Category Archives: Volunteerism

Volunteer to support student success this school year!

Davidson County students are heading back to school next week, and our education partners could use your help! Mentor students, lead field trips, or organize classrooms — there are all kinds of ways to help! Keep scrolling for just a few of our suggestions, and learn how you can help make this school year the best one yet!

Read with preschoolers during a weekly storytime
King’s Daughters Child Development Center

When: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through November

Visit preschoolers at a local child development center and read them stories! This quick volunteer opportunity only takes about 30 minutes. Volunteers can spend a quick visit with the kids, or read for multiple classes.

Create informative videos to educate students virtually
PENCIL
When:
Ongoing through December

Pick a topic surrounding elementary-level reading, middle school STEAM classes, or high school career readiness and preparation, and using your cell phone create a short, informative video for students! Videos can be between five and 15 minutes, and be simple and fun. Help PENCIL keep students engaged through virtual learning.

Educate kids during field study visits to the farm
The Land Trust for Tennessee
When:
9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13

Attend orientation with The Land Trust for Tennessee to begin hosting field trips when kids visit the farm! Volunteers will lead activities stations about trees, the history of the farm, gardening, the animals, and how to compost.

Offer field trip support to school groups visiting the museum
National Museum of African American Music
(NMAAM)
When: Ongoing through December

NMAAM volunteers will assist with chaperoning school-age students during field trips to the museum. Volunteers will engage with students and support logistics, group management, and enforcing safety protocols. Field trip support volunteers may help with facilitating school lunches and providing cleanup after.  

Provide academic and social-emotional support to elementary school students
FiftyForward
When:
Ongoing through December

FiftyForward is looking for adult volunteers age 55 and older to assist with their Friends Learning in Pairs (FLIP) tutoring program. Volunteers will serve as tutors and lunch buddies at partner schools and are an important part of helping students succeed.  FLIP tutors serve once or twice a week for approximately two hours at a time, meeting one-on-one with up to four students. 

Oversee play time and help with children’s homework
Begin Anew
When:
Ongoing through November

Volunteer as a children’s program volunteer and help children with their homework when needed; oversee playtime and facilitate enrichment activities, and lead bible study programming. Volunteers are needed at the Franklin and Nashville locations.

Tutor students through an accelerated scholars program
PENCIL
When:
Ongoing through December

The Accelerating Scholars program is recruiting community volunteers to tutor more than 7,000 MNPS students who need a little extra help and personalized support, especially in elementary reading or middle school and high school math. Volunteers provide support in three, 30-minute-long virtual tutoring sessions every week ​​during the fall semester beginning September 19.

Help with light maintenance and storage organization projects at a local center
YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee
When: Ongoing through January 2023

Help the YWCA with cleaning, maintaining the grounds, storage organization, donation sorting, and more! The YWCA helps families leave abusive households and start new lives. We provide free HiSET education to men and women and mentor middle & high school girls and boys in some of Nashville’s toughest neighborhoods. 

Tutor students to take the GED
Begin Anew
When:
Ongoing through November

Begin Anew is looking for volunteers to commit to a one-hour weekly tutoring session with adult learners preparing to take their GED! Subjects include math, reading, writing, social studies, and science.  Instruction is offered one-on-one or in small groups. 

Work in the gardens at Glencliff High School
Metro Nashville Public Schools
When: 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, and Sept. 24

Learn techniques for growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and other common vegetables, install drip irrigation, sow and harvest the plants, and more at Glencliff High School. All produce is harvested and distributed to local families or marketed and sold by students as part of their school-based enterprise. Proceeds benefit activities and trips for the school’s FFA chapter.

Become a volunteer reading tutor for students grades K-5
Y-CAP YMCA
When:
Ongoing through December

Virtually tutor young readers who are currently reading below their grade level. Volunteers will work with children in kindergarten through fifth grade to improve their literacy and comprehension skills. The YMCA offers a straightforward training process to ensure volunteers are ready to get reading.

Cut out materials for teachers to use in the classroom
PENCIL
When:
Morning and afternoon shifts available on Wednesdays

Use die-cut machines to create flashcards and other resources for teachers to use this coming school year. PENCIL provides a free resource center for teachers to shop and help stock their classrooms for a year of learning.

Encourage and mentor students through multiple learning programs
Begin Anew
When:
Ongoing through November

Work with students on a weekly basis to build relationships and encourage them as they work through HSE (High School Equivalency) programs, learn English, or complete computer and job skills training.
(Mentors also needed in Madison or Franklin!)

Savage volunteers at Shelby Park

Another great volunteer project completed with Friends of Shelby Park! Five hundred #SavageStrong volunteers came out on June 24 to build picnic tables, assemble fences, and help beautify the park! We’re so grateful for all their hard work! Please see the pictures below for an overview of the day.
Photos by Ademola Ogunnaike.

Want to volunteer with your team? Learn more here!

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.

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. 

Host a voting party to select your favorite stories of service during the Strobel Awards!

Each year, Hands On Nashville celebrates Middle Tennessee’s outstanding volunteers through the Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards. More than 140 nominations have been narrowed down to 21 finalists, and now it’s time for you to weigh in!  

You can help ensure these inspiring stories are seen widely by hosting a voting party for friends, family, or colleagues. Act fast because voting closes on June 15!

How to host a voting party in three easy steps: 

1) Schedule a 30-minute event (virtual or in person, but you will need tech to vote) with your guests. This is plenty of time to read all of the great stories, vote for your favorite volunteer in each category, and share on social media. Here is some language to use in the invite if you’d like: Join me for a voting party! Let’s get inspired by Nashville’s amazing volunteers and help them win $1,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. You can also win a $250 Target gift card! Here is the voting page if you want a sneak peak!  

2) During the event, encourage participants to share their favorite stories, favorite volunteers, and favorite agencies. This should be a fun, inspiring, high-energy voting party. Ask if guests have their own inspiring stories to share.   

3) Reserve the last 5 to 10 minutes to ensure that all participants vote for one finalist in each category and then share their excitement/choice on social media — being sure to tag @HONashville. Consider posting a “group photo” from your voting party, too! 

Things to remember: 

  • You can vote for your favorite volunteer once/day from now through June 15. 
  • Each vote automatically enters you into a drawing to win a $250 Target gift card.  
  • The award recipient in each category will receive $1,000 to donate to the nonprofit agency of their choice! 
  • The lucky gift card winner and the Strobel Award recipients will be announced on July 1.

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.

Happy National Volunteer Week!

It’s National Volunteer Week! And while Hands On Nashville celebrates volunteers every day of the year, we want to mark this occasion by sharing a very special and sincere THANK YOU with the volunteers who have given so much of themselves to help their neighbors.

“We are living in a moment that calls for hope and light and love.  Hope for our futures, light to see our way forward, and love for one another.  Volunteers provide all three.  Service — the act of looking out for one another — is part of who we are as a Nation.  Our commitment to service reflects our understanding that we can best meet our challenges when we join together.  This week, we recognize the enduring contributions of our Nation’s volunteers and encourage more Americans to join their ranks.”

Read more from the Presidential Proclamation on National Volunteer Week 2021 here.

And visit hon.org to find a volunteer project!

    

Have fun — and make a difference — at work through volunteering

Jan. 29 is National Fun at Work Day, and while it can sometimes be hard to think about “fun” and “work” in the same sentence, there’s never been a better time to find creative ways to engage and bond with your co-workers.  

One of the most fun and fulfilling team-building exercises is volunteering!  

Robert Half survey found that 61% of U.S. workers believe that taking part in charitable activities outside work makes them feel better and allows them to be more effective on the job. Many companies have responded to this by offering paid volunteer time for their employees, or by organizing volunteer projects for employees. Volunteering is a fantastic way to foster communication and trust within an employee team — and it has the incredible benefit of strengthening the community. 

“It felt good to be able to do something for someone else during the pandemic. Teachers do so much for their students, so it was important to me to be able to give back to them and let them know how much they mean to us.” — Debbie M., volunteer with Ingram Content Group 

COVID-19 has made it difficult for large employee groups to gather for many types of volunteer projects. That’s why Hands On Nashville’s corporate engagement team works hard to curate safe and creative volunteer project options for companies wanting to engage their employees in service. 

In 2020, employee volunteers assembled more than 5,000 care kits for seniors, students, individuals experiencing homelessness, teachers, and veterans. Those kits could be assembled and personalized at home, and many employees enjoyed including their own families in the fun. 

Other employee volunteers in 2020 took part in safe and socially distanced tree plantings, or done-in-a-day tech projects that strengthened local nonprofits’ core functions. 

This year, when thinking about making work more fun — and meaningful — what could that mean for your team? 

If you’re interested in learning more about volunteer projects for your company, we’d love to hear from you! 

2020 volunteerism by the numbers

In spite of — and because of — all the challenges of 2020, Nashville volunteers made a strong showing in 2020. The numbers below reflect a community that shows up for its neighbors. We are grateful for you. See you in 2021!  

OVERVIEW 

Volunteers who signed up to serve: 52,000+ 

New hon.org volunteer registrations: 34,000+ 

Projects on the calendar: 6,600+ 

Virtual or remote projects: 440+ 

New long-term or flexibly scheduled projects: 160+ 

Economic value volunteers created for community partners: $2.29 million 

SKILLS-BASED AND LONG-TERM SERVICE 

• HON placed 23 AmeriCorps members at 13 local nonprofits for a yearlong term of service. 

• HON’s GeekCause volunteers completed 24 tech projects, which saved our community partners $169,773

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT 

• The corporate engagement team enlisted 1,265 volunteers who donated 6,100+ hours of their time to support 13 local nonprofits. 

• Several employee teams utilized new at-home and kit-based project models to create 5,000+ care packages for teachers, students, veterans, individuals experiencing homelessness, and seniors. Those at-home projects allowed many to engage their families in their volunteer activities.

DISASTER RESPONSE   

• Individuals who signed up to help with disaster relief: 35,000+ 

• Individuals who volunteered at a disaster-relief project (some many times): 11,200+  

• Disaster-relief projects completed since March: 2,300+ 

Five ways to make a difference in 2021

What a year it’s been. It’s hard to imagine what life will look like after such a chaotic and challenging 2020. We know one thing for sure: Nashville’s needs aren’t going away just because the calendar flips over to 2021. Volunteers will still be needed. They’re the gift that keeps on giving to the community all year long.  

So, what can you do? 

Here are five easy ways to make a difference in 2021: 

1. Commit to volunteer 3 hours per month 

It’s so easy through hon.org! Sign up to volunteer with more than 200 local organizations. Fly solo or serve as a family or team, find an in-person or virtual project, enjoy an outdoors project, or even select a project where you can utilize your creative or technical skills.   

2. Donate to empower other volunteers 

Independent Sector says volunteer time is valuable: It’s worth $27.20 per hour! That means volunteers who donate three hours of their time each month are essentially donating $81.80 monthly to the organization they help. So maybe your schedule is packed and there’s no time to volunteer. Can you commit to donate $81.80 each month — the equivalent of three hours of volunteering? Any amount helps HON cultivate active volunteers. Click here to set up your sustaining donation now

3. Give while you shop  

Add Hands On Nashville to your Amazon Smile account. It’s totally free and allows your regularly scheduled shopping to benefit the community automatically. 

4. Use your paid volunteer hours if you have them 

Many companies offer paid time off for their employees to volunteer. Don’t let this benefit go to waste! If your company doesn’t already offer paid volunteer time, ask if that’s something they’d be willing to implement in the future! Or maybe even ask your boss if your colleagues could volunteer as a teambuilding exercise. Need ideas on where to go and what to do? That’s why HON is here! 

5. Like, share, and comment on HON’s social media posts

Every time you engage with one of our posts, it increases our reach on social. And when our reach on social grows, we are able to recruit more volunteers and meet more critical needs in the community. Stop doom scrolling and get inspired! Check us out on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.