out the occasional coffee shop for an extra boost of energy when I have a bit of free time on the weekends.

 

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Drew Himsworth

Community Partner Program Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

Building and designing an MLK donation drive to help those experiencing homelessness. We had a great response from the community when asking for items. Then the volunteers who showed up were hard working and amazing.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

The opportunity to serve at Hands On Nashville and interact with so many amazing non-profits in the Greater Nashville area.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

Continue to work in nonprofits and try to help others who need help.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

Playing ultimate Frisbee, volunteering, dog-sitting, playing video games, making puzzles.

AmeriCorps Member Spotlights: Shelby Timmons and Victoria Schnaufer

Happy AmeriCorps Week! All week here on the Show of Hands blog, we’ll be highlighting members of the HON AmeriCorps program, who are completing yearlong terms of service at nonprofit agencies across Nashville.

Today we feature two members serving with Plant The Seed, whose mission is to shape community and school gardens into outdoor classrooms to educate and empower under-resourced youth.

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Shelby Timmons

Garden Learning Coordinator 

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding?  

The most rewarding part of my service has been spending time with children and watching them learn and grow while in Plant the Seed programs. They love exploring the garden and have the most amazing observations and insight!

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

I found myself wanting to explore the world of nonprofits and not sure where to start. I also wanted to take my first steps toward a meaningful career.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

I want to continue to work in education, as that is the part of my service I feel the most connected to.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?  

I enjoy making art and spending time outdoors!

 

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Victoria Schnaufer

Garden Learning Coordinator 

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding?  

Every time I see a student come into the garden and connect recall a past lesson, or connect what we are learning in Plant the Seed to what they are learning in class, my eyes light up. This recall tells me that what we are doing in the garden is doing something — it matters.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

I wanted to submerge myself into my community here in Nashville.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

My hope is to stay connected to the Nashville community through education.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?  

Working on my house! I just recently bought a house in Nashville and I am learning that a homeowner’s work is never complete.

AmeriCorps Member Spotlight: Will Southard

Here on the Show of Hands blog, we’re celebrating AmeriCorps Week by highlighting members of the HON AmeriCorps program, who are completing yearlong terms of service at nonprofit agencies across Nashville.

Today we feature a member serving with the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance,  a watershed-based, community-supported stream conservation group, focused on environmental sustainability of the Richland Creek watershed and the long-term restoration and preservation of its ecosystem.

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Will Southard

Education and Outreach Coordinator 

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

We have an ongoing project with the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt in which we’re performing a tree catalog on one of our creek-side restoration sites. It’s been really amazing to work with these high school students, and I’m excited to see what they come up with for their final project.  

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

I’d heard of AmeriCorps before, but it wasn’t until my final year of school that I talked to a friend who had spent a year with AmeriCorps teaching in inner city schools in New York. The structure of her program – one year, focused on community service and capacity building – really appealed to me, so I started looking for similar positions with an environmental focus. 

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

For right after I’ve completed my term, I’m planning on doing some backpacking with some buddies from college. Long-term, I’d like to attend graduate school and get a master’s in Urban and Environmental Planning. 

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

When I’m not serving, you can usually find me reading (I prefer sci-fi and fantasy), hiking, playing board games with my roommates, or seeing live music. 

 

Announcing the 2019 Strobel Award finalists

Congratulations to the amazing volunteers nominated for the 2019 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards. Read on for a list of nominees. Finalist names are bold.

Save the date for the award ceremony: Join Hands On Nashville on Tuesday, April 30, 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.

  • Bruce Skidmore
  • Carol McCrary
  • Claressa Ham
  • Dr. Vincent Couden
  • Falon Ecker
  • Jan Routon
  • Janet Kuhn
  • John Algee
  • Joseph Nault
  • Kay Kretsch
  • Kristie Young
  • Laneisha Coburn
  • Laura Musgrave
  • Lily Hensiek
  • Lisa Booker
  • Mostly Tomatos
  • Rita Pirkl
  • Rose Pink
  • Sally Wright
  • Timothy and Riley Dilks

Civic Volunteer Group

Honors volunteer teams that unite in support of a specific issue or cause.

  • Academy for G.O.D.
  • Baila Studio Moms
  • Belmont University, College of Pharmacy
  • Cross Point Church
  • Episcopal School of Nashville
  • Friends of MACC
  • Joy in Learning
  • Musicians on Call
  • Rotary Club of Nashville
  • Shipwreck Cove Restaurant
  • St. Ann’s Church, Knights of Columbus Chapter
  • Team Emma
  • Tennessee School for the Blind
  • The Contributor, Inc., Volunteer Team
  • The General Sessions Music City Community Court
  • The Physical and Mental Health Committee, Minerva Foundation, Inc.
  • Top Ladies of Distinction, Nashville Capitol City Chapter
  • Women of Covenant Baptist Church

Corporate Volunteerism

Commends group or individual corporate volunteers who exhibit robust
commitments to service as part of their company’s community service program.

  • Apex Moving and Storage
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Bridgestone Americas
  • Change Healthcare
  • Cigna-HealthSpring
  • Covance Inc.
  • Crain Construction
  • Golden Rule Construction
  • Hawkins Partners, Inc.
  • LifePoint Health
  • Magpies
  • naviHealth
  • Postmates
  • Uncle Classic Barbershop

Direct Service

Applauds volunteers of all ages who participate in hands-on, direct service with a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry, or community organization.

Ages 5 to 20

  • Anne Slosky
  • Davis Blankenship
  • Ella Delevante
  • Joe Stevens
  • Katie Schmidt
  • Madison Everett
  • Melissa Farrow
  • Nashville Youth For Christ
  • Prim Wiphatphumiprates
  • Raul Solis
  • Saiche Stefanski
  • Sarah Matthews
  • Shannon Flahaven
  • Stephanie McDaniel
  • Sydnee Floyd

Ages 21 to 49

  • Amanda Castle
  • Ashley Leaphart
  • Caitlin Thorsen
  • Corrie Anderson
  • Dawn Warner
  • Emi Canahuati
  • Estella Pan
  • Gina Strickland
  • Henry Rothenberg
  • Jeni Bradley
  • Jennifer Morrison
  • Josh Renner
  • Jurrell Casey
  • Laneisha Coburn
  • Linda Copeland
  • Lindsay Bryant
  • Lindsay Voigt
  • Marc Pearson
  • Meredith Beck
  • Neal Carpenter
  • Shaunte Dozier
  • Talisha Birdsong
  • Tiffany Hodge

Ages 50+

  • Andy Albright
  • Ann Strebler
  • Becky Waldrop
  • Bernice Karnett
  • Beverly Waldrep
  • Charles Black
  • Donice Kaufman Stewart
  • Eileen Wollam
  • Ethel Hollis
  • Frances Casey
  • Gwen Neal
  • Heidi Garber
  • Janelle Wilson
  • Jo Ann Hendrix
  • Joe Manners
  • John Baroni
  • John Bull
  • Judy Bayer
  • Karen Connolly
  • Karen Lyons
  • Kate Ezell
  • Keith Loftis
  • Kim France
  • Marilyn Bagford
  • Mark Patterson
  • Marva Southall
  • Mary Lee Thompson
  • Michael Gray
  • Monty Thomas
  • Pat McDonald
  • Rich Moore
  • Robert Ramsey
  • Susan Gardner
  • Tony Washington
  • Trish McGarty
  • Wanda Smith

 

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AmeriCorps Member Spotlights: Chandler Kucera, Georgia Caplen, and Ross Miller

It’s day two of AmeriCorps Week! To celebrate, we’re highlighting members of the HON AmeriCorps program, who are completing yearlong terms of service at nonprofit agencies across Nashville.

Today we feature three members serving with Cumberland River Compact, whose mission is to enhance the health and enjoyment of the Cumberland River and its tributaries through education, collaboration, and action.

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Chandler Kucera

Urban Tree Project Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding?

Being able to plant numerous trees across Davidson County has been extremely rewarding. Actually being able to see your accomplishments and the progress that each tree is making is a great feeling. Also knowing that this may inspire others to help change their communities is very rewarding as well.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?

I was drawn to AmeriCorps because it is a great opportunity to be a catalyst for change in your community. It is more focused on helping others rather than serving yourself, and that has been a nice change of pace from my previous experience.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term?

My plan is to look for a job that has a similar goal to the AmeriCorps program. I want to continue to help make change in my community and the environment, and will eventually go on to graduate school so I can learn more about my specific field and have an even larger impact.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

When not serving I love to be outside: Biking, hiking, kayaking, and swimming are some of my favorite activities. I love music, both playing and listening, as well as reading. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends as much as possible.

 

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Georgia Caplen

Rivive! Nashville Project Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

I recently collaborated with Patagonia Nashville and local artist Bryce McCloud for their new store’s grand opening weekend. I helped Bryce collect inspiration and materials for an art canvas focused on local environmental awareness that will be displayed in the store’s front entrance window for the next few months. It was rewarding and intriguing for me to plan a project with a company like Patagonia. I have always been inspired by their sustainability- and environmental-awareness initiatives. This opportunity was particularly rewarding because this specific art project helped inspire local customers to think about Nashville’s waterways with a new perspective.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

I was drawn to serve with AmeriCorps after seeing the direct impact service projects can have within a community. I spent my senior spring break with the nonprofit North Carolina Coastal Federation and, after engaging with the staff and the current AmeriCorps stationed there, I felt that serving as an AmeriCorps was a promising and positive next step after graduation.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

After my service term, my plan is to find an internship related to coastal conservation or environmental planning to gain experience within the environmental field and then attend graduate school in the following years.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

When I am not serving with my nonprofit, you can find me exploring a new hiking destination in Tennessee and the surrounding areas! In the new year, I began the 52 Hike Challenge, where every week I set out to find a new hiking adventure and then share my experiences on my personal hiking blog.

 

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Ross Miller

Urban Streams Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

We have a series of volunteer cleanups planned around the state throughout April and the first two Saturdays of May. Preparing for what surely will be one of the most difficult and successful projects the Compact has undertaken is an incredible learning experience for me.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

My passion for the outdoors led me to serve with the Compact, which is driven to enhance the lives of millions of Tennessee residents and to keep this area beautiful.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

To take the next step for a career in environmentalism, preferably following a path regarding climate action.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

Getting to know and explore Nashville and the surrounding area.

 

 

 

AmeriCorps Member Spotlights: Anna Patton and Valentin Le Besnerais

Happy AmeriCorps Week! All week here on the Show of Hands blog, we’ll be highlighting members of the HON AmeriCorps program, who are completing yearlong terms of service at nonprofit agencies across Nashville.

Today we feature two members serving with the Tennessee Environmental Council,  whose mission is to educate and advocate for the conservation and improvement of Tennessee’s environment, communities, and public health.

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Anna Patton

Composting and Recycling Education Coordinator 

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

I have been a part of a community project that involved dealing with recycling and Nashville residents directly. It was rewarding because we were able to communicate the issue of contamination in the recycling stream and educate residents as well as volunteers of proper recycling habits.

I have also been able to be a part of an effort led by Urban Green Lab that targets tackling food waste in schools. I participated in a food waste audit in H.G. Hill Middle School, which was very eye-opening about the waste that is generated throughout four lunch periods. It has been inspiring to be a part of the conversation in how we can cut down on school food waste!

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

I have always pursued service as a part of my lifestyle, and have attempted to positively affect the community that I live in. AmeriCorps, being a national service program, was appealing to me due to its reliance on service as well an opportunity for me to challenge myself and grow through this service-learning program.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

I plan to continue learning different skills in life that will educate me on how to further help people in all sectors of life. I am particularly interested in targeting environmental injustices by serving poverty-stricken communities. I plan to take what I have learned from TEC and practice strides toward a zero-landfill lifestyle.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

I enjoy gardening as well as learning new trades such as playing the piano and ukulele. I also enjoy crafts involving upcycling or repurposing “old” or outdated materials through innovative methods such as naturally dyeing fabric to create homemade pants.

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Valentin Le Besnerais

Compost and Recycling Education Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding?

Making progress on Tennessee residents’ recycling and compost habits to ensure that as much waste is diverted from the landfill as possible!

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps gave me an opportunity to serve in a field that I am interested in, enabling me to advance my career and learn more about nonprofit operations.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term?

I plan on continuing on the path of environmentally friendly work to better the communities around me as I advance my career.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

I like to spend time outdoors hiking, playing sports, and riding my bike. I also enjoy listening to and playing music and attending concerts around town.

 

Resolve to Serve Stories: Weed Wrangle®

Cayce McAlister remembers how different the forest looked when she was young.

“You saw tree trunks. You didn’t see all this low-level scrub,” she says. “All that green scourge you see in the woods is invasive plants.”

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Cayce McAlister

McAlister says that native plants and trees don’t stand a chance in areas that are overgrown with non-native species. Invasive plants reproduce and spread quickly, often out-competing native plants. This leads to a reduction in plant diversity and the loss of habitat and food for wildlife.

Now McAlister is on a mission. A former president and longtime member of the Garden Club of Nashville, she was instrumental in founding Weed Wrangle®, an annual event where volunteers gather in parks and public spaces to remove problematic plants. The annual pull puts a dent in the problem, but McAlister says that alone won’t solve the issue of invasive plant growth. There must be public education, too.

Each Weed Wrangle® site will have an official on hand to show the participants clippings of the pesky plants to target and tell them the best tactics for removal.

“Invasive plants have no borders, and the success of our effort is affected dramatically by landscaping practices of neighbors to all of these public areas,” she says. McAlister encourages attendees to take their new knowledge home and eradicate invasive species in their own yards. Then talk to the people next door about doing the same.

In 2015, its first year, Weed Wrangle® drew more than 500 volunteers to 13 sites across Nashville. McAlister says the event has grown quickly and now exists across multiple Tennessee markets and in 13 other states. Since its inception, Weed Wrangle® has engaged 3,164 volunteers in Tennessee, who have contributed a combined 27,528 volunteer hours.

This year’s event, slated for March 2, has 20 Middle Tennessee sites where volunteers will wrangle weeds. You don’t have to be a gardener to help, says McAlister, who, as the event’s National Chair, is a full-time volunteer and travels the country spreading the seed of an idea that first took root in Nashville.

“There is a job for everyone out there. Little kids can pick up debris and drag it to the pile. Big buff people, they’re all trying to yank everything out of the ground instead of using tools,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a fun day.”

You can join the fun by browsing Weed Wrangle® opportunities here.

Interested in signing up to host your own Weed Wrangle® site? Visit the Weed Wrangle® website or email Ampage158@gmail.com.

Photos courtesy of Weed Wrangle.

 

Resolve to Serve Stories: Senior Ride Nashville

A couple of times a week, Sara Stewart drives to the home of an elderly man named Richard. She helps him into the car, then takes him to doctors’ appointments or to the grocery store. Also on their list of stops: Coffee.

“There for a while we were trying to figure out what the best coffee was. He’s decided it’s McDonald’s,” Stewart says with a laugh.

Stewart, a volunteer for Senior Ride Nashville, says that what started out as a four-hour-a-month commitment has, over 120 trips, turned into a friendship. Volunteers for SRN use an online portal to select rides that work with their schedule, location, or interest.

“It’s become such an experience for both of us,” she says. Stewart supports Richard in ways big and small — from helping him with his grocery list to reaching out to his city council member to advocate for improved sidewalks near his home.

“I’m always there for Richard, no matter what he needs,” Stewart says.

That doesn’t surprise Carrie Brumfield, SRN’s executive director.

“We often hear the phrase, ‘It’s more than just a ride’ from our volunteer drivers,” she says.

Brumfield says reduced mobility can put a person at higher risk of poor health, isolation, loneliness, and depression, and that Nashville’s lack of public transportation options means many seniors may experience reduced life expectancy as a result.

Stewart, who’s been driving for the organization since its inception, says that she initially was drawn to act when she realized how isolating it would be to not have access to transportation. She said once it dawned on her that she might someday be in that same situation, she knew she had to do something.

“Pay it forward,” Stewart says. “It’s not even really a payment, because you get it back immediately.”

To find out more about volunteering as a driver, or to learn about other ways to help Senior Ride Nashville, click here.

Photos provided by Senior Ride Nashville

‘Pursue Purpose’: A culture of giving back at Change Healthcare

American workers have spoken: It’s the job perks — like company culture, paid time off, and chances to serve the community — that employees are finding increasingly valuable.

But Jonny Woo doesn’t need a study to tell him that. Woo, a Regional Volunteer Chair at Change Healthcare, has completed around 10 corporate service projects since joining the company two years ago.

“I actually think giving back makes me a higher performer,” Woo says. “It’s a really good way for me to get my work done and it’s a good way for me to meet people in the company.”

This year, Woo led a team for the Nashville Heart Walk. He recruited participants, put up flyers, and solicited donations. The team raised more than $150,000 for the Nashville Chapter of the American Heart Association.

“What’s so great about AHA is that all those funds are going back directly into the community to support research and healthcare for those that have been affected by cardiovascular disease in Nashville,” says Ashley Bostic, Change Healthcare’s Director of Culture and Community Giving.

Bostic echoes Woo’s excitement about Change Healthcare’s commitment to a culture of service and giving. She says a guiding light to community giving at Change Healthcare is one of their core values, Pursue Purpose. As the value states, Change Healthcare is here to make healthcare work better. The opportunity to help improve a person’s life propels them forward.

“Focusing on improving a person’s life in any way, shape, or form in our communities is really the foundation of our community-giving programs,” Bostic says. That means encouraging employees to use their paid volunteer hours to support local nonprofits, she says, but it also means giving Change Healthcare employees space to share their passions and concerns with their colleagues and build awareness-raising campaigns around those concerns.

“You’re helping improve others’ lives and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to do that,” Bostic says. Since July of this year, Change Healthcare’s employees have logged more than 5,000 volunteer hours nationwide.

Volunteers from Change Healthcare worked with Hands On Nashville in 2018 to code and organize medical supplies for Project Cure; stain tables and benches for an outdoor classroom at Rosebank Elementary; pack snacks and hygiene kits for those served by the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center; and tend the garden at FASHA Urban Farm.  Most recently, Change Healthcare volunteers sorted gift bags for the Salvation Army Angel Tree.

“Our teams are more connected following those volunteer events,” Bostic says.

If your company is interested in partnering with Hands On Nashville to help support the community, let us know!