Category Archives: Volunteer Opportunities

Sign up for Weed Wrangle and support our local green spaces!

Join Weed Wrangle’s nation-wide effort to save our native plants. On Saturday, March 5, 10 local parks and nature centers are gathering volunteers to pull weeds and keep the invasive plants at bay.

This important work needs to be done annually so that our native plant communities can keep up their hard work of helping control erosion, moderate floods, filter water, decrease water needed for landscaping, and sequester carbon to combat climate change.
Ready to get started?

Pick a location below and sign up! Interested in learning more? Click here.

How can you serve your community on MLK Day?

MLK Day is a holiday dedicated to the remembrance and celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Making time to volunteer for this Day of Service is a great way to engage with your community while honoring the legacy of Dr. King. Whether you plan on cleaning up a public space, mentoring a young person, or assisting those who are food insecure, what you do makes a world of difference.

Below we have rounded up a list of MLK Day service projects for the week of Jan. 17-24. 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 #DayON. 

Collect books for donation with the Safe Haven Black Book Drive 
Safe Haven Family Shelter 
Minimum age: 15+
When: Ongoing until Jan. 31 

Want to support two causes at the same time? Safe Haven Family Shelter is collecting books that feature a civil rights leader and/or about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Volunteer by donating books to children experiencing homelessness and by supporting a Black-owned business!

Pick up debris at the West Nashville Encampment Clean Up 
Shower The People 
Minimum age: 16+
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24

Help Shower the People pick up litter and remove debris from the West Nashville/Brookemeade encampment shelter.  This is an important opportunity to help keep trash out of our local waterways and help our unhoused companions maintain a more suitable living space.

Read books with kids at the McNeilly Book Fair 
McNeilly Center for Children  
Minimum age: 10+
When: 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18

McNeilly Center for Children will need a few volunteers to assist staff during the book fair. Volunteers will help students pick books that interest them, and engage by reading and coloring together.

Remove invasive plants at Shelby Park
Friends of Shelby Park 
Minimum age: 14+
When: 1 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17

Help Friends of Shelby Park eliminate obtrusive plants that are harmful to the environment, human wealth, and/or the economy. Join other volunteers in investing energy and time while removing invasive plants. Snacks, water, and gloves will be provided. 

Maintain trains and keep visitors safe at the ‘Trains!’ exhibit
Adventure Science Center  
Minimum age: 14+
When: Jan. 13 – Jan. 31 

Bring joy to the community by helping the Adventure Science Center with their train exhibit! As a volunteer you will help staff clean and rotate engines, troubleshoot any faulty trains, and monitor the exhibit for safety and cleanliness. No experience necessary!

Beautify the McNeilly Center while learning more about Dr. King
McNeilly Center for Children
Minimum age: 5+
When: 9 a.m. – noon Monday, Jan. 17

Help get the center ready for spring by helping remove graffiti and other markings from the building, and getting the center’s flower planters ready for spring! This event will also include a discussion for volunteers about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s thoughts and teachings about education and childcare with McNeilly Executive Director, Alyssa Dituro. 

Deliver Food to Afghan Refugees
The Branch of Nashville
Minimum age: 12+
When: 5:30-6p.m. on Mondays

Volunteers are needed to pick up pre-made meals from the food bank and deliver them to Afghan families in the Nashville areas. The Branch is partnering with refugee resettlement agencies in Tennessee, and helping provide weekly food support to many of the 400 Afghan allies arriving in the area. 

Virtual Opportunities:

Tutor students through the accelerating scholars program
PENCIL 
Minimum age: 18+
When: Ongoing through Jan. 31

PENCIL is looking for volunteers to assist with reinforcing students’ learning capacities in various subject areas. Since the pandemic progress has slowed for many students, and with this transformative educational tool educators are hoping to get students back on track!

Teach English to adult learners with Conexión Américas!
Conexiόn Amѐricas 
Minimum age: 18+
When: Ongoing through April 20

Conexiόn Amѐricas is enlisting volunteer teachers for the Spring 2022 term for adult English students. Volunteers will provide 1-hour lessons two nights a week for a 12-week term. Educating experience is suggested, but not required for this rewarding experience.  

Hands On Nashville’s 2021 Guide to Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

Looking for ways to give back to the community this holiday season? We’ve got you covered with great opportunities for your family, or to do with friends! Thank you for your support of Middle Tennessee’s nonprofits, and from the HON family to yours, we hope you have a very happy holiday.

To view even more volunteer opportunities, visit our calendar.

Distribute gifts to Angel Tree families
Salvation Army Nashville

Minimum age: 12
When: Dec. 17-22

The Salvation Army needs volunteers to assist in distributing gifts to the Angel Tree families. The families will come to the warehouse beginning Dec. 17. Volunteer are needed to help locate gifts and take them to family’s cars.

Create postcards supporting the Build Back Better campaign
Tennessee Justice Center
Minimum age: 13 
When: December 20 

Join the Tennessee Justice Center for their holiday party on Zoom, where volunteers will be writing letters to congress as part of the Build Back Better Postcard Campaign.  During the festivities guests will be able to win raffle prizes, listen to Christmas music, and sit in on a Q&A about this latest campaign.

Guide guests through the magical world of Holiday Lights
Cheekwood Estates & Gardens 
Minimum age:
16
When:
Dec. 16 – Jan. 9

Greet guests and offer directions as folks explore the winter wonderland of Cheekwood’s Holiday Lights! Volunteers are stationed at major traffic areas throughout the gardens, and given an orientation to answer frequently-asked questions. Volunteers must be able to show COVID-19 vaccine care or image of card, and wear a mask indoors.

Wrap diapers for new families in need
Nashville Diaper Connection
Minimum age: 12
When: Dec. 30

Count and wrap diapers before they are packaged and distributed to families in need. Volunteers will help with labeling and organization of the diapers, and assist with other warehouse tasks as needed. Masks are required for all volunteers.

Cook a meal with the residents of Dismas House
Dismas House of Nashville
Minimum age: 12
When: Dec. 16 – 30

Dismas House is always looking for volunteers interested in preparing a meal (or ordering something in to share) with their residents! Volunteers can prepare meals in a state-of-the-art kitchen, with plenty of sous chefs for help! Each night has a culinary theme to help give you an idea of what to prepare. Italian, Asian, Mexican, and Breakfast for Dinner are just a few of the menu options!

Create Love Your Neighbor Notes to help spread cheer
Community Resource Center
Minimum age: 4
When: Ongoing (Virtual!)

Create notes, cards, and drawings from the comfort of your home with your little ones. The CRC uses these drawings to include in their hygiene and relief packages for neighbors in need. (Like those impacted by the Dec. 10-11 severe storms!) Creativity and color is always encouraged, and volunteers are asked to complete their cards within two weeks of signing up.

Foster a pet for a family in crisis
Pawster Nashville
Minimum age: 18
When: Ongoing

Pawster Nashville provides “Crisis Foster Care” for dogs and cats. When a pet owner is temporarily unable to care for their animal due to crisis, a volunteer foster is asked to care for the animal until their owner is back on their feet. Sign up to be a Pawster Foster, and you help keep a pet and their person together.

Help make improvements to Mill Ridge Park
Friends of Mill Ridge Park
Minimum age: 18
When: Dec. 21

Volunteer to improve primitive hiking trails at the forthcoming Mill Ridge Park in Antioch. Volunteering consists of a variety of instructed tasks, including brush clearing, digging and regrading, trash and debris removal, marking and signing trails on the natural parkland.

Prepare food totes for the community
Nashville General Hospital
Minimum age: 15
When: Dec. 16 – Jan. 27

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, volunteers package 30 to 60 food totes to be delivered to households that experience food insecurity. The food pharmacy is on the lower level of the hospital, so volunteers will be away from any patient areas. This is a great for individuals and small groups!

Get in a workout while helping the local community garden
BELL Garden
Minimum age: 18
When: Dec. 18

Some strong volunteers are needed to help prep the garden for the 2022 growing season! Volunteers will be asked to lift 50 pounds of mulch and soil and help spread it across the garden beds. The BELL Garden serves as a teaching and learning lab for volunteers, students of Bellevue Middle Prep, and the community.  

Volunteer during Fall Break!

With the leaves beginning to change and the smell of fall in the air — it’s time for this year’s fall roundup! Opportunities range between Oct. 8 – 17 and are great for college students home for Fall Break, or a parent looking for wholesome (and free!) ways to spend time with their kiddos.

Reminder: Many of our nonprofit partners have opportunities available all year long. Click the title of each opportunity to learn more and sign up. You can also find opportunities to volunteer all year long by visiting our calendar!

Pick up litter and keep Shelby Park beautiful
Friends of Shelby Park
Minimum age: 18, or 6 with an adult
When: Saturday, Oct. 9

Join the Friends of Shelby Park and your neighbors for a park-wide sweep of Shelby Park. Volunteers will be picking up trash to keep the park beautiful and keep litter out of our streams and rivers.

Share a meal with residents at Dismas House
Dismas House of Nashville
Minimum age: 18, 12 with an adult
When: Monday through Thursday, Oct. 11-14

Prepare dinner as a family (or order something in) and dine with the residents of Dismas House! Volunteers can prepare a meal in the Dismas state-of-the-art kitchen, or attend a Thursday night meal and help prepare dinner with the group.

Help prune and prep Nashville’s first permaculture park space
Grow Enrichment
Minimum age: 18, or 8 with an adult
When: Oct. 11  

Spend time as a family learning more about Nashville’s first permaculture
park. This park explores urban farming and woodlands to maximize food
production and utilizing space. Volunteers will help spread wood chips, mulch,
and transplant trees.

Sort and pack items for relief and hygiene kits
The Community Resource Center
Minimum age: 15, or 8 with an adult
When: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 

Set up production stations, sort materials (like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste) and compile kits for distribution. These kits are then given to people in need all over the community, from tornado survivors to those currently experiencing homelessness.

Prepare and distribute food bags to guests in need
The Branch of Nashville
Minimum age: 15, or 8 with an adult
When: Mondays through Saturdays

Volunteers and their families will be assisting with guest intake and preparing and distributing food bags for guests, while the little ones can help clean and assemble empty carts.

Help improve the farm at Mill Ridge Park
Friends of Mill Ridge
Minimum age: 18
When: Fridays, Oct. 8 – Oct. 15

Volunteers will help construct improvements to the farmyard and farmhouse, which involves planting, mulching, and pruning trees; removing invasive plants and weeds; debris and trash removal; farmhouse repairs; fence work, and more.

Prepare dinner as a family to share with local hospital guests
Hospital Hospitality House – Nashville
Minimum age: 18, or 10 with an adult
When: Tuesday and Thursday, Oct. 12 and 14

Prepare dinner at home with your family, then bring the meal to the Hospitality House to share with its guests. Dinner guests consist of patients and caregivers that stay at Hospitality House while seeking medical treatment in Nashville. Meals should feed approximately 30 people.

Help deep clean and organize the reuse center
Turnip Green Creative Reuse
Minimum age: 18
When: Monday, Oct. 11

Organize, clean, sort, and find fun ways to display donations at Turnip Green’s Reuse Center! Deep cleans are held on Mondays when the center is closed to the public. This is a great way to keep shoppers safe, and keep the store organized and tidy!

Direct guests and offer assistance at the Fall Craft Fair
Tennessee Craft
Minimum age: 18
When:  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Oct. 8 – 10

Volunteers are needed to direct vendors to their booth locations, bring in artwork and tents, keep traffic flowing, and assist fairgoers as they come to explore.

Tend to the community garden and prepare for the next planting season
Friends of Shelby Park
Minimum age: 18, or 12 with an adult
When: Oct. 16

Spend time as a family in nature helping the Friends of Shelby Park prep the community garden! Volunteers will help plant herbs, weed, and tend to existing plants. This is a great opportunity to teach young minds more about gardening!

Honor. Serve. Unite.

The September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance (9/11 Day), is a chance to help others in tribute to those killed and injured on September 11, 2001, first responders, and the countless others who serve to defend the nation’s freedom at home and around the globe.

We’re honored to be an Americorps host site that builds nonprofit capacity across Middle Tennessee as members receive skills training, professional development, and networking opportunities throughout their yearlong term.

This #911Day we’re encouraging our members, family, friends, and followers to serve in a remarkable spirit of unity, honor, and compassion.

We would love to share your stories of service. Please feel free to tag us on social media at @HONashville and use the #911Day hashtag.

Remember, even a small act of service is a giant act of patriotism. 

Join us in improving mental health awareness!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and our partner at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has spent the month sharing some amazing resources we would like to pass on to you.

DID YOU KNOW:

  • Previously 1 in 5 people in any given year could have a diagnosable mental health condition. With COVID-19 that is now 1 in three.
  • Youth have been hit disproportionately. With 74 percent of 18-24 years-olds polled by the CDC, reporting an increase in anxiety of depression.
  • Unpaid caregivers of adults reported a 33 percent increase in adverse mental health conditions and an increase suicidal ideation.
  • People having thoughts of self-harm, or are having difficulty with interruptive and persistent thoughts that are interfering with the ability to work, go to school, or maintain relationships, can call the 24-hour TN Mental Health Crisis Line at 855-274-7471.
  • Contact NAMI Davidson County’s weekday Helpline for information on local mental health resources and free evidenced-based, peer-led support groups for people with mental health issues, and their family members at 615-891-4724 or go to namidavidson.org for information.

Hands On Nashville is very fortunate to partner with multiple organizations who specialize in mental health services. If you would like to volunteer with one of our mental health partners, click here.

Spring Break volunteer opportunities for the whole family

It’s Spring Break! With temperatures finally getting warmer and the kids home for the week (or the past year, depending on your situation), you may be going a little stir crazy looking for ways to keep them engaged while also building memories as a family. Well, we’re here to help! Below are a few options for things to do together, ranging for kids as young as 5 years old to those who are young at heart. 

Here’s a quick and easy video that explains how to volunteer as a family! 


Wrap and pack diapers for new parents in need as a Diaper Bank Volunteer
Age minimum with an adult: 12  
Minimum age: 16+  

Nashville Diaper Connection is looking for volunteers to help count, wrap, and package diapers. The diapers will then be labeled and organized for distribution to the Diaper Connection’s community partners. Opportunities are offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. 

Compile hygiene relief kits with the Community Resource Center 
Age minimum with an adult: 8+ 
Minimum age: 15+ 

Volunteers are essential to setting up production stations, sorting materials (like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste) and compiling kits for distribution. These kits are then given to people in need all over the community, from tornado survivors to those currently experiencing homelessness. Opportunities are offered from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Write letters to seniors and people with disabilities to brighten their day 
Age minimum with an adult: 1+ 
Minimum age: 16+ 

Help bring some cheer to isolated seniors by creating drawings and writing letters to those in nursing homes and those who are in disabled living facilities. Families can create their drawings at home, and after “expressing interest” in this opportunity a volunteer leader will share how to mail them. For March the theme is “Spring and Easter.” 
This opportunity is virtual and can be completed at any time. 

A child writes letters for seniors and those in assisted living communities.
A young volunteer writes letters for the elderly and
those with disabilities with the Greater Nashville Regional Council.

Prepare a meal for families in the hospital with a loved one
Age minimum with an adult: 10 
Minimum age: 18+ 

The Hospital Hospitality House is looking for volunteers to graciously provide dinner to the patients and caregivers who are staying at the Hospitality House while receiving treatment in Nashville. These dinners provide comfort and a sense of community. This opportunity is offered with a flexible schedule. 

Plant trees at at Westmeade Elementary
Age minimum with an adult: 6+ 
Minimum age: 16+ 

Planting trees provides shade, helps filter air pollution, creates an oxygen rich environment, and reduces flooding by absorbing great amounts of groundwater. Together, families can learn how to plant and care for trees, while also joining forces to make Nashville a greener community! This opportunity is from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 20. 

Help remove weeds at Ellington Agriculture Center
Age minimum with an adult: 7+ 
Minimum age: 18+ 

Help remove invasive species of plants from Ellington Agricultural Center to prepare the ground for planting. Once the invasive plants have been cleared, white oak seedlings will be planted in their place! This opportunity is from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 20 

Unload donations with GraceWorks Ministries
Age minimum with an adult: 7+ 
Minimum age: 18+ 

Unload donations from people’s cars and assist in getting them sorted. GraceWorks Ministries  collects donations for its thrift store on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. This opportunity is offered daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

For a full list of our opportunities, click here.

It may be cold now, but spring is almost here! Check out these outdoorsy volunteer opportunities coming up

Middle Tennessee feels like a frozen tundra lately, but we’ve got dreams of spring. As the days grow longer and the weather warms, lots of local organizations are planting trees, prepping gardens, and getting park and public spaces cleaned up and ready for prime time.  

Want to get out of the house for a workout that will also help beautify the city? Here are some upcoming volunteer opportunities soon blooming near you: 

Prep the BELL Garden for the upcoming growing season (several shifts)

The Bellevue Edible Learning Lab is gearing up for another growing season and needs community engagement! The garden serves as teaching and learning lab for volunteers, students of Bellevue Middle Prep, and for the community. No gardening experience is necessary. Children are allowed with adult supervision.  

SIGN UP HERE (several shifts available) 

Clean out the Inspiritus gardens in preparation for planting (multiple dates)

The Inspiritus Healthy Garden Program empowers families in public and subsidized housing to grow their own food in raised-bed gardens right outside their doors. Volunteers are needed to clean out the gardens and prepare them for spring planting. Inspiritus will provide tools — just dress warmly and bring gloves! 

SIGN UP HERE (several shifts available) 

Take back the earth from invasive species during Weed Wrangle (March 6, multiple locations)

Nothing says spring’s coming like the annual Weed Wrangle! Hundreds of people will take to parks and public spaces to pull up invasive plant species — honeysuckle, privet, winter creeper, and more. Weed Wrangle is being held in Shelby Bottoms, Cumberland Park, Two Rivers Park, Harpeth Hall, Forest Hills, Cheekwood, Owl’s Hill, and Warner Parks.   

BROWSE LOCATIONS AND SIGN UP HERE  

Replenish the urban canopy with Nashville Tree Foundation (March 3 and March 6)

NTF’s Releaf 2020 campaign aims to restore Nashville’s canopy, which took a huge hit during the March 3, 2020, tornado. Two upcoming events will help establish trees in East Nashville. Both opportunities are family friendly and allow for children as young as 6 to participate if they are accompanied by an adult.  

SIGN UP FOR MARCH 3 HERE (East Nashville) 
 
SIGN UP FOR MARCH 6 HERE (Shelby Park) 
 

Help beautify Radnor Lake State Park (several dates in spring, summer, and fall)

Volunteers are needed to build and mulch trails, remove invasive plants, and occasionally to help clean trash out of the park and streams. The work can be strenuous but it’s very rewarding to support such a beautiful state park right here in our back yard. Projects happen rain or shine. 

SIGN UP HERE 

Help Turnip Green Creative Reuse establish a community garden (Feb. 20)

Volunteers will get their hands dirty to help build out a community garden and outdoor learning space in Wedgewood-Houston. Activities may include creating composting and rainwater collection site, building and maintaining garden beds from reusable materials, and building pollinator hotels from recycled materials. 

SIGN UP HERE (full but you can join the waiting list)  
 

Friends of Shelby Park small tree planting (Feb. 20)

Volunteers will transplant seedlings from the tree nursery to their forever homes in Shelby Park, which was hit hard by the March 3, 2020, tornado.  

SIGN UP HERE (full but you can join the waiting list) 

Volunteers will remind groups about safety guidelines

As the holidays kick off and revelers and shoppers are more likely to spend time out and about in groups, the Metro Public Health Department is looking for volunteers to help spread the word about masks and social distancing. Katie Stone from Metro Public Health took time to answer some questions for Hands On Nashville about how a mask and social distancing ambassador spends a volunteer shift.  

HONWhat will a shift as a mask and social distancing ambassador look like for a volunteer?   

Katie: The volunteers will initially meet up as a group with the Health Dept representative and will be given a hat and a yellow “Public Health Volunteer” shirt to clearly identify them.  From there, depending on the number of people available, we will disperse and walk around to ensure visibility. Volunteers will work in groups of 2. 

HONTo what parts of town will volunteers deploy?  

Katie: The current areas are Lower Broadway, Opry Mills Mall, and Green Hills Mall.  However, some of those may change based on need and number of signups. 

HONWhat happens if someone takes offense to the volunteer’s suggestions?   

Katie: The volunteer should simply walk away and let the Health Dept representative know if they have any concerns.  

HONWhy are these volunteer ambassadors important to Metro’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19?  

Katie: As is now widely known, the wearing of masks and maintaining distance from others greatly reduces the spread of COVID-19. However, pandemic fatigue is setting in, and we have found that a visible reminder (by way of people wearing yellow “Public Health Volunteer” shirts and hats) of the need to continue following recommendations is very helpful in encouraging those out in public to wear their masks and remain socially distant. By encouraging people to wear masks and stay socially distanced, volunteers can help stop the spread and keep our city and economy going until COVID-19 is behind us. 

Show of Hands Week Day 6: Virtual Volunteering

Between May 1-7, Hands On Nashville will highlight ways to stay connected and serve your neighbors even as our community honors social distancing guidelines. Check back here and on our social media channels to join in our #ShowOfHandsWeek: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

For Nashville’s nonprofit organizations, it has become increasingly important to continue meeting community needs while supporting volunteers and keeping them as safe and healthy as possible. Many organizations have come up with creative ways people can volunteer from the comfort of their own homes.

TODAY’S ACTIVITIES (MAY 6): Find a Virtual Volunteer Opportunity

These activities support organizations working to meet the needs of their communities here and afar through virtual volunteerism.

#ShowOfHandsWeek Activities

FRIDAY, MAY 1: Raise your hand and tell us why you choose to be a helper

SATURDAY, MAY 2: Sign up to serve as a volunteer in May

SUNDAY, MAY 3: Bring color and hope to a neighbor with flowers 

MONDAY, MAY 4: Join the local mask-making effort

TUESDAY, MAY 5: Give thanks for those on the front lines

TODAY: Find a virtual volunteer opportunity

THURSDAY, MAY 7: Support volunteerism and Hands On Nashville via The Big Payback