Category Archives: AmeriCorps

Getting to know the 2020-2021 AmeriCorps cohort — Part 5

We are so excited to welcome this year’s AmeriCorps cohort — 23 civic-minded individuals who are committed to spending the next year at area nonprofits working hard to make Nashville a better place to live. Here’s a little bit of insight into these amazing individuals who are helping Nashville nonprofits serve the community in a variety of ways.

Meredith Cohen
Emergency Response Coordinator
Community Resource Center

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I was motivated by a desire to help a community get through the current pandemic and any cascading crises. I also wanted to explore the field of emergency response and disaster management!

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A:
I am most excited to meet members of the community and learn about resource distribution!

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you
?
A: I used to volunteer at an animal shelter and ended up adopting an outrageous number of cats!

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

A: Jump rope, ultimate Frisbee, and spending time outside!


Quinn Garrett
Mobile Distribution and Volunteer Leader
PENCIL

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I saw it as a great opportunity to serve and better my community.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A:
Meet new people in the Nashville nonprofit scene.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you
?
A: Once ate an entire Taco Bell taco 12-pack in one sitting.

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

A: Kayaking with my pals!

Rachel Flores
Economic and Racial Justice Community Coordinator
Workers’ Dignity

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I was excited by the opportunity to work closely with Workers’ Dignity, an organization that I greatly admire, while also getting to know my fellow AmeriCorps members.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I am excited to get involved with Workers’ Dignity’s construction campaign.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I learned how to ride a unicycle in high school, and still own one. I can still ride it but not for very long.

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

A: Hiking, reading, cooking, and crafting.

Getting to know the 2020-2021 AmeriCorps cohort — Part 4

We are so excited to welcome this year’s AmeriCorps cohort — 23 civic-minded individuals who are committed to spending the next year at area nonprofits working hard to make Nashville a better place to live. Here’s a little bit of insight into these amazing individuals who are helping Nashville nonprofits serve the community in a variety of ways.

Elizabeth Serrano
Environmental Outreach and Communication Coordinator
Harpeth Conservancy

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: It felt like the perfect opportunity to give back while simultaneously developing professionally.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A:
I am most excited to help others find a passion for the environment!

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you
?
A: I can nap anywhere, anytime.

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

A: I love spending time with friends, running, making Spotify playlists, collaging, and eating yummy food!

Mikelle Benfield
Environmental Outreach and Communication Coordinator
Harpeth Conservancy

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: Being able to work with local communities on environmental education and stewardship.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: Applying my nonprofit experience to the community in Nashville and being able to really develop those skills in a new setting.


Q: What is a silly/random fact about you
?
A: I played roller hockey growing up.

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

A: I enjoy playing the piano.

Kelsea Comb
Homeless Community Shower Bus Coordinator
Shower the People

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: Service is one of your guiding principles and up until this point in my life service has also been mine, whether working at the Office of Disability Services, Urban Ministries, or in Ecuador with Ubeci. When I see myself, I always see myself doing something that helps and elevates others.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?

A: I am most excited to meet the individuals in the population I am working with. I know how much this work means, so I am excited to see the growth I believe will occur from the beginning of my service to the end.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you
?
A: I am fascinated with deep blue holes and scuba diving!

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

A: I like to read, listen to audiobooks, and write Spoken Word.


Heidi Hayne
Volunteer and Partner Engagement Leader
Nashville Diaper Connection

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: Serving my community has always been a large part of my life. For the past two summers in my hometown of New Orleans, I worked as an intern at Eden House, a nonprofit that houses and brokers wrap-around services for female victims of human trafficking. My experience here, along with my community service experience at Sewanee, inspired me to continue working toward bettering my community through collective action. AmeriCorps offered an exciting opportunity for me to use my educational background in art, religion, and environmental studies and my strong leadership and service experiences both to begin my career and build and better my newly adopted home of Nashville.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I have loved serving at the Nashville Diaper Connection. Everyday, I learn something new and have really found it interesting how diaper need is linked to a variety of other necessities among poverty-stricken families and individuals in the Nashville area. It has been great to work towards ending diaper need with our volunteers and partner agencies to ensure that every baby in the Nashville area is clean, dry, and healthy.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you
?
A: I have given communion to Drew Brees, the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.

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

A: I love going on walks in all of the parks and gardens around Nashville. I am part of of a dinner club and book club and love painting and photography.


Dalia McCoy
Garden Programs Coordinator
The Nashville Food Project

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I have always been passionate about service and working alongside nonprofits. After graduating during a global pandemic, I knew I wanted my “next step” to be doing work that created a positive impact, and AmeriCorps offers an opportunity to do this!

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I have never worked with an organization whose focus is food justice — I am so excited to learn more about this issue and work to alleviate food insecurity in the Nashville community.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I have traveled to six of the seven continents!

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

A: I love cooking and baking! I also love music — I sing and play a little piano!

Getting to know the 2020-2021 AmeriCorps cohort — Part 3

We are so excited to welcome this year’s AmeriCorps cohort — 23 civic-minded individuals who are committed to spending the next year at area nonprofits working hard to make Nashville a better place to live. Here’s a little bit of insight into these amazing individuals who are helping Nashville nonprofits serve the community in a variety of ways.

Ashley Leon
First 3! Coordinator
The Family Center

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I wanted to serve with AmeriCorps to improve the lives of others and offer my time to help disadvantaged communities. I was interested in an organization that would allow me to give back to the community while partaking in leadership development, which is what drew me to AmeriCorps.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A:  I am most excited to collaborate with the Family Center staff to improve the health and wellbeing of young children and expand parents’ early childhood knowledge through the First 3! Parent Seminar.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I am a major foodie; I love trying different food options.

Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?
A: I spend my time watching movies, painting, and dancing when I’m not serving or volunteering.


C. McNutt
Urban Tree Education Coordinator
Nashville Tree Foundation

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: It’s truly a unique experience that allows one to connect with the community and develop professional skills while working side by side with a multitude of nonprofits.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: Getting my hands in the soil and planting trees to help restore the tree canopy after the devastating tornado and powerful storms blew through Nashville.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: My biggest childhood fear was butterflies. I was convinced if it got too close to them I’d either hurt or kill them on accident, so I’d run away every time they came near me.

Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?
A: When I’m not serving or volunteering, I’m probably out on a hiking trail, at a park slacklining, or rolling down some hills on my longboard.

Hannah Mathis
Creative Sustainability Volunteer Engagement Leader
Turnip Green Creative Reuse

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I wanted to learn more about working in a nonprofit, and to dedicate my time to helping others.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: Gaining experience working in a nonprofit setting and meeting awesome people.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I am obsessed with mushrooms — house decor, clothing, drawings of them, reading about them, and observing them in nature!

Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?
A: Hiking, biking, taking photos, drawing, going to concerts, listening to true crime podcasts, and cooking.


Maddy Johnson
Community Trees Outreach Coordinator
Nashville Tree Foundation

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: It is a great opportunity to make a positive impact in the surrounding community and gain hands-on experience in my field.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I am excited to meet new people and learn about the Nashville Tree Foundation’s work and projects.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I know how to juggle! Limes and clementines are the easiest.

Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?
A: Making art, biking, playing guitar, or cooking.

Rachel Geiger
Community Education Coordinator
Turnip Green Creative Reuse

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I had previously been working with a for-profit company and got a chance to reevaluate my path when COVID hit. I realized I hadn’t been happy in what I was doing and decided to look into positions with the nonprofit sector. AmeriCorps gave me the chance to reorient my life to align with my values.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I am most excited to make a difference in the lives of the kids served by the education program at Turnip Green.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I’m currently on day 131 of my Duolingo streak!

Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?
A: You can often find me trying to make new vegetarian recipes, singing the songs stuck in my head, reading yet another biography, or swimming in the lake.



Getting to know the 2020-2021 AmeriCorps cohort — Part 2

We are so excited to welcome this year’s AmeriCorps cohort — 23 civic-minded individuals who are committed to spending the next year at area nonprofits working hard to make Nashville a better place to live. Here’s a little bit of insight into these amazing individuals who are helping Nashville nonprofits serve the community in a variety of ways.


Joe Chapman
Cumberland River Compact
Clean Streams Coordinator

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I think taking a year to give back to the community and planet is such an important opportunity. I’m honored to be able to do so.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I’m excited to build my professional skills and work outdoors! I’m also excited to meet some inspiring people!

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I play the ukulele.

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

A: I love to camp, hike, skateboard, play board games, and listen to music!


Liam Ulasevich
Cumberland River Compact
Urban Forestry Coordinator

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I had completed service as a Peace Corps volunteer and enjoyed the work thoroughly. Also this position fit right in line with my interests and goals.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I am excited to spread the joy of trees and learn more about this city’s tree culture.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I once gave a speech to 700 people dressed as a Teletubby.

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

A: I love hiking, drawing, eating, and solo dance parties.


Makinsy Fitzgerald
Cumberland River Compact
Engagement and Outreach Coordinator

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I wanted to connect with my community and make it a better place for all.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I am most excited about working with like-minded individuals that have a passion for service.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I went to more than 25 concerts in 2019.

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

A: Going to concerts, listening to podcasts, thrifting, and hiking!


Morgan Florsheim
Cumberland River Compact
Environmental Education Coordinator

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I was drawn to serving with AmeriCorps because I wanted to do meaningful work and to be given a higher level of responsibility than your average entry-level job. I also feel like I have been privileged in my access to education and I want to pass that on to others through environmental education work.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I am really excited to get to do some curriculum development and to engage young people in environmental work. I had some amazing mentors in that field when I was younger and I would love to be able to serve in a mentorship role for other young folks.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you that you?
A: I didn’t eat a burger until I was 20 years old.

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

A: I love to run, hike, bike, canoe, and generally spend time outside. I also really enjoy reading and writing and watching bad reality TV shows.


Tyrah Cobb-Davis
Cumberland River Compact
Urban Forestry Coordinator

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: Honestly, I was drawn to the AmeriCorps program after learning more about NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). I liked that program in particular because of the opportunity to travel and see new places. I ultimately chose to serve with the HON AmeriCorps Program because I think that being in the same place for a while has a greater impact on the organization and I was really drawn to the location and being part of a larger cohort. I think that service opportunities provide unique opportunities to gain professional work and general life experiences! I am excited to see what this year has in store.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I am most excited about meeting new people and experiencing a new place! The position is also pretty interesting. I have recently taking a liking to trees and am looking forward to spending the year as an Urban Forestry Coordinator. In general, I am excited to leave my home state of Maryland for a bit to see what Nashville has in store.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: Ice cream is my all time favorite and I oftentimes eat it for dinner. It is a must for me to find a new spot when I visit new places. 🙂

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

A: I enjoy the outdoors, reading, bingeing TV shows, and finding new ice cream shops and local restaurants.

Getting to know the 2020-2021 AmeriCorps cohort — Part 1

We are so excited to welcome this year’s AmeriCorps cohort — 23 civic-minded individuals who are committed to spending the next year at area nonprofits working hard to make Nashville a better place to live. Here’s a little bit of insight into these amazing individuals who are helping Nashville nonprofits serve the community in a variety of ways.

Ademola Ogunnaike
Hands On Nashville
Digital Strategy Leader

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: The ability to give back to my new community.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I am excited to bring a new perspective to the team and help the team further expand its digital presence.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you that you are comfortable sharing with others?
A: I live in Tennessee, and I still haven’t gone kayaking. Also, country music is just alright.

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

A: I’m usually out and about shooting films with my crew on set.


A.T. Branch
Hands On Nashville
Volunteer Engagement Leader

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: To work a job with flexibility that gives me a sense of purpose.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: Give back to my city and network in my community.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I was born on Free Slurpee Day and it kills me that Nashville doesn’t have a 7- Eleven.

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

A: Making music, auditioning for acting gigs, traveling (pre-COVID).

Kannon West
Hands On Nashville
Volunteer Project Leader

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: The desire to help my community in times of need and to be able to leave a lasting impact on an individual.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: Become more involved in the community!

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: My dream job would either be an astronaut or indie singer!

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

A: Reading, catching up on current events, trying new coffees, sometimes running.

Matt Anderson
Hands On Nashville
Disaster Response Coordinator 

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: Continue serving my community after disasters strike.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: Coordinate with different organizations and community groups to really get the feel of the city and culture.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: Werewolves are my irrational fear. Not a clue why. Halloween is a stressful time because of this.

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

A: Cycling, hiking, camping, running, starting Aikido.

MC Sammons
Hands On Nashville
Community Partner Engagement Leader 

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: The opportunity to spend the next year doing something meaningful in my community.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I am excited to engage with all of the different partner agencies.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I run an Instagram account for my dog.
(Follow Winston at @one.eyed.winston!)

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

A: Some of my favorite things are going to garage sales, hanging out with my dogs, and cooking. Pre-pandemic I also loved going to shows and trying new restaurants.

Cheers to the outgoing 2019-2020 AmeriCorps members!

It is hard to believe August is nearly halfway over, which means it’s time to say goodbye to the 2019-2020 HON AmeriCorps cohort. For the past year, the HON AmeriCorps program engaged 19 civic-minded individuals in a yearlong term of service at local nonprofits. They received skills training, professional development, and networking opportunities, while building programmatic capacity at the agencies they supported. 

Between the devastating March 3 tornado and the communitywide impacts of COVID-19, this has been a challenging year. These AmeriCorps members have proven to be creative, resilient, and impactful in the face of these challenges, and they stepped up to lead in a time of crisis in our community.  

Please join us in wishing them well and read on to learn more about their most memorable experiences and teachable moments, and how the nonprofiteers at the organizations where they served feel about them. We could not be more grateful for this group, and they will all be dearly missed!  

Let’s hear from the leaders at the agencies where they served  

Ellen Barker, Community Partner Engagement Leader at Hands On Nashville

“Ellen has been a true joy to serve alongside for the past year. Every aspect of our operation she’s been involved with has been improved. I cannot image the last year with her as part of the team. Her spirit and willingness to learn will be dearly missed.” — Drew Himsworth (Community Partner Coordinator, Hands On Nashville) 

Paige Dawson, Sustainability Outreach Coordinator at Tennessee Environmental Council

“Paige’s infinite positivity and incredible work ethic will certainly be missed here! Oh, and let’s not forget all the entertaining animal rescue stories … A compassionate spirit, that one.  Incredibly quick learning and efficient.” – Julia Weber (Program Manager, Tennessee Environmental Council)   

Mary Eaton, Volunteer Outreach Leader at Hands On Nashville

“When the tornado hit in March, HON was inundated with emails and social media messages from people wanting to help and looking for access to services. Mary helped our team navigate and respond to thousands of inquiries, all while working a second job. She brings levity and humor to everything she does, and we’re so excited to see what her future holds!” — Lindsey Turner (Director of Communications, Hands On Nashville) 

Hayley Elliott, Volunteer Project Leader at Hands On Nashville 

“Hayley is a wonderful team member — always up for a challenge (hello, chainsaw!), ready to pitch in and work wherever needed, warm, funny, dedicated, and thoughtful about how she carries out her responsibilities. We’ll miss her terribly. She’s going to be a great success in the field of nonprofit management, and anyone who works with her will be fortunate to have her!” – Karin Weaver (Corporate Project Manager, Hands On Nashville) 

Samantha Estes, Citizen Science and Volunteer Restoration Project Coordinator at Harpeth Conservancy

“Samantha has been a pleasure to work with during her time at Harpeth Conservancy. Her passion and work ethic helped us develop a well-rounded volunteer engagement program and communication strategy.” — Ryan W. Jackwood, Director of Watershed Science & Restoration

Katin Liphart, Watershed Education and Renewal Coordinator at Richland Creek Watershed Alliance

“All programs outcomes and outputs have close to doubled with Katin on our team. She brought skills, commitment, team work, dedication and enthusiasm the position.” — Monette Rebecca (Richland Creek Watershed Alliance)

Ezra Schley, Sustainability Outreach Coordinator at Tennessee Environmental Council

“Ezra is one of the hardest working individuals we’ve ever gotten the pleasure of working with. He maneuvered through these trying times with grace and confidence.” — Julia Weber (Program Manager, Tennessee Environmental Council) 

Alex Stark, Environmental Education Coordinator at Cumberland River Compact

“Through her service term with the Cumberland River Compact’s education programs, Alex taught over 1,300 students across our region about the value of our water resources and inspired the future water stewards. Her contagious enthusiasm, creativity, and can-do attitude were an important asset to us in these changing times and she will be missed next year. Thank you, Alex!”  — Catherine Price (Education & Outreach Manager, Cumberland River Compact) 

 Matt Trotsky, Stream Restoration Coordinator at Cumberland River Compact

“Matt’s can-do attitude was a welcome addition to our AmeriCorps team. His willingness to jump in and help was always a welcome sight during the past year!” — Gray Perry (Program Manager, Clean Streams) 

Dylan Vines, Urban Tree Coordinator at Cumberland River Compact

“Dylan is a hard worker who takes initiative, and everyone who had the opportunity to work with him — staff, community volunteers, and more — enjoyed his easy-going nature and professionalism.” — Meg Morgan (Campaign Manager, Root Nashville) 

Let’s hear from the members themselves 

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Meriweather Bean, Community, Education & Outreach Coordinator at Harpeth Conservancy

“My favorite memory was seeing our Fall Wild & Scenic Film Festival come to fruition. This was really my first major responsibility in my service year and a great learning experience in event organizing, but also organizing with community partners. It was very rewarding to see it become a success and gave me confidence continuing through my service year.” 

Lexi Bolinski, Volunteer Project Leader at Hands On Nashville

“Serving alongside fellow AmeriCorps members and staff at Hands On Nashville during tornado cleanup efforts was by far the most memorable and life-changing moment of this year of service. Being able to assist those impacted by the disaster while learning from the talented staff at HON was an experience unlike any other.” 

Amber Lopatine, Urban Forest Strategic Initiatives Coordinator at Nashville Tree Foundation

“The most rewarding part of my service year was helping with the tornado relief efforts. It was really impactful to see so many people come together during this time and lend a hand in whatever way they could.”

Jasmine Lucas, Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator at Plant the Seed

“I’ve learned about a variety of stages nonprofits can operate out of. Rolling with the punches is a MUST when serving with nonprofits, but it is quite rewarding in the end when everyone takes on the punches and powers through together. You see the resilience of community through nonprofits.” 

Ben Piñon, Disaster Response Coordinator at Hands On Nashville*

Ben speaks on his favorite memory: “During the tornado response as I was walking the streets directing volunteers, I got a call from a guy offering his assistance including some heavy machinery he had. When he said he was from Maryland all of a sudden, I was speechless. He said hello a couple of times thinking the call had dropped. I told him I was just at a loss for words, touched that people wanted to come help from so far away.” 

*Ben also served with Plant the Seed but transitioned to HON when schools closed in the spring as a result of COVID-19.

Lily Sronkoski, Garden Programming and Partnerships Coordinator at Plant the Seed

“I thought I was adaptable before this year, but I was wrong. I truly learned how to be adaptable this year.” 

Jessa Tremblay, Programming and Partnerships Coordinator at Plant the Seed

Jessa speaks highly of her time serving over the course of the year: “Kids are hilarious. The things they say to you are so bizarre, but so wonderful. It was absolutely wonderful getting to know my students over time and I always went to work grateful that I was getting to teach them and get to know them better.” 

Haley Tucker, Citizen Science & Restoration Coordinator at Harpeth Conservancy

When asked what new skills she learned: “Website building/design, volunteer organization, science/restoration, etc., all of which can be carried into future jobs.” 

A day on, not a day off: Spend your MLK Day helping others

This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 20 marks the 25th anniversary of the day of service that celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

Below we’ve rounded up a list of MLK Day service projects led by HON AmeriCorps members. (To view a full list of HON’s January opportunities, click here.)

If you serve on MLK Day, we want to know! Share your stories on social media using the hashtags #MLKDay and #DayON25.

Pick up litter to keep waterways clean
Richland Creek Watershed Alliance
Minimum age: 18, or 12 with an adult
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20

Collect your free, reusable #grabthelitter bag and volunteer with Richland Creek Watershed Alliance (RCWA) and pick up litter along the Richland Creek Greenway or in your local neighborhood. Learn how to prevent litter from washing into local streams, creeks, and rivers, and reuse your #grabthelitter bag to continue volunteering all year long.

Assemble furniture for McGruder Family Resource Center
Hands On Nashville
Minimum age: 18
When: 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Jan. 20

Build lounge and rocking chairs, side tables, and storage units to help McGruder Family Resource Center spruce up their patio and computer lab areas. These items will allow for easy organization of supplies and offer families that frequent McGruder comfortable places to relax and work. Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes and dress comfortably.

Plant a tree and beautify an assisted living center
Cumberland River Compact
Minimum age: 18 or 1 with an adult
When: 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Jan. 20

Get ready to get a little dirty and plant some trees with the Cumberland River Compact. Gloves, tools and snacks will be provided. Volunteers are asked to wear closed-toe shoes and bring reusable water bottles.

Round up and recycle with Oak Hill residents
Tennessee Environmental Council
Minimum age: 18 or 12 with an adult
When: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20

Help educate and assist residents of Oak Hill in recycling at The Tennessee Environmental Council’s recycle round up. Residents will learn about their community’s recycling policies and help residents sort their hard-to-recycle materials (like computers, clothes, and phones.) Volunteers will monitor the recycling and composting stations, and help participants unload recyclables from their vehicles.

Provide shade and filter pollution by planting trees
Nashville Tree Foundation
Minimum age: 16 or 6 with an adult
When: 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18

Trees are being planted at three different Metro Nashville Public School locations in East Nashville. (See the separate registration pages in the link above!) This event is an annual, family-friendly tree planting with the Nashville Tree Foundation. These trees make Nashville a greener community by creating an oxygen-rich environment, and reducing flooding by absorbing great amounts of ground water.

Donate needed items for young adults experiencing homelessness
Hands On Nashville
Minimum age: 18 or 1 with an adult
When: Ongoing though Jan. 17

It only takes a few minutes, but donating electronics, art supplies, personal care items, bottled water, and gift cards can have a big impact for those served by Nashville Launch Pad. Items can be donated at the Hands On Nashville office, 37 Peabody St., before Jan. 18. Read the full list of requested items here.

 

 

Celebrating AmeriCorps’ 25th Anniversary: Q&A with Hands On Nashville’s first AmeriCorps member

The AmeriCorps program celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. To commemorate the occasion, we checked in with Susannah Fotopulos, the first AmeriCorps member ever placed at Hands On Nashville. Fotopulos went on to found and direct Plant the Seed, a Nashville nonprofit that provides experiential education to children ages 4-14 through garden-based learning.

When were you an AmeriCorps member? Where did you serve and what role did you have?

In 2003 I served at Hands On Nashville as their inaugural Citizen Action AmeriCorps member. This was a specific type of indirect service position created in partnership with the HandsOn Network and designed to increase volunteer opportunities in HandsOn communities.

How did AmeriCorps prepare you to start Plant the Seed? 

My placement as the first AmeriCorps member at Hands On Nashville was during a time of rapid growth, which gave me an amazing chance to build a program from idea to delivery. It gave me a testing ground to conceive how to address a community need, deliver that program, and evaluate its effectiveness. My AmeriCorps service year was such an amazing way to grow my entrepreneurial spirit!

How does it feel to come full circle with AmeriCorps, having four members serve at your own nonprofit? 

It’s wild! I feel like having four AmeriCorps members is a cool indicator of our growth and a marker of scale and legitimacy in our ability to manage AmeriCorps members. I also see it as a way for Plant the Seed to live out our mission of being a learning organization by helping young adults develop the skills and next steps for their careers.

What’s something you are looking forward to teaching these members that you took from your own experience with AmeriCorps?  

I hope these new AmeriCorps members learn flexibility, gratitude, resilience, how to create something they can call their own, how to bring an open mind to new learning opportunities, and how to feel like they have made a legitimate difference to effect positive change in the world.

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.

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.