NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM), Hands On Nashville and the Mayor’s Office partnered to honor 41 nonprofits achieving Excellence in Volunteer Engagement (EVE) certification today at CNM. Continue reading Mayor Barry and nonprofit partnership celebrate 41 successful volunteer programs
“When I finished my G.E.D., I decided I wanted to go to college,” says Michelle McCann. “The Martha O’Bryan Center was right there helping me complete applications and take the necessary steps I needed to get accepted.”
McCann’s dream is to become a social worker. She wants to help people struggling with poverty, just as the Martha O’Bryan Center helped her. “[Recently] I found out that I have been accepted to attend Berea College in Kentucky on a full scholarship. Martha O’Bryan has been there with me for this ride for as long as I can remember, through my falls and through my strengths.”
Every day, the Martha O’Bryan Center empowers people just like Michelle McCann to realize their full potential. On a foundation of Christian faith, the Martha O’Bryan Center serves children, youth, and adults in poverty, enabling them to transform their lives through work, education, employment, and fellowship.
The families served by Martha O’Bryan in Cayce Place – Nashville’s oldest, largest, and poorest public housing development – and the surrounding East Nashville area are faced with multiple barriers to success. They live in extreme poverty, in a high-crime area, and do not have ready access to transportation or technology options. Martha O’Bryan also serves families from the CWA Plaza Apartments, a development that houses 803 residents (55% under the age of 18; majority are single-parent, female heads of households). A rapidly increasing immigrant population also characterizes these apartments with around 35% being Somali or Sudanese.
Volunteers play a critical role in the Center’s day-to-day activities. Here are just a few of the ways energetic people like you can help:
- assisting elementary and middle school students with homework after school
- delivering meals to seniors and homebound adults in East Nashville
- supporting the “Read and Eat” program, which provides children with a small bag of produce each week along with information about the food item and a recipe
- helping with healthy meal and snack preparation during the Second Harvest Kid’s Café at Martha O’Bryan Center
Our featured nonprofit, The Dance Theatre of Tennessee (DTT), has been fostering the development and expansion of dance throughout Middle Tennessee for nearly ten years. As the performance arm of the Asian American Performing Arts Society, the DTT bills itself as “storytellers on toes” and delivers the pageantry of ballet and live dance theater to enthusiastic fans here in Nashville through a variety of programs and initiatives.
Founded with a goal of exposing new audiences to the diversity and beauty of dance, the DTT has made tremendous strides in fulfilling that mission and has carved out a solid niche among the numerous performing arts organizations in Nashville under the leadership of Artistic Director Christopher Mohnani.
The organization provides affordable and accessible professional performances throughout the area, offers superior academy dance training, fosters enlightened outreach programs, and works to bring eminent national and international artists, choreographers, and premiere works to Nashville and Middle Tennessee.
The DTT is headquartered in a 14,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility that plays host to many of the group’s performance events. It is also home to an expansive slate of dance classes that annually engage more than 150 students. Additionally, the DTT enjoys partnerships with more than 25 local arts organizations and nonprofits, and the organization has reached more than 20,000 Middle Tennesseans through professional and community performances in the last three years alone!
One such individual, Pennington Elementary teacher Kathryn McCarthy, was inspired and touched by the DTT’s outreach work with students in her school:
“Dance Theatre of Tennessee’s programs, especially those bringing ballet to the people and the schools, should be applauded,” she says. “(They) showed all students a different way to tell a story by using the beauty of dance and music. It not only enriched the lives of my students, but also of those throughout the school community.”
The DTT is heavily reliant on the work and support of volunteers to further its mission. In particular, operational functions for live performances at various venues in Middle Tennessee are almost entirely staffed by volunteers.
The group’s second annual “Ballet in the Park” performance series in Centennial Park will take place later this month, and volunteers will be needed to fill a number of roles, including welcoming park goers, handing out programs, ushering, and assisting at the information booth and kids tent. Individuals can also volunteer to help in setting up and ‘striking out’ lights and equipment for performances during the series.
Important dates for Ballet in the Park is as follows:
September 17-19: Setup Days
September 19 and 26: Full dress and technical rehearsals
September 20-22 & 27-30: Performances
October 1: Post-performance/strike out day
Be sure to visit the DTT’s website for more information about the group’s offerings. If you’re interested in volunteering with the Dance Theatre of Tennessee, contact Christopher Mohnani at 615-391-5500 ext. 3 or via email: email@example.com.
Chances are, you probably know someone who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS). The disease affects an estimated 2.1 million people worldwide and does not discriminate between men and women or adults and youth. While great strides have been made in the research, diagnosis, and treatment of MS in recent years, the battle against this crippling disease continues.
Leading the fight in the U.S., the National MS Society works toward its organizational vision of a world free of multiple sclerosis by funding research initiatives, facilitating professional education and advocacy efforts, and providing programs and services that help those with MS and their families move their lives forward.
Our featured nonprofit, the Mid South Chapter of the MS Society, is based in Nashville and serves more than 9,000 individuals in Tennessee, northern Georgia, northern Mississippi, and eastern Arkansas.
They offer an array of support services and educational programs for MS patients and their families, including a lending library of books and audio materials, empowerment seminars, employment programs, wellness and exercise program referrals, and much more. The Mid South Chapter oversees 25 different self-help groups, all of which are led by volunteers. Plus, they organize a number of events throughout the year that help raise awareness about the disease and the Society’s work.
Volunteers are a driving force in the movement to cure MS. For the Mid South Chapter, committed and dedicated volunteer help is an essential component of the group’s advocacy efforts, programming, and day-to-day activities. The Chapter has a variety of flexible volunteer opportunities available, both ongoing and short-term.
Three of the Chapter’s biggest annual events are right around the corner and volunteers are needed to assist with all of them.
At Fall Crush, a unique wine tasting and auction that takes place in mid-September, individuals can volunteer to assist with guest registration, silent auctions, and wine pairing stations. During two separate bike tours – Bike MS: Bike to Jack and Back and Bike MS: Rock ‘N Roll – volunteers will help with registration, staffing rest stations, assisting with traffic flow, loading luggage, and setup and cleanup projects.
Individuals can also assist with in-office work, such as bulk mailings, phone calls, and event organizing. Those who are skilled at using programs like InDesign or Publisher are also needed to help with the group’s marketing and promotional efforts.
Be sure to visit the Mid South Chapter’s website to learn more about their outstanding work. If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Michelle Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org (event volunteer opportunities) or Abby Mullen at email@example.com (in-office volunteer work).
For victims of sexual violence, moving on from their attacks and rediscovering normalcy and happiness is a monumental challenge. Feelings of shame in the aftermath can prevent many from seeking help, and the resulting loneliness and isolation can make the trauma that much worse. This is particularly true when the victim involved is a child.
Our featured nonprofit partner, The Sexual Assault Center, helps victims of sexual assault get on the road to recovery.
As the only organization of its kind in the area, The Sexual Assault Center’s (SAC) mission is to provide services that help heal children, adults, and families affected by sexual assault end the violence through counseling, education and advocacy. Since its founding in 1978, SAC has helped more than 17,000 children and adults in Middle Tennessee.
SAC specialists employ a holistic approach for the counseling of men, women, children, teens, and the family members of survivors in both individual and group settings. Roughly half of SAC’s clients are children, and counselors often work with entire families in helping those younger victims.
The organization’s 24/7 Crisis and Support telephone line serves as a first stop for many sexual assault victims who need information on resources and services available to them.
SAC also operates a Hospital Accompaniment Program (HAP) which, in tandem with the Davidson County Sexual Assault Response Team, assists victims in the early stages of the recovery process and provides needed emotional support for those with medical questions and concerns.
Educational initiatives that raise public awareness about sexual violence are also an important component of the group’s work. SAC offers programs for middle school students and high school teens aimed at preventing sexual victimization and developing tools for healthy relationships. To help elementary school students, SAC educates hundreds of teachers and counselors throughout Tennessee using their personal safety curriculum. Additionally, the organization hosts community workshops at local churches and civic groups featuring qualified experts and speakers that address a wide range of topics including date rape and sexual abuse prevention.
Dedicated volunteers play an enormous role in SAC’s efforts and help raise public awareness on the issue of sexual violence and the organization’s everyday work. Both the Crisis and Support line and Hospital Accompaniment programs are staffed wholly by volunteers, all of whom participate in training sessions in order to provide the best possible support to SAC clients.
If you are interested in volunteering, SAC will be holding orientation meetings for potential HAP volunteers on August 22 at 1 p.m. and September 3 at 6:30 p.m. HAP training then begins in mid-September as follows:
September 16 and 18, 6 to 9 p.m.
September 21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
September 23 and 25, from 6 to 9 p.m.
(Attendance at all training dates is mandatory.)
For more information on the full range of volunteer opportunities available, visit SAC’s website or contact Jessica Labenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before you know it, school bells will be ringing throughout Middle Tennessee and students will return to the classroom for another school year. But what happens when some of those students and their teachers lack needed supplies like pens, notebooks, and backpacks?
Enter LP Pencil Box, our featured nonprofit partner that addresses these challenges one classroom at a time.
Founded in 2005, LP Pencil Box (LPPB) is a collaboration of the Nashville business community, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and the LP Foundation, which is the charitable arm of LP Building Products.
The group collects new and gently-used educational, art, and office supplies and makes them available at no cost to educators. Teachers can ‘shop’ for supplies twice each school year at LP Pencil Box, which is located in the McCann Alternative Center in West Nashville. They bring back to their classrooms materials valued at up to $250 per visit to help ensure that their students have all the tools they need to succeed.
LPPB serves more than 2,200 local teachers annually and processes an enormous volume of donated items, ranging from arts and crafts materials to magazines and classroom furniture. With so many teachers to serve, there are some fantastic volunteer opportunities available for individuals.
Volunteers play an important role in making sure things run smoothly at the LP Pencil Box store, and they can serve in a number of capacities. Greeters and check-out assistants guide teachers through the shopping process, helping them find what they need. Stock clerks and inventory assistants aid in sorting, organizing, and stocking all of the supplies that are donated. There are also administrative volunteer opportunities in data entry, marketing, and development too.
With the 2013-2014 school year right around the corner, LP Pencil Box will be buzzing in the coming weeks and months. Here are just a few of their upcoming volunteer opportunities:
July 22-24: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
July 25: 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesdays/Thursdays throughout August and September: 3 to 6 p.m.
Saturdays throughout August and September: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 12 to 3:30 p.m.
Make sure to check out the LP Pencil Box website to learn more about this great organization.
For more information about volunteering with LPPB, you can also contact Kimberly Washington, Program Manager at email@example.com or 615-974-0438.
Those poignant words, penned by the American poet and novelist Thomas Bailey Aldrich, can serve as useful advice for anyone facing what can sometimes be a difficult transition into the later years of life.
In addition to providing us with a reminder of the importance of getting the most out of our “golden years,” they also wonderfully capture the essence of this month’s featured nonprofit partner.
As the premier resource of its kind in Middle Tennessee, FiftyForward is helping adults 50 years of age and older live longer and more meaningful lives by providing pathways to health, well-being, and lifelong learning.
Founded in 1956, the organization and its dynamic team of staffers, volunteers, and community partners offer an array of innovative services for older adults and their families, annually touching the lives of more than 20,000 people in our area.
At seven locations in Davidson and Williamson counties, FiftyForward runs hundreds of health and wellness programs for its members every year. The group offers courses in everything from fine arts and creative writing to yoga, Tai Chi, and general exercise classes to foreign languages, computers, ballroom dancing, and more. Performing arts opportunities are available through the unique Music for Seniors program, as well as in productions that the organization puts on at its own Larry Keaton Theatre. Members can also pack their bags and take advantage of FiftyForward Travel, which organizes trips both at home and abroad.
On the supportive care side, FiftyForward operates a Living at Home initiative. Designed for older adults who wish to maintain their independence while confronting health issues, the program helps those individuals and their caregivers get better access to the resources they need to live more safely and comfortably at home and ensure a better overall quality of life.
FiftyForward’s comprehensive programming creates many volunteer opportunities for those who are interested in helping the group fulfill its mission.
Adults 55 and older can volunteer through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Foster Grandparents initiative, or donate their time by tutoring K-4 students in reading and math through the Friends Learning in Pairs (FLIP) service. As tutor Mary Ann Wilson points out, opportunities like FLIP give older adults the chance to make a meaningful impact by sharing their knowledge with those who need it most:
“I began tutoring with FLIP when I retired in 2002,” she says. “(It) is one of the best and most rewarding volunteer efforts in which I participate. When I leave Inglewood School every Tuesday, I leave with a smile and a happy heart.”
Volunteers of all ages are also needed to help support FiftyForward’s daily work, including Meals on Wheels outreach , Adult Day Services, class instruction, and more. Those programs, as well as work at all seven FiftyForward locations, also provide great volunteer opportunities for groups.
Make sure to visit the FiftyForward website to find out more about the great work this important group does. Interested individuals can also directly contact FiftyForward team members to learn more about specific individual and group volunteer opportunities:
Meals on Wheels: Contact Sharie Loik at (615) 463-2264 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Adult Day Services: Contact Heather Davis at (615) 463-2266 or email@example.com
FLIP: Contact Sandra Thomas at (615) 743-3422 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bordeaux Center: Contact Derek at (615) 248-2272 or email@example.com
Even the most novice food enthusiast recognizes the importance of pairing wine with certain dishes and cuisines. But here in Nashville, whether you’re a ‘foodie’ or not, one of the best things you can pair with wine is something that might actually surprise you—your time.
Combining fantastic wines and philanthropy, the Nashville Wine Auction is a self-sustaining, nonprofit, charitable organization that exists solely to raise funds in the fight against cancer by engaging Nashville wine enthusiasts and wine communities from around the globe. In its 30-plus years of existence, the organization has raised more than $17 million for local cancer charities, including the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, Gilda’s Club, the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Saint Thomas Cancer Network, and more.
It all began in the summer of 1980, when a group of Nashville friends (led by Tennessean critic Homer Blitch and local businessman Thomas J. Milam) decided to put together a wine auction to raise money for the American Cancer Society. They called it “l’eté du Vin” (A Summer of Wine) and the event generated more than $3,000 in contributions.
After a popular and successful debut, the auction became an annual affair and gradually expanded to a series of summer-long events in Nashville that has attracted visitors and wine fans from across the United States. By 1993, l’eté du Vin had grown into the country’s biggest one-day charity wine auction outside the California wine regions.
Re-branded in just the last year as the Nashville Wine Auction, l’eté du Vin remains the group’s marquee event. But the organization produces a host of similar affairs throughout the calendar year now as well, and volunteers play a vital role in ensuring the success of all of them. For many, the chance to donate their time to such a unique organization that is working to fight cancer right here in Middle Tennessee has resulted in a truly one-of-a-kind volunteer opportunity.
Vanderbilt senior Courtney Kirk, who volunteered at one of the group’s recent Pairings Events, had this to say about her experience:
“Volunteering for Nashville Wine Auction is a hands-on opportunity of the best kind. I cannot say there is another organization I have volunteered for where I have felt as though I really contributed (so much) to the event.”
Hard-working, focused individuals can volunteer with the Nashville Wine Auction in a variety of capacities, including event and silent auction setup, live auction assistance, guest registration, and more.
Sound enticing? There are a few upcoming events at the Nashville Wine Auction that you can donate your time to this summer.
It is no secret that Tennessee’s diverse blend of rural and urban settings is a major reason why so many people call the Volunteer State home. But as development spreads and populations continue to grow, preserving the state’s natural wonders and maintaining the delicate balance that so many Tennesseans love has become more important than ever.
One organization working to do just that is The Land Trust for Tennessee. This statewide, nonprofit group has one simple mission: to preserve the unique character of Tennessee’s natural and historic landscapes and sites for future generations.
Founded in 1999 by Jean C. Nelson and former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, The Land Trust for Tennessee has conserved more than 88,000 acres of land across the state to-date, generally by helping landowners protect their properties through a process called conservation easements. These easements allow individuals to keep ownership of their property, while also protecting the most important assets on those lands from future development.
You need not travel very far to see The Land Trust’s great work in action. Sitting a mere four miles from downtown Nashville is the group’s Glen Leven Farm, a 65-acre sanctuary that showcases a host of historical, natural and agricultural resources and provides a wonderful snapshot of the type of projects that define The Land Trust’s overall mission.
Volunteers play a crucial role in everything that happens at Glen Leven Farm. They assist staff with a host of daily tasks, from routine maintenance to gardening to providing support for those visiting on field trips and educational tours. But they are also the driving force behind some of the bigger initiatives at Glen Leven as well.
Recently, The Land Trust partnered with the Tennessee Division of Forestry’s Riparian Buffer program and SoundForest on a project to reforest approximately 3,500 linear feet of a stream running through the Glen Leven property. Over the course of five separate volunteer tree plantings, 139 individuals contributed more than 400 combined hours of their time to plant nearly 2,000 native trees, which will significantly improve the water quality of the creek by reducing soil erosion and regulating storm flow. The project was a rousing success, but it would not have been possible without volunteer help.
The Land Trust and Glen Leven Farm folks view their volunteers as more than just individuals who are willing to get a little dirty. Volunteers are also helping to further the overall mission of The Land Trust by fostering community engagement and spreading awareness about the importance of land conservation and sustainable agriculture.
Regular opportunities to volunteer may include maintenance of the educational garden and flower beds, invasive species removal, new plantings, sorting contents in historic structures, clearing debris from pastures, maintaining roadways and walkways, composting for and harvesting vegetables from the educational garden. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to learn about composting and how Glen Leven uses coffee grounds from Bongo Java.
Glen Leven offers regular volunteer opportunities every second Thursday evening of the month, and every third Saturday morning of the month.
If you have specific questions, please contact:
Katie O’Bryan, Facilities Manager and Volunteer Coordinator
For three days in June, the Nashville Downtown Library and Church Street Park will be transformed into a magical and mesmerizing land of storytelling and puppetry as the Nashville International Puppet Festival descends upon our city. No matter what your age, your imagination is sure to be flexed at this wonderful family-friendly event!
Hosted by the Nashville Public Library Foundation, the Nashville International Puppet Festival will bring performers from around the globe together to celebrate storytelling through puppetry arts. From June 21 through 23, this vibrant carnival will include dozens of international and domestic puppet performances, a puppet parade, live music, and an outdoor street fair.
This year’s festival will be bigger and better than ever, and volunteers will play a critical role in this incredible event. This volunteer experience is extremely rewarding and fun. As one volunteer remarked after the 2011 Puppet Festival, “I had such fun!!! Thank you for the awesome opportunity.”
The library needs hundreds of volunteers to assist with a variety of tasks throughout the three-day festival. And this volunteer gig doesn’t come without awesome perks! Volunteers will receive:
- a souvenir t-shirt to wear during their shift and to take home;
- snacks and beverages;
- free parking is free, and a complimentary shuttle; and
- a souvenir “Monster Button” for volunteers ages 13 to 17 as part of the regular Teen Volunteer Monster Button program at the library.
So, what are all the fun things that Puppet Festival volunteers get to help with? Here’s the rundown:
Information Booth Assistant: Sit or stand at one of the designated information kiosks and help guests find information about puppet shows, assist with ticketing information, help guests with directions, and provide general assistance.
Information Floater: Roam throughout the library and Church Street Park and help guests find information about puppet shows, assist with ticketing information, help guests with directions, and provide general assistance.
Puppet Show Host: Collect tickets from guests who have pre-purchased their tickets, keep a count of guests entering the venue, and allow standby guests to enter the venue. Hand guests surveys as they exit venues following the shows.
Ticket Booth Assistant: Print and distribute tickets upon guest requests for upcoming shows. No money handling involved. The library will be using the Tickets Nashville system and training will be provided on site.
Hospitality Room Assistant: Help to manage the hospitality room for the International Puppet Festival performers.
Volunteer Services Assistant: Assist the volunteer department with checking in and checking out volunteers for their shifts at the Festival. Help to keep volunteer snacks and beverages stocked and in good appearance.
The Nashville Public Library also has other ongoing volunteer needs, from shelving and checking in library books to serving as library archives volunteer. If you are a book worm and value our library system’s efforts to extend lifelong learning and discovery to all people, we encourage you to check out these opportunities to support the library throughout the year!