Category Archives: Volunteers who inspire us

Resolve to Serve Stories: YMCA of Middle Tennessee

“Many mentors show up wanting to make an impact on a child’s life,” said Larry, a volunteer for YMCA of Middle Tennessee’s Reach and Rise Program. “My role is to share positive encouragement as a mentee finds his own direction.”

During most of his professional career, Larry called the shots. After retiring from nearly 20 years in an executive position, he became a volunteer youth mentor in the YMCA of Middle Tennessee’s Reach and Rise Program. Larry quickly took a backseat approach, giving his mentee the space to articulate needs and drive their connection.

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Larry, mentor at YMCA’s Reach & Rise Program 

Cassanora Lampley, Reach and Rise Program Director at the YMCA, said this dynamic is common among mentor-mentee relationships. “Mentors enter the program expecting that youth will benefit from their influence, but our adult participants truly learn and grow,” she said. Mentors like Larry meet with their mentees once per week for a year, with additional activities taking place in group settings. Together, the pairs work to progress toward mentees’ physical, academic, emotional, and/or spiritual goals.

In one partnership, Larry’s mentee entered the program when his mother hoped to introduce positive male role models into his life. Their age difference was significant – Larry in his 60s, his mentee in his teens – but the two recognized common interests, such as a love of playing musical instruments, which began to set the tone for their outings.

Larry represents a portion of the Reach and Rise Program’s core volunteers: retired professionals who seek meaningful ways to spend their time. Young professionals looking to give back are also centric to the program.

Volunteering for Reach and Rise is a long-term engagement, and approximately 80 percent of participants connect to the opportunity through Hands On Nashville. “If it weren’t for our partnership with HON, we likely wouldn’t have the consistent volunteer engagement that drives our work,” said Lampley. Due to such engagement, the program helps youth gain perspective and support for pressures and challenges in their lives, while providing motivation for mentees to reach their greatest potential.

The YMCA strives to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. In that Christian principles are caring and inclusive, the Y respects various expressions of religion and serves people from all faith traditions and perspectives. Browse all volunteer opportunities with the YMCA.

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2018 Strobel Volunteer Award nominees and Nashville in Harmony began the ceremony with a celebration of service.

Hands On Nashville Announces 2018 Strobel Volunteer Award Recipients

April 25, 2018 – Middle Tennesseans were honored for their volunteerism at Hands On Nashville’s 32nd Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, presented by Advance Financial Foundation.

The award recipients are as follows:

  • Cheri Ferrari – Capacity-building Volunteer Award
  • Operation Song – Civic Volunteer Group Award
  • Media Star Promotions – Corporate Volunteerism Award
  • Leeana Edwards – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages five to 20)
  • Sean Druffel – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages 21 to 49)
  • Anthony J. Viglietti – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages 50+)

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

2018 Strobel Volunteer Award nominees and Nashville in Harmony began the ceremony with a celebration of service.
2018 Strobel Volunteer Award nominees and Nashville in Harmony began the ceremony with a celebration of service.

Nashville in Harmony opened the awards ceremony with a choir performance in recognition of the award nominees and finalists. Great-granddaughter of Mary Catherine Strobel, Veronica Pierce, shared an invocation prior to the meal; Charles Strobel, son of Mary Catherine Strobel and founding director of Room In The Inn, closed the ceremony with remarks about his mother’s legacy and the value of service.

“Hands On Nashville’s inspiration for the Strobel Volunteer Awards is to tell the stories of volunteers like Mary Catherine Strobel,” said Lori Shinton, President and CEO of Hands On Nashville. “We are honored to create a space to recognize their work, their impact, and be reminded of the many opportunities we all have to support each other as volunteers.”

Community members submitted 126 nominations for the 2018 Strobel Volunteer Awards.

Charles Strobel, son of Mary Catherine Strobel and founding director of Room in the Inn
Charles Strobel, son of Mary Catherine Strobel and founding director of Room in the Inn, shared closing remarks at the ceremony.

“In our nation and our community, there are major needs and ordinary needs. Most of them go without asking. One of the most distinguishing marks about Mama is that she anticipated the needs of so many, and so do the volunteers we honor today,” said Charles Strobel, son of Mary Catherine Strobel and founding director of Room in the Inn. “It’s our family’s great joy to be part of this tribute.”

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

David Fox, Managing Partner at MP&F Public Relations; Cheri Ferrari; Lori Shinton, President and CEO of Hands On Nashville
David Fox, Managing Partner at MP&F Public Relations; Cheri Ferrari; Lori Shinton, President and CEO of Hands On Nashville

Cheri Ferrari received the 2018 Capacity-building Volunteer Award for her work with The Nashville Food Project. The award honors individuals who provide significant operational or administrative support to a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry or community organization.

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Mark Deutschmann, CEO of Village Real Estate; Bob Regan; Lori Shinton

Operation Song, which pairs musicians with veterans and active-duty military to write songs through partnership, received the 2018 Civic Volunteer Group Award. The category honors representatives of civic, membership, faith-based or non-corporate groups that volunteer together for a specific cause or issue.

2018 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Award Celebration_4548
Ashley Bostic, Director of Culture and Community Giving at Change Healthcare; Media Star Promotions; Lori Shinton

Media Star Promotions received the 2018 Corporate Volunteerism Award in honor of its ongoing service to The Nashville Food Project. The award pays tribute to businesses that have robust employee volunteer programs with high levels of participation and impact.

2018 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Award Celebration_4551
Stephen Francescon, Community Relations Manager at Piedmont Natural Gas; Leeana Edwards; Lori Shinton

The Direct Service Volunteer Awards recognize individuals who have contributed significant volunteer time, energy and/or resources to support an agency’s constituents. Leeana Edwards, a volunteer at Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Alvin C. York VA Medical Center, received the 2018 award for the category honoring nominees of ages five to 20.

Jennifer Simpkins, Factory Conformance Analyst at U.S. Smokeless Tobacco; Sean Druffel; Lori Shinton
Jennifer Simpkins, Factory Conformance Analyst at U.S. Smokeless Tobacco; Sean Druffel; Lori Shinton

Sean Druffel, longtime Habitat for Humanity ReStore volunteer, received the 2018 Direct Service Volunteer Award for ages 21 to 49.

Susannah Berry, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Jackson National Life Insurance; Anthony J. Viglietti; Lori Shinton
Susannah Berry, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Jackson National Life Insurance; Anthony J. Viglietti; Lori Shinton

Anthony J. Viglietti, a volunteer with Nashville Cherry Blossom Fesitval and Friends of Riverside Drive, received the 2018 Direct Service Volunteer Award for ages 50 plus. Viglietti led the effort to plant more than 1,000 Japanese cherry trees throughout Nashville’s streets and public spaces.

All photos are credit of Kerry Woo Photography.

For More Information

Please contact Jessica Moog at Hands On Nashville: (615) 298-1108 ext. 415; jessica@hon.org.

About the Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards

The Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards are named in memory of the late Mary Catherine Strobel, known for her extensive and charitable efforts toward improving the lives of Middle Tennessee’s homeless, impoverished and less fortunate populations. The annual awards ceremony celebrates her service and recognizes those who continue her legacy. View all nominees for the 2018 awards.

About Hands On Nashville

Hands On Nashville (HON) builds capacity for individuals and agencies to meet needs through service. Its programs connect volunteers to opportunities supporting 100+ nonprofits, schools, and other civic organizations; help these partners reimagine volunteer potential; and bring awareness to the challenges facing the people and places in our community. For more information, visit HON.org or call (615) 298-1108.

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Hands On Nashville announces the 2018 Strobel Volunteer Award nominees

Congratulations to the incredible volunteers nominated for the 2018 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Categories and nominees are listed below.

Save the date for the award ceremony: Join Hands On Nashville on Wednesday, April 25 to celebrate volunteerism in our community.

Capacity-building Volunteer

Honors individuals who provide significant operational or administrative support to a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry or community organization, or developed an innovative approach to significantly improve an existing program.

  • Anna-Vija McClain
  • Carroll Kimball
  • Cheri Ferrari
  • Don Cornwell
  • Eddie Pearson
  • Gerald Davis
  • Heather Hicks
  • Helen Miles
  • Jane Baxter
  • Janet Kuhn
  • Jeff Parrish
  • Jen Robinson
  • Joe Christopher
  • Joey Hatch
  • John O’Shea
  • Kay Kretsch
  • Laneisha Coburn
  • Laura Beth Hyman
  • Laura Da Fonte
  • Leigh and Bear Barnes
  • Michael Gray
  • Mona Binda
  • Phil Holt
  • Rachel Petty
  • Robbie Williams
  • Robin Puryear
  • Samantha Perez
  • Terry Demars
  • Trish Sanders

Corporate Volunteerism

Pays tribute to businesses that have robust employee volunteer programs with high levels of participation and impact. 

  • Asurion
  • Bank Director
  • Bridgestone Americas
  • Cigna
  • Dell Nashville
  • Deloitte
  • Ingram Marine Group
  • Jackson National Life Insurance Company
  • LifePoint Health
  • Mars Petcare
  • Media Star Promotions
  • Nashville Predators
  • Nissan North America
  • Geodis
  • Publix Super Markets
  • Steve Ward and Associates
  • Two Men and a Truck
  • United Parcel Service (UPS)

Civic Volunteer Group

Recognizes representatives of civic, membership, faith-based or non-corporate groups that volunteer together for a specific cause or issue. 

  • Beta Upsilon Chi
  • Cooper Trooper Foundation
  • Covenant Baptist Church Women
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Nashville Alumnae Chapter
  • Education Equal Opportunity Group
  • First Baptist Church Goodlettsville, Women’s Ministry
  • Greater Nashville Realtors
  • Junior League of Nashville
  • Murfreesboro Young Professionals
  • Music City Community Court
  • NHA Silver Socializers
  • Operation Song
  • Perenity
  • Royal Hills Neighborhood Organization
  • The Oak Hill School
  • Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Nashville Capitol City Chapter

Direct Service Volunteer (ages five to 20)

Recognizes individuals who have contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources to help an agency’s constituents.

  • Allison Heard
  • Caroline Kreh
  • Carter Hyde
  • Gitanjali Rao
  • Gracie Stambaugh
  • Leanna Edwards
  • Margot May
  • Melina Nguyen
  • Nora Ryan
  • Sam Strang
  • Sidney Starling
  • Vince Dick

Direct Service Volunteer (ages 21 to 49)

  • Andy Morris
  • Arville Knight
  • Brittany Taussig
  • Casey Enright
  • Charlotte Avant
  • Jennifer Radcliffe
  • Jill Heyman
  • Josiah Holland
  • Julie Hornsby
  • Lesley Patterson-Marx
  • Paige Cruse
  • Robyn Saunders
  • Sean Druffel
  • Talisha Robertson
  • Tim Slate
  • Victoria Driver

Direct Service Volunteer (ages 50 plus)

  • Amelia Workman
  • Andy Womack
  • Anthony J. Viglietti
  • Bette Christofersen
  • Bill and Mary Jean Murphy
  • Brenda Hix
  • Carolyn Nash
  • Catherine Thornburg
  • Charlotte Swor
  • Don Cornwell
  • Donice Kaufman-Stewart
  • Ed Batsel
  • Geri Franske
  • Gordon Dunaway
  • Harold Pinney
  • James Hogge
  • Janie Busbee
  • Janie Luna
  • Jean Styron
  • Jen Robinson
  • Joyce Page
  • Karen Catron
  • Kathy Shaw
  • Ken Watford
  • Larry Christian
  • Lela Hollabaugh
  • Marilyn Bagford
  • Mary Beth Pacsi
  • Mary Buckner
  • Nancy Mally
  • Pam Cavala
  • Pat McDougal
  • Patricia Wright
  • Saralu Lunn
  • Warren White

Building Houses; Building Communities: Why the Jones Company Commits to Giving Back

There’s a world of difference between a string of homes and a community. The Jones Company sees that line each day. Founded in 1927, the home-building organization has a 90-year history of watching neighborhoods grow and change.

Bob Jones, the company’s founder, had a dedication to philanthropy that lives on in the organization today. By prioritizing energy efficiency in new homes and actively volunteering with local nonprofits, the Jones Company works to build stronger communities, in addition to new homes.

2017 was the Jones Company’s 90th year in business. To celebrate, employees participated in volunteer projects throughout the year. Serving with Second Harvest Food Bank, Operation Stand Down Tennessee, Safe Haven Family Shelter and Hands On Nashville’s Home Energy Savings (HES) program, Jones Company volunteers from every department – from sales to purchasing, accounting to construction – worked to meet needs related to housing and well being for residents in the community we all share.

“We wouldn’t have been in business this long without an attitude of thankfulness – for our customers, our business and our neighbors. Giving back is part of that,” said Bridget Thompson, director of marketing at The Jones Company. “It’s amazing what a group of volunteers can accomplish when they share their talents and resources.”

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HES projects are a natural fit for The Jones Company, as HON’s work to cut utility costs for neighbors living on low incomes mirrors the Jones Company’s initiative to employ energy conservation in all new homes. Such efforts are also a priority for Jones Company customers. “Affordable housing doesn’t just mean getting into a house and making a monthly payment – it’s also the upkeep,” said Thompson.

For Jones Company employees, volunteering as a group also offers the chance to step out of daily roles and take a break. During one Second Harvest project, Jones teammates got a kick out of seeing their colleagues, construction workers nearly always wearing work clothes, wearing hairnets, shelling peas and having fun.

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In today’s business world, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become less of an option and more of a requirement. According to Deloitte, 70 percent of millennials are influenced by a company’s CSR practices when considering taking a job. For Jones Company, however, building community simply comes with the territory.

Thank you, Jones Company, for spending your 90th year in service!

Learn how to increase your team’s corporate social responsibility.

Why Nashville Public Library’s volunteers keep coming back

There’s no limit to what dedicated volunteers can accomplish in a day. Some projects require a longer time commitment, however – days, weeks or even months. The Nashville Public Library (NPL) knows this divide well, as 90 percent of its volunteer opportunities require long-term support.

NPL recognizes an annual “Volunteer of the Year” to help thank dedicated community members for their work. Long-term volunteer Julia Jones was awarded the title in 2017.

Julia
Julia Jones, NPL Volunteer of the Year 2017

Jones’ nomination highlights both her commitment to service and her valued role at the library:

“At the core of everything Julia does is her kindness, devotion, sensitivity, free-spiritedness, and a wonderful sense of humor. She warmly welcomes each and every guest at story time and other children’s events, addressing the children and their parents by name and showing genuine interest in them. She sings, she dances, she laughs, and in so doing, encourages the children and their caregivers to sing and dance and laugh. She encourages participants to explore the collection, recommends materials, and helps them locate those items in the library. She walks them to the door, helps them carry personal belongings, and makes patrons feel they are part of a big, Donelson family.”

– Kathryn Shaw, Donelson Branch Library Volunteer Leader

NPL lists all long-term volunteer opportunities on hon.org, and many volunteers and staff members recruit friends and family through word of mouth, adding to the sense of community among those who support the library.

“We feel such a sense of gratitude for people coming together in the community to help the library. It’s really humbling,” said Amy Pierce, volunteer services supervisor at Nashville Public Library. With long-term volunteer support, the library can offer unique services, such as the Talking Library – a program with two staffers and more than 70 volunteers, through which vision-impaired patrons can listen to volunteers read newspapers, books and more.

Volunteers must provide background checks before working at NPL, and using the library system requires training. Initially, library staff implemented the 50-hour rule to help conserve resources. However, long-term volunteering creates a sense of support and fulfillment over time.

“We work with volunteers and staff to find times that work, and allow volunteers to continue on a schedule,” said Amy Pierce, volunteer services supervisor at Nashville Public Library. “We require all volunteers to commit 50 hours of service. Often, they hit a rhythm and keep going. Many volunteers have been with us for years; last year, a volunteer hit more than 10,000 hours.”

What could your organization accomplish with a fleet of long-term volunteers?

Post your long-term opportunities on hon.org and find out today.

Guest Post: Reuniting in Service and Leadership at Cameron Middle School

image2Angel is a ninth grade student at LEAD Academy High School. She was among a group of 20 student leaders in the Cameron College Prep eighth grade class who planned and executed an extensive volunteer project with fellow students, Hands On Nashville, HCA, Teach For America and other community partners to revive the Cameron courtyard during the 2014-2015 school year.

On Saturday, Oct. 24, Angel will travel back to the courtyard with her peers to continue her service to Cameron on Make A Difference Day. Before the project, she shared her excitement with us. Continue reading Guest Post: Reuniting in Service and Leadership at Cameron Middle School

Reaching My True Potential: A Reflection of AmeriCorps Service

Ashleigh refurbishing
Ashleigh Barker refurbishing a bicycle during Hands On Nashville’s 2015 YVC Spring Break at Oasis Center.

Ashleigh Barker reflects on a year as a Hands On Nashville AmeriCorps Member.

For the last year, Ashleigh Barker has served as Hands On Nashville’s YVC Outreach AmeriCorps Member. In this role, Ashleigh has poured her heart and energy into connecting Nashville youth and teens, many of whom attend Metro Nashville Public Schools, to meaningful service opportunities designed to help them grow as leaders in their own right. From guiding a team of Youth Volunteer Corps interns who develop and lead their own service projects at area nonprofits, to facilitating a dynamic service-learning Summer Camp educating young Nashvillians in multiple issue areas, to creating social-networking content and the regular youth newsletter, Ashleigh has made a lasting impact in the lives of youth leaders, and those they benefit.

During her final week at Hands On Nashville, Ashleigh offered this reflection of her time as an AmeriCorps Member. Continue reading Reaching My True Potential: A Reflection of AmeriCorps Service

Volunteer Spotlight: Alex Lamers

Alex Lamers-2
Hands On Nashville volunteer Alex Lamers planting trees at Meigs Middle Magnet School during the fall 2014.

“Don’t be afraid to try something new.”

These are the words Alex Lamers recalls using as encouragement when getting involved with Hands On Nashville more than a year ago. He says they still ring true today. Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Alex Lamers

Volunteer Spotlight: Daniel McDonell

Hands On Nashville Volunteer Daniel McDonald blowing insulation during a Home Energy Savings Project in January 2015.
Hands On Nashville Volunteer Daniel McDonell blowing insulation during a Home Energy Savings Project in January 2015.

It wasn’t long after Daniel McDonell moved to Nashville that he began volunteering. In his first year as a HON volunteer, Daniel has made a significant impact during sustainability-focused projects. We recently caught up with the Memphis native about his passion for the environment, favorite projects, and why he thinks volunteering is one way to keep the civic character of thriving town. Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Daniel McDonell