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

Resolve to Serve Stories: NECAT

Rhoda Scherer remembers when she first stepped into the studios of Nashville Education, Community, and Arts Television (NECAT) five years ago.

“I had no clue about television,” Scherer says. She’d been invited to visit the studio by a producer she’d met while volunteering at her niece and nephew’s school yard sale.

“I came to NECAT, I sat in on one of her productions, and I just fell in love with the studio.”

Scherer — who now produces a show called “Psychology Matters” — learned how to run the cameras, lights, and control room through NECAT’s training program.

“You learn in the classes exactly how to use everything,” Scherer says. “They make it so easy to learn.”

That’s music to the ears of former NECAT CEO Trish Crist, who adds that the technology of a TV studio is not as complicated as you might think.

“The skills are mastered pretty quickly,” she said. “Then you get to use them as part of a team to help someone else bring his vision to life and express himself on television.” Crew volunteers earn credit hours they can apply toward advanced production classes, where they can learn green screen effects and specialized camera work.

Super Intern Jay Witt
Jay Witt

NECAT’s channels currently broadcast more than 400 shows to 19 Middle Tennessee counties. Because programming is produced by community members for community members, diverse viewpoints and topics can get air time.

As Scherer, who has a psychology degree, gained experience in the studio, she knew she wanted to transition to producing her own show. She created “Psychology Matters” to focus on mental-health awareness. Her show features experts who answer questions that, often, Scherer crowdsources from her show’s Facebook audience.

For Jay Witt, another NECAT volunteer, helping others create TV shows is a powerful way to facilitate creative expression. Witt came to the studio in 2017 to attend Spring Break TV Camp. Like Scherer, he had little knowledge of TV production. Now, he manages the network’s Super Crew — which is responsible for all crew positions for the Our Nashville series, where each episode features a different nonprofit.

Witt, who’s now considering a career in film, has some advice for anyone interested in volunteering at NECAT, but who might be intimidated by what seems like a lot of technical hurdles: “Don’t be nervous at all. Even if it’s something you don’t end up loving as a future career, it’s still a great experience.”

NECAT Sports TV Camp
NECAT Sports TV Camp participants

Getting Started With NECAT

Want to dip your toes in the TV-production waters? NECAT offers a free two-night TV production class, where you will learn all the technical elements of working in a TV studio —  camera operation, video switching, audio engineering, conducting interviews, lighting design and teleprompter control.

From there, you can choose one of two pathways — for Producers or Technicians.

Technician Pathway — allows you to crew on any NECAT-produced show
$40 annual fee

Producer Pathway — allows you to book the studio and produce your own NECAT show
$80 annual fee 
• Once you’ve completed the aforementioned free production class, those who choose the Producer Pathway must take a two-night TV Pre-Production class (for a $50 one-time fee), which teaches how to organize and plan a show for success.

Super Crew with HON Our Nashville shoot
NECAT’s Super Crew (plus some HONies)

Interested in volunteering with NECAT? Check out their available opportunities here, or sign up for training courses here

Photos courtesy of NECAT.

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Nashville’s Fall 2019 College Service Fairs

It’s (almost) back-to-school time! College service fairs are a great chance for your nonprofit to connect with students and share your volunteer and intern opportunities. Please email the contact listed for each school in order to register your agency.  

August 14: Fisk Volunteer Fair
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Contact: Tashaye Woods (twoods@fisk.edu)

August 28: Vanderbilt Service Organization Fair
1-3 p.m.
Contact: Meagan Smith (meagan.smith@vanderbilt.edu)

August 28: Tigers Day Out at Tennessee State University
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Contact: Shirley Nix-Davis (snixdavi@tnstate.edu)

September 3: Trevecca Volunteer Fair
9:30-10:30 a.m.
Contact: Daniel Neiderhiser (dlneiderhiser@trevecca.edu)

September 4: Lipscomb Volunteer Fair
9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Contact: Christin Schatzer (Christin.shatzer@lipscomb.edu)

September 12: Nashville State Resource Awareness and Volunteer Day
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Contact: Evelyn Hadley (evelyn.hadley@nscc.edu)

September 30: Belmont Community Connections Fair
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Contact: Tim Stewart (tim.stewart@belmont.edu)

Does your Middle Tennessee college or university have a service fair you’d like us to include in this roundup? Let us know!

Resolve to Serve Stories: Nashville Dolphins

Edward McClarty hadn’t been searching for a long-term volunteering gig when he was asked to bring smoothies to the Nashville Dolphins’ Swim-a-Thon.

“I didn’t give it much thought at the time, other than it was my way of giving back to my local community,” says McClarty, who had just become the owner of a Smoothie King. “Obviously, God had other plans.”

Shortly after, McClarty began prepping for an Iron Man Triathlon, which required a lot of swimming. He was training in the Gordon Jewish Community Center’s pool — the same pool where the Nashville Dolphins were holding a swim class — when he had an idea.

“I asked if I could get in the water and assist the athletes, and it just developed from there,” he says.

The Nashville Dolphins’ mission is to enable people with special needs to experience the physical and emotional benefits of swimming. The Dolphins provide free learn-to-swim classes and a free swim team to children and adults with special needs.

“Volunteers continue to come back because they are able to see the direct impact they are having with our organization,” says Program Director Megan Kelly. “They are working with the same swimmers each week so they are able to see their growth and progress and build friendships with our swimmers.”

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Edward McClarty

Since that afternoon when he got in the pool with the Dolphins, McClarty — AKA Coach Ed — has spent his Tuesday nights leading swim practice. He decides the curriculum and exercises, gets swimmers ready for practice, and conducts the drills.

“We run the swim practice just like any other swim team,” Coach Ed explains. He says he enjoys seeing what each athlete is capable of and helping them work hard to maximize their potential.

For Coach Ed, who has been swimming with the Dolphins since 2004, serving with the organization has been a spiritual endeavor.

“I’m so blessed to be a part of this. I’m so happy that the parents and the athletes want me there to participate, and I’m grateful to offer whatever it is that I offer to them.”

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with the Nashville Dolphins, express interest here

Photos provided by Nashville Dolphins.

AmeriCorps Member Spotlight: Jasmine Lucas

Jasmine Lucas joined the HON AmeriCorps Program in late March. Read on to learn more about her!

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Jasmine Lucas

Community Outreach Coordinator at Hands On Nashville

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

Being out with the volunteers and recognizing them for what they are contributing to their community. It has been exhilarating to meet individual volunteers who walk completely different lives from one another meet up and commune over serving the community. I believe there is nothing more beautiful than that. I plan on recognizing our volunteers directly through social media in future Community Partner events. I’m excited to be the voice of HON and put forth the faces of our volunteers!

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?

What drew me to serve with AmeriCorps was that I saw it as a chance for me to be a part of something bigger than myself. That has been my driving force for a long while. I have made many personal, developmental decisions based on this standard, and it has yet to fail me. I have always grown to be a better person when I made a decision to be a part of something that is bigger than myself, and I am confident AmeriCorps is that next “bigger than myself” opportunity in this season of my life.

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

After AmeriCorps I am not quite sure what I will start doing. So far, I plan to serve another term with a nonprofit here in Nashville. After that, I may begin working with a local nonprofit in Nashville, or I may travel the world teaching English as a Second Language (I have a lot of international friends who want me to visit 🙂 )

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

In my free time I partake in a variety of hobbies including crocheting, writing/reading poetry, watching movies with my roommates, and going on excursions around Nashville with new friends. You will probably also find me staking out at local coffee shops as I read and write.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2019-2020 AmeriCorps cohort. Learn more and apply here.

Check out this summer’s family-friendly volunteer opportunities

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Whether you’re a parent looking for a wholesome (and free!) way for your kiddos to pass the time this summer, or you’re a teen looking for a way to beef up your resumé before applying for college, we’re here to connect you to volunteer opportunities at lots of great Nashville organizations. Click the title of each opportunity to learn more and sign up.

Look for ways to give back to your community year-round on our calendar.

Be a Blood Services Donor Ambassador
American Red Cross—Nashville Area Chapter
Minimum age:
13
When: Ongoing

Help save lives while honing your customer-service skills. Volunteers will promote blood donation and ensure long-term commitment for regular blood donations.

Make reading easy as a Librarian’s Assistant
Nashville Public Library (multiple locations)
Minimum age: 13
When: Ongoing

Volunteers enable the thousands of patrons who visit the library’s 21 locations each day to read, conduct research, and continue learning. Plus volunteers get easy access to the library’s amazing collections. And air conditioning!

Organize, sort, and support at the Family Store
The Salvation Army
Minimum age: 16, or 14 with an adult
When: Ongoing

The Salvation Army Family Store is looking for volunteers to hang and organize clothing, sort items in the warehouse, and assist cashiers with wrapping purchases. Bonus: Close proximity to amazing thrift finds!

Get your hands dirty to feed hungry families
Second Harvest Food Bank
Minimum age: 18, or 8 with an adult
When: Ongoing

Farm to Families volunteers support local food producers by helping care for a wide variety of crops and other plants. In return, Second Harvest partner farms donate a portion of the bounty to people who need fresh, healthy food. Volunteer projects vary and may include weeding, mulching, composting, harvesting, or gleaning. Green thumbs not required!

Cultivate professional skills on the Teen Team
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Minimum age: 17, or 13 with an adult
When: Ongoing

This youth-oriented team enables volunteers to develop their leadership, professionalism, customer service, and problem-solving skills in a fun environment. Volunteers assist staff with hands-on, fun programs and greet museum guests.

Connect with elderly residents as a wheelchair escort 
McKendree Village Inc.
Minimum age: 18, or 13 with an adult
When: Sundays and Wednesdays, multiple dates available

Cheery, physically active volunteers are needed to help push residents in wheelchairs to chapel services. This is a great opportunity to enrich the lives of older residents and build meaningful one-on-one relationships.

Beautify the Radnor Lake Area
Radnor Lake State Natural Area
Minimum age: 13, or 10 with an adult
When: Fridays, multiple dates

Every hand helps keep the Radnor Lake area beautiful for Nashville residents, visitors, and wildlife. Volunteers are needed to build out and mulch trails, remove invasive plants, clean up streams, and more. Projects happen rain or shine.

Nashville Dolphins
Minimum age: 16, or 13 with an adult
When: Thursdays through July

Stay dry while helping swimmers stay safe! Volunteers stay on deck and assist the heacd coach to help guide swimmers and ensure that they are having fun. No swim team or swim coach experience is required.

Help Musicians Corner Concert guests have a great time
The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park
Minimum age: 16, or 14 with an adult
When: Fridays and Saturdays through June (with some Thursdays)

Hear great music while helping put on a culturally rich event. Volunteers work alongside interns and full-time staff to assist with giving audience surveys, monitoring the parking lots, staffing merchandise stations, and working water and beverage stations. Volunteers will receive training and assignments on site.

Grow and harvest while learning about gardening
Bellevue Edible Learning Lab Inc.
Minimum age: 16, or 4 with an adult
When: Saturdays

The Bell Garden serves as a teaching and learning lab for volunteers, students of Bellevue Middle Prep, and the community! Volunteers can do a variety of things, including sow seeds and harvest plants, water and weed, work in the greenhouse, tend the chicken flock, can and preserve fruits and veggies. The garden runs on volunteer power, and no experience is necessary.

Make meals to nourish those fighting cancer
The Heimerdinger Foundation
Minimum age: 19, or 13 with an adult
When: Ongoing

Members of the Heimerdinger Foundation’s volunteer kitchen crew are involved in the meal-making process — from prep to delivery. Volunteers should exhibit positive energy, be dependable, and be willing to work as a team.

HON Community Partners: Do YOU have family-friendly volunteer opportunities that aren’t featured here? Let us know so we can add them!

 

Hands On Nashville announces recipients of the 2019 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards

April 30, 2019 – Middle Tennesseans were honored for their volunteerism at Hands On Nashville’s 33rd Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, presented by Advance Financial Foundation.

The award recipients are as follows:

  • Lily Hensiek – Capacity-building Volunteer Award
  • Cross Point Church – Civic Volunteer Group Award
  • Uncle Classic Barbershop – Corporate Volunteerism Award
  • Ella Delevante – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages five to 20)
  • Marc Pearson – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages 21 to 49)
  • Charles Black – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages 50+)

More than 600 volunteers and community members attended the luncheon and ceremony at Music City Center. The annual event recognizes volunteers for their outstanding contributions to the community, and celebrates the life of Mary Catherine Strobel, a Nashvillian with an outstanding dedication to service.

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Nashville musician Tristan McIntosh began the ceremony with a celebration of service.

Former “American Idol” contestant Tristan McIntosh — a member of the local volunteer collective Musicians On Call — opened the awards ceremony with a performance in recognition of the award nominees and finalists. Great-grandson of Mary Catherine Strobel, Benjamin Strobel, shared an invocation prior to the meal; Charles Strobel, son of Mary Catherine Strobel and founding director of Room In The Inn, closed the ceremony with remarks about his mother’s legacy and the value of service.

“For Mary Catherine Strobel, giving back wasn’t even something she did; it was who she was,” said Lori Shinton, President and CEO of Hands On Nashville. “That same spirit lives on when each of these volunteers gets up in the morning and thinks about how they can make someone else’s day better — how they can serve others using their hands, their tools, their knowledge, their creativity.”

Community members submitted more than 130 nominations for the 2019 Strobel Volunteer Awards.

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Mary Catherine Strobel’s children — Jerry (from left), Alice, Veronica, and Charles.

“This luncheon emphasizes the highest ideals of human life and the spirit of giving,” said Charles Strobel. “We are delighted that all of the nominees — both those who are finalists and those who were nominated — are receiving this special recognition for embracing that spirit.”

Below is a list of award recipients for each category and a brief description of the volunteer work for which they are recognized.

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Lily Hensiek

Lily Hensiek received the 2019 Capacity-building Volunteer Award for her work with Lily’s Garden, which has raised more than $2 million for pediatric cancer research and treatment at Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The award honors individuals who provide significant operational or administrative support to a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry or community organization.

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Sarah Stephanoff of Cross Point Church 

Cross Point Church, whose members support children in Youth Villages group homes, received the 2019 Civic Volunteer Group Award. The category honors representatives of civic, membership, faith-based or non-corporate groups that volunteer together for a specific cause or issue.

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Amy Tanksley and Trisha Lou Meinzer of Uncle Classic Barbershop

Uncle Classic Barbershop received the 2019 Corporate Volunteerism Award in honor of its ongoing service to Park Center. The award pays tribute to businesses that have robust employee volunteer programs with high levels of participation and impact.

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Stephen Francescon, Community Relations Manager at Piedmont Natural Gas; Ella Delevante; Lori Shinton

The Direct Service Volunteer Awards recognize individuals who have contributed significant volunteer time, energy and/or resources to support an agency’s constituents. Ella Delevante, a volunteer for Nations Ministries, Metro Nashville Public Schools and Nashville International Center for Empowerment, received the 2019 award for the category honoring nominees of ages five to 20.

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Mark Czuba, Business Unit Leader at U.S. Smokeless Tobacco; Marc Pearson; Lori Shinton

Marc Pearson, a volunteer with PENCIL/John Overton High School, received the 2019 Direct Service Volunteer Award for ages 21 to 49. Pearson leads efforts to prepare students for engineering careers through mock interviews, a job shadow program, and more.

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Charles Black (center)

 Charles Black, a volunteer with Dismas House, received the 2019 Direct Service Volunteer Award for ages 50 plus. Black is an ambassador, mentor, and driver for the men of Dismas House, where he was once himself a client.

Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

All photos are credit of Kerry Woo Photography.

For More Information

Please contact Lindsey Turner at Hands On Nashville: (615) 298-1108 ext. 415; lindsey@hon.org.

About the Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards

The Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards are named in memory of the late Mary Catherine Strobel, known for her extensive and charitable efforts toward improving the lives of Middle Tennessee’s homeless, impoverished and less fortunate populations. The annual awards ceremony celebrates her service and recognizes those who continue her legacy. View all nominees for the 2019 awards.

About Hands On Nashville

Hands On Nashville (HON) builds capacity for individuals and agencies to meet needs through service. Its programs connect volunteers to opportunities supporting 140-plus nonprofits, schools, and other civic organizations; help these partners reimagine volunteer potential; and bring awareness to the challenges facing the people and places in our community. For more information, visit HON.org or call (615) 298-1108.

 

 

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.

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.