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.
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.”
“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?
Angel 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.
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.
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→
From helping edit curriculum taught to youth at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm to leading volunteers in garden projects, Andy Myers has served with the Hands On Nashville Urban Agriculture Program for more than a year.
From June through July, these 2014 YVC Summer Youth Leaders will each facilitate a weeklong camp for their fellow high school volunteers that focuses on a specific issue, including homelessness, health and wellness, youth education, and the environment. Each camp is designed to encourage a deeper understanding of the issue and our community through hands-on service learning experiences.
After being selected through a highly competitive application process, these difference-makers completed a Hands On Nashville leadership training session to help them prepare to lead skill-building activities centered around service-learning. Please join us in welcoming these four inspiring leaders!
Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A: I would go to Europe.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in Nashville?
A: Attend Vanderbilt football games.
For the past two years, Father Ryan High School sophomore Ben Delevante has volunteered as a middle school basketball coach, assisted at Room In The Inn, and has helped raise money to fight cancer as a Relay for Life participant. “I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to have many great examples of volunteerism and leadership,” Ben says. “It’s important to help out those less fortunate in our community.”
As a coach and leader, Ben knows the importance of having a plan and motivating others to achieve a common goal. This summer, he hopes to further his teaching and leadership skills while learning more about our community needs. As a Hands On Nashville YVC Summer Youth Leader, Ben will be channeling his energy for health and wellness to better the environment in our community. This summer, Ben will lead campers in service-learning opportunities including maintenance and upkeep of local parks, planting gardens, and providing energy upgrades to a local home.
CECILIA VON MANN, Hunger & Homelessness Week, June 23-27
A fun fact about Cecilia:
Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A: India during the Holi Fest or Patagonia, Chile, to hike the mountains or hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
For Cecilia Von Mann, volunteering is one of the most important aspects of her life.
Cecilia, a junior at Father Ryan High School, is a long-time volunteer at Room In The Inn. From serving meals and registering guests to teaching art classes, Cecilia is passionate about helping those facing homelessness. In addition, Cecilia tutors refugee children each week, has led multiple retreats at her middle school, and has traveled across the globe to complete mission trips in cities from Honduras to South Carolina.
Cecilia is excited to put her summer to good use by helping others as a Hands On Nashville YVC Summer Youth Leader, and hopes to learn more about hunger throughout the process. This summer, Cecilia will lead campers in service-learning opportunities including sorting perishable food items, serving lunch to women and children facing homelessness, and prepping survival kits.
EMILY THOMPSON, Health & Wellness Week, July 7-11
A few fun facts about Emily: Q: If you could eat only one type of food forever, what would it be?A: Pizza. All day every day. There is nothing better.
Q: If you could only listen to one CD/album forever, which one would it be?
A: Any Arctic Monkeys album other than A.M. Their older stuff is even better.
Emily Thompson, a junior at Merrol Hyde Magnet School, believes that time is the greatest gift you can give to someone. A Girl Scout since kindergarten, Emily learned the true value of volunteerism from a young age. Whether volunteering at Hands On Nashville, spearheading a clothing donation drive at her church to support those facing homelessness, or organizing a middle school dance to support Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Emily enjoys making a difference for others and leading by example.
As an aspiring pediatrician, Emily’s goal is to help improve access to proper healthcare and safety in the community. As a Hands On Nashville YVC Summer Youth Leader, Emily will lead campers in service-learning opportunities including sorting medical supplies for clinics overseas, boxing shoes for children abroad, and cooking lunch for people battling illnesses.
CONOR RORK, Youth Education Week, July 21-25
A few fun facts about Conor: Q: If you could only eat one type of food forever, what would it be?
A: Spaghetti with meat sauce. All day.
Q: If you could only listen to one CD/album forever, which one would it be?
A: El Camino, The Black Keys
University School of Nashville tenth grader Conor Rork has been an avid reader since age 4. This summer, Conor hopes to share his passion for education and the written word with his peers and community youth as a Hands On Nashville YVC Summer Youth Leader. “I’d like to pass on and share my love of reading with children,” Conor says. “I hope to make a difference in at least one child’s life through this opportunity.”
As a community volunteer, Conor has proudly served as a math tutor for youth at Edgehill Community Center and the Susan Gray School, organized musical activities at his church’s vacation bible school, and led Boy Scout Troup 31 in many service projects.
This summer, Conor will lead campers in service-learning opportunities such as assisting with enrichment activities for young kids, reading to children, and sorting books.
ISABEL JOHNSON-BANN, Youth Volunteer Corps Summer AmeriCorps Member
We’d like to extend a special thank-you to Youth Volunteer Corps Summer AmeriCorps Member Isabel Johnson-Bann. This summer, Isabel will oversee each week of Hands On Nashville’s YVC summer camp while facilitating fun, educational service-learning activities for youth participants. From 2007-2013, Isabel served as a highly active Youth Volunteer Corps volunteer in the Middle Tennessee community. She has completed numerous service projects benefiting our community’s youth, homeless and disabled populations, as well as the environment. Isabel is currently studying Animal Science at The University of Tennessee at Martin.
Hands On Nashville Asks Community To Nominate Volunteer Heroes by Feb. 14
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 27, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Hands On Nashville is asking the community to nominate individuals and groups for the 2014 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards presented by HCA/TriStar Health.
“We all know incredible people – everyday heroes – who give of their time and talents to make our community better,” said Brian Williams, Hands On Nashville president and CEO. “Each spring, the Strobel Awards luncheon gives our community an opportunity to lift up these inspiring stories of volunteerism that happen around us every day.”
The nomination deadline is Feb. 14, and nomination forms can be found at www.HON.org/strobel_awards. Nashvillians are encouraged to nominate outstanding volunteers within six categories of service:
Civic Volunteer Group Award recognizes representatives of civic, membership, faith-based or noncorporate groups that volunteer together for a specific cause or issue.
Capacity-building Volunteer Award honors individuals who provide significant operational or administrative support to a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry or community organization.
Corporate Volunteerism Award pays tribute to businesses that have robust employee volunteer programs with high levels of participation and impact.
Direct Service Volunteer Award recognizes individuals who have participated in hands-on, direct service with a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry or community organization.
Volunteer Innovator Award honors individuals or groups that have directly identified a community need and responded to it by developing and implementing an innovative solution, or improved an existing program or effort through creative problem-solving.
Youth Volunteer Award recognizes youth, teens and young adults ages 5 to 22 who have gone above and beyond to incorporate volunteerism into their lives.
Three finalists for five of the six categories will be selected by two groups of independent assessors, composed of community volunteers, volunteer administrators, business leaders and civic leaders. The exception is the Volunteer Innovator Award category. Finalists in this category will be selected by a panel of judges convened by TN Media. To encourage broad community participation, volunteers in this category will be invited to vote for an award recipient via the Tennessean.com website. All award recipients will be announced at the luncheon.
The Awards luncheon, now in its 28th year, will be held on April 22 at the Marriott Cool Springs Conference Center. All nominees receive special recognition and a complimentary seat at the luncheon.
More than 700 volunteers and agency representatives are expected to attend the luncheon. Award luncheon tickets will be available for purchase at HON.org in March.
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 Strobel’s service and recognizes those who continue her legacy.
About Hands On Nashville Since 1991, Hands On Nashville has been connecting volunteers to critical needs facing the Middle Tennessee community, such as hunger, homelessness and environmental protection. Offering more than 400 volunteer opportunities to the community each month at HON.org, Hands On Nashville challenges everyone to find a way to give back and to … Be the Change. Volunteer.
Media Contact: Becca Wilson email@example.com (615) 298-1108 Ext. 406