Announcing the 2019 Strobel Award finalists

Congratulations to the amazing volunteers nominated for the 2019 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards. Read on for a list of nominees. Finalist names are bold.

Save the date for the award ceremony: Join Hands On Nashville on Tuesday, April 30, 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.

  • Bruce Skidmore
  • Carol McCrary
  • Claressa Ham
  • Dr. Vincent Couden
  • Falon Ecker
  • Jan Routon
  • Janet Kuhn
  • John Algee
  • Joseph Nault
  • Kay Kretsch
  • Kristie Young
  • Laneisha Coburn
  • Laura Musgrave
  • Lily Hensiek
  • Lisa Booker
  • Mostly Tomatos
  • Rita Pirkl
  • Rose Pink
  • Sally Wright
  • Timothy and Riley Dilks

Civic Volunteer Group

Honors volunteer teams that unite in support of a specific issue or cause.

  • Academy for G.O.D.
  • Baila Studio Moms
  • Belmont University, College of Pharmacy
  • Cross Point Church
  • Episcopal School of Nashville
  • Friends of MACC
  • Joy in Learning
  • Musicians on Call
  • Rotary Club of Nashville
  • Shipwreck Cove Restaurant
  • St. Ann’s Church, Knights of Columbus Chapter
  • Team Emma
  • Tennessee School for the Blind
  • The Contributor, Inc., Volunteer Team
  • The General Sessions Music City Community Court
  • The Physical and Mental Health Committee, Minerva Foundation, Inc.
  • Top Ladies of Distinction, Nashville Capitol City Chapter
  • Women of Covenant Baptist Church

Corporate Volunteerism

Commends group or individual corporate volunteers who exhibit robust
commitments to service as part of their company’s community service program.

  • Apex Moving and Storage
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Bridgestone Americas
  • Change Healthcare
  • Cigna-HealthSpring
  • Covance Inc.
  • Crain Construction
  • Golden Rule Construction
  • Hawkins Partners, Inc.
  • LifePoint Health
  • Magpies
  • naviHealth
  • Postmates
  • Uncle Classic Barbershop

Direct Service

Applauds volunteers of all ages who participate in hands-on, direct service with a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry, or community organization.

Ages 5 to 20

  • Anne Slosky
  • Davis Blankenship
  • Ella Delevante
  • Joe Stevens
  • Katie Schmidt
  • Madison Everett
  • Melissa Farrow
  • Nashville Youth For Christ
  • Prim Wiphatphumiprates
  • Raul Solis
  • Saiche Stefanski
  • Sarah Matthews
  • Shannon Flahaven
  • Stephanie McDaniel
  • Sydnee Floyd

Ages 21 to 49

  • Amanda Castle
  • Ashley Leaphart
  • Caitlin Thorsen
  • Corrie Anderson
  • Dawn Warner
  • Emi Canahuati
  • Estella Pan
  • Gina Strickland
  • Henry Rothenberg
  • Jeni Bradley
  • Jennifer Morrison
  • Josh Renner
  • Jurrell Casey
  • Laneisha Coburn
  • Linda Copeland
  • Lindsay Bryant
  • Lindsay Voigt
  • Marc Pearson
  • Meredith Beck
  • Neal Carpenter
  • Shaunte Dozier
  • Talisha Birdsong
  • Tiffany Hodge

Ages 50+

  • Andy Albright
  • Ann Strebler
  • Becky Waldrop
  • Bernice Karnett
  • Beverly Waldrep
  • Charles Black
  • Donice Kaufman Stewart
  • Eileen Wollam
  • Ethel Hollis
  • Frances Casey
  • Gwen Neal
  • Heidi Garber
  • Janelle Wilson
  • Jo Ann Hendrix
  • Joe Manners
  • John Baroni
  • John Bull
  • Judy Bayer
  • Karen Connolly
  • Karen Lyons
  • Kate Ezell
  • Keith Loftis
  • Kim France
  • Marilyn Bagford
  • Mark Patterson
  • Marva Southall
  • Mary Lee Thompson
  • Michael Gray
  • Monty Thomas
  • Pat McDonald
  • Rich Moore
  • Robert Ramsey
  • Susan Gardner
  • Tony Washington
  • Trish McGarty
  • Wanda Smith

 

Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 8.07.10 PM

 

Advertisements

AmeriCorps Member Spotlights: Chandler Kucera, Georgia Caplen, and Ross Miller

It’s day two of AmeriCorps Week! To celebrate, we’re highlighting members of the HON AmeriCorps program, who are completing yearlong terms of service at nonprofit agencies across Nashville.

Today we feature three members serving with Cumberland River Compact, whose mission is to enhance the health and enjoyment of the Cumberland River and its tributaries through education, collaboration, and action.

Chandler Watering Trees

Chandler Kucera

Urban Tree Project Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding?

Being able to plant numerous trees across Davidson County has been extremely rewarding. Actually being able to see your accomplishments and the progress that each tree is making is a great feeling. Also knowing that this may inspire others to help change their communities is very rewarding as well.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?

I was drawn to AmeriCorps because it is a great opportunity to be a catalyst for change in your community. It is more focused on helping others rather than serving yourself, and that has been a nice change of pace from my previous experience.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term?

My plan is to look for a job that has a similar goal to the AmeriCorps program. I want to continue to help make change in my community and the environment, and will eventually go on to graduate school so I can learn more about my specific field and have an even larger impact.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

When not serving I love to be outside: Biking, hiking, kayaking, and swimming are some of my favorite activities. I love music, both playing and listening, as well as reading. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends as much as possible.

 

georgia tabling

Georgia Caplen

Rivive! Nashville Project Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

I recently collaborated with Patagonia Nashville and local artist Bryce McCloud for their new store’s grand opening weekend. I helped Bryce collect inspiration and materials for an art canvas focused on local environmental awareness that will be displayed in the store’s front entrance window for the next few months. It was rewarding and intriguing for me to plan a project with a company like Patagonia. I have always been inspired by their sustainability- and environmental-awareness initiatives. This opportunity was particularly rewarding because this specific art project helped inspire local customers to think about Nashville’s waterways with a new perspective.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

I was drawn to serve with AmeriCorps after seeing the direct impact service projects can have within a community. I spent my senior spring break with the nonprofit North Carolina Coastal Federation and, after engaging with the staff and the current AmeriCorps stationed there, I felt that serving as an AmeriCorps was a promising and positive next step after graduation.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

After my service term, my plan is to find an internship related to coastal conservation or environmental planning to gain experience within the environmental field and then attend graduate school in the following years.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

When I am not serving with my nonprofit, you can find me exploring a new hiking destination in Tennessee and the surrounding areas! In the new year, I began the 52 Hike Challenge, where every week I set out to find a new hiking adventure and then share my experiences on my personal hiking blog.

 

ross

Ross Miller

Urban Streams Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

We have a series of volunteer cleanups planned around the state throughout April and the first two Saturdays of May. Preparing for what surely will be one of the most difficult and successful projects the Compact has undertaken is an incredible learning experience for me.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

My passion for the outdoors led me to serve with the Compact, which is driven to enhance the lives of millions of Tennessee residents and to keep this area beautiful.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

To take the next step for a career in environmentalism, preferably following a path regarding climate action.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

Getting to know and explore Nashville and the surrounding area.

 

 

 

AmeriCorps Member Spotlights: Anna Patton and Valentin Le Besnerais

Happy AmeriCorps Week! All week here on the Show of Hands blog, we’ll be highlighting members of the HON AmeriCorps program, who are completing yearlong terms of service at nonprofit agencies across Nashville.

Today we feature two members serving with the Tennessee Environmental Council,  whose mission is to educate and advocate for the conservation and improvement of Tennessee’s environment, communities, and public health.

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 2.15.01 PM

Anna Patton

Composting and Recycling Education Coordinator 

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

I have been a part of a community project that involved dealing with recycling and Nashville residents directly. It was rewarding because we were able to communicate the issue of contamination in the recycling stream and educate residents as well as volunteers of proper recycling habits.

I have also been able to be a part of an effort led by Urban Green Lab that targets tackling food waste in schools. I participated in a food waste audit in H.G. Hill Middle School, which was very eye-opening about the waste that is generated throughout four lunch periods. It has been inspiring to be a part of the conversation in how we can cut down on school food waste!

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

I have always pursued service as a part of my lifestyle, and have attempted to positively affect the community that I live in. AmeriCorps, being a national service program, was appealing to me due to its reliance on service as well an opportunity for me to challenge myself and grow through this service-learning program.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

I plan to continue learning different skills in life that will educate me on how to further help people in all sectors of life. I am particularly interested in targeting environmental injustices by serving poverty-stricken communities. I plan to take what I have learned from TEC and practice strides toward a zero-landfill lifestyle.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

I enjoy gardening as well as learning new trades such as playing the piano and ukulele. I also enjoy crafts involving upcycling or repurposing “old” or outdated materials through innovative methods such as naturally dyeing fabric to create homemade pants.

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 2.51.15 PM.png

Valentin Le Besnerais

Compost and Recycling Education Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding?

Making progress on Tennessee residents’ recycling and compost habits to ensure that as much waste is diverted from the landfill as possible!

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps gave me an opportunity to serve in a field that I am interested in, enabling me to advance my career and learn more about nonprofit operations.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term?

I plan on continuing on the path of environmentally friendly work to better the communities around me as I advance my career.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

I like to spend time outdoors hiking, playing sports, and riding my bike. I also enjoy listening to and playing music and attending concerts around town.

 

Resolve to Serve Stories: Weed Wrangle®

Cayce McAlister remembers how different the forest looked when she was young.

“You saw tree trunks. You didn’t see all this low-level scrub,” she says. “All that green scourge you see in the woods is invasive plants.”

cayce mcalister
Cayce McAlister

McAlister says that native plants and trees don’t stand a chance in areas that are overgrown with non-native species. Invasive plants reproduce and spread quickly, often out-competing native plants. This leads to a reduction in plant diversity and the loss of habitat and food for wildlife.

Now McAlister is on a mission. A former president and longtime member of the Garden Club of Nashville, she was instrumental in founding Weed Wrangle®, an annual event where volunteers gather in parks and public spaces to remove problematic plants. The annual pull puts a dent in the problem, but McAlister says that alone won’t solve the issue of invasive plant growth. There must be public education, too.

Each Weed Wrangle® site will have an official on hand to show the participants clippings of the pesky plants to target and tell them the best tactics for removal.

“Invasive plants have no borders, and the success of our effort is affected dramatically by landscaping practices of neighbors to all of these public areas,” she says. McAlister encourages attendees to take their new knowledge home and eradicate invasive species in their own yards. Then talk to the people next door about doing the same.

In 2015, its first year, Weed Wrangle® drew more than 500 volunteers to 13 sites across Nashville. McAlister says the event has grown quickly and now exists across multiple Tennessee markets and in 13 other states. Since its inception, Weed Wrangle® has engaged 3,164 volunteers in Tennessee, who have contributed a combined 27,528 volunteer hours.

This year’s event, slated for March 2, has 20 Middle Tennessee sites where volunteers will wrangle weeds. You don’t have to be a gardener to help, says McAlister, who, as the event’s National Chair, is a full-time volunteer and travels the country spreading the seed of an idea that first took root in Nashville.

“There is a job for everyone out there. Little kids can pick up debris and drag it to the pile. Big buff people, they’re all trying to yank everything out of the ground instead of using tools,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a fun day.”

You can join the fun by browsing Weed Wrangle® opportunities here.

Interested in signing up to host your own Weed Wrangle® site? Visit the Weed Wrangle® website or email Ampage158@gmail.com.

Photos courtesy of Weed Wrangle.

 

Resolve to Serve Stories: Senior Ride Nashville

A couple of times a week, Sara Stewart drives to the home of an elderly man named Richard. She helps him into the car, then takes him to doctors’ appointments or to the grocery store. Also on their list of stops: Coffee.

“There for a while we were trying to figure out what the best coffee was. He’s decided it’s McDonald’s,” Stewart says with a laugh.

Stewart, a volunteer for Senior Ride Nashville, says that what started out as a four-hour-a-month commitment has, over 120 trips, turned into a friendship. Volunteers for SRN use an online portal to select rides that work with their schedule, location, or interest.

“It’s become such an experience for both of us,” she says. Stewart supports Richard in ways big and small — from helping him with his grocery list to reaching out to his city council member to advocate for improved sidewalks near his home.

“I’m always there for Richard, no matter what he needs,” Stewart says.

That doesn’t surprise Carrie Brumfield, SRN’s executive director.

“We often hear the phrase, ‘It’s more than just a ride’ from our volunteer drivers,” she says.

Brumfield says reduced mobility can put a person at higher risk of poor health, isolation, loneliness, and depression, and that Nashville’s lack of public transportation options means many seniors may experience reduced life expectancy as a result.

Stewart, who’s been driving for the organization since its inception, says that she initially was drawn to act when she realized how isolating it would be to not have access to transportation. She said once it dawned on her that she might someday be in that same situation, she knew she had to do something.

“Pay it forward,” Stewart says. “It’s not even really a payment, because you get it back immediately.”

To find out more about volunteering as a driver, or to learn about other ways to help Senior Ride Nashville, click here.

Photos provided by Senior Ride Nashville

‘Pursue Purpose’: A culture of giving back at Change Healthcare

American workers have spoken: It’s the job perks — like company culture, paid time off, and chances to serve the community — that employees are finding increasingly valuable.

But Jonny Woo doesn’t need a study to tell him that. Woo, a Regional Volunteer Chair at Change Healthcare, has completed around 10 corporate service projects since joining the company two years ago.

“I actually think giving back makes me a higher performer,” Woo says. “It’s a really good way for me to get my work done and it’s a good way for me to meet people in the company.”

This year, Woo led a team for the Nashville Heart Walk. He recruited participants, put up flyers, and solicited donations. The team raised more than $150,000 for the Nashville Chapter of the American Heart Association.

“What’s so great about AHA is that all those funds are going back directly into the community to support research and healthcare for those that have been affected by cardiovascular disease in Nashville,” says Ashley Bostic, Change Healthcare’s Director of Culture and Community Giving.

Bostic echoes Woo’s excitement about Change Healthcare’s commitment to a culture of service and giving. She says a guiding light to community giving at Change Healthcare is one of their core values, Pursue Purpose. As the value states, Change Healthcare is here to make healthcare work better. The opportunity to help improve a person’s life propels them forward.

“Focusing on improving a person’s life in any way, shape, or form in our communities is really the foundation of our community-giving programs,” Bostic says. That means encouraging employees to use their paid volunteer hours to support local nonprofits, she says, but it also means giving Change Healthcare employees space to share their passions and concerns with their colleagues and build awareness-raising campaigns around those concerns.

“You’re helping improve others’ lives and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to do that,” Bostic says. Since July of this year, Change Healthcare’s employees have logged more than 5,000 volunteer hours nationwide.

Volunteers from Change Healthcare worked with Hands On Nashville in 2018 to code and organize medical supplies for Project Cure; stain tables and benches for an outdoor classroom at Rosebank Elementary; pack snacks and hygiene kits for those served by the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center; and tend the garden at FASHA Urban Farm.  Most recently, Change Healthcare volunteers sorted gift bags for the Salvation Army Angel Tree.

“Our teams are more connected following those volunteer events,” Bostic says.

If your company is interested in partnering with Hands On Nashville to help support the community, let us know!

Resolve to Serve Stories: Hope Lodge

Tangerine Zielinski is dressed in pink — bright pink. 

Bright pink wide-brimmed hat with lace. Bright pink glasses with pink lenses. Bright pink patterned tunic. She stands in dazzling contrast to the drizzly, gray October day outside. 

“By dressing up, it seems to brighten up people’s days one way or another somehow,” she says. 

Zielinski is a 14-year volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s Nashville Hope Lodge. The Hope Lodge, located just outside downtown, provides a home away from home for cancer patients and their caregivers while they are in town receiving treatment. The Hope Lodge provides lodging, transportation, and activities for its guests free of charge. Volunteer groups provide meals throughout the month. 

Zielinski got started as a volunteer at the Hope Lodge when the facility opened in 2004. She says her own battle with lymphoma of the intestines in 2001 led her to want to volunteer with cancer patients.  

“Cancer … awakened me to the value of life,” she says. “Having been through cancer, I know how rough it can be. I know what it can do to you and your body. I know some of the emotional sides to it.” 

Zielinski says it’s important to make guests feel as relaxed as possible while they’re staying at the Hope Lodge. As a shuttle driver, she takes guests to and from appointments at hospitals, treatment centers, and imaging centers. When there’s time, she says, she will take them to the grocery store. 

When a guest gets into her shuttle, Zielinski will often ask what kind of music they’d like to hear. She keeps nearly 3,000 songs on her phone. 

“To get their minds off of cancer for but even a few minutes is, for me, very gratifying,” she says. “It makes my heart sing when I hear them hum in the backseat or sing along with a song.” 

Michele Ryan, senior manager of the Hope Lodge, says that volunteer shuttle drivers are a crucial part of making a Hope Lodge guest’s stay more comfortable, as many of them come from out of town and are unfamiliar with how to get around Nashville. 

“After a long day of treatment,” Ryan says, “no one wants to tackle traffic. They just want a comfortable and safe ride back.” 

Zielinski says that throughout her 14 years as a Hope Lodge volunteer, what has really sustained her is knowing that she’s having an impact in the lives of people going through the most difficult challenge of their lives. 

“Just to see the gratefulness that comes from the guests that come through the Hope Lodge is what really keeps me coming back,” she says.   

The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge program mission is to provide a free home away from home for cancer patients and their caregivers. Browse all volunteer opportunities with the Hope Lodge here 

hope lodge volunteers
photos provided by Hope Lodge

 

The geeks have landed!

GeekCause, which matches Nashville’s most talented techies with community partners in need of their services, has a new home at Hands On Nashville! GeekCause provides a low-cost platform for agencies to solve tech-based challenges through the support of skilled volunteers. 

Monica Weiss-Sharp, HON’s GeekCause project manager, took some time to answer questions about the program.  

What’s your background and how did you get involved in GeekCause? 

monica mugFor the past five years, I was the Practice Manager at a veterinary hospital in Franklin. I oversaw all areas of daily functioning (patient care, customer service, staff support), and helped guide the practice through tremendous growth, from two to six full-time veterinarians. At the practice, I had the opportunity to learn about and troubleshoot all sorts of tech solutions, from digital X-ray systems to practice-management software.

For four of my five years at the veterinary practice, I was also pursuing a master’s in social work with a focus on Organizational Leadership. During the final year of my degree program, I had the opportunity to intern with Hands On Nashville. I worked on many different projects, including some initial research and planning around how to bolster skills-based volunteerism.

My strengths definitely lie in the realm of guiding ideas toward becoming a concrete realities, and I’m looking forward to applying those strengths to support the successful completion of GeekCause projects. 

How does GeekCause work? 

GeekCause connects talented tech volunteers with nonprofits who need their support. Then I serve as a guide for both throughout the process. It is super easy both for volunteers to sign up and complete their skills profile and for nonprofit organizations to submit projects to us. From there, I review the project to make sure it’s a good fit for a volunteer to work on, and make a match with a volunteer whose skills line up with the project’s needs. I remain connected with the project from kickoff to close-out to help ensure success. In the end, the nonprofit gains a new capability and the volunteer has the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped strengthen their community.

Continue reading The geeks have landed!

Altria’s volunteer leader talks about the company’s culture of service

 For Mark Czuba and many of his colleagues, giving back is part of the job description at Altria. 

Czuba, a business unit leader at the company, has led groups of Altria’s HON Day volunteers for several years. Czuba said he enjoys watching his colleagues take on different and sometimes surprising roles during volunteer projects. 

“A lot of people who don’t normally get to be in a leadership role, you’ll get to see them step up … and say, ‘Hey, here’s what we should do,’” Czuba said. He recalled watching one of his quieter co-workers, who rarely did much socializing on the clock, jump right in to a volunteer project along with the team. 

Czuba said that Altria, the presenting sponsor for Hands On Nashville Day 2018, strives to foster a culture of service.   

“The giving aspect is huge at Altria,” he said. The company, where Czuba has worked for 15 years, encourages employees to donate to charities by offering matching funds. And volunteers from Altria support HON and other local nonprofits during their service events — big and small — throughout the year.  

Even though Czuba and many of his colleagues work nights, Czuba said, it’s important to them to make time for service. That often involves clocking out from an overnight shift and going straight to a volunteer project early in the morning. 

“It’s challenging for some of them,” Czuba said, “but they want to put time in.” 

Thank you to all the volunteers from Altria who came out for HON Day 2018! We are so grateful for your support and partnership. 

 

Horses and Healing: The Story of Hillenglade

In September, Hands On Nashville partnered with the Home Depot Foundation and Points of Light to implement facility upgrades and improvements for Hope and Healing at Hillenglade. More than 220 volunteers tackled projects that included building children’s playhouses, screening in porches, building office and recreational spaces, landscaping, building benches and picnic tables, and more. The work done will allow Hillenglade to offer year-round programming and increase the number of veterans its services can reach. To view more pictures of the project, click here

 

Jennifer O’Neil has always loved horses.

“God was in a good mood when he made a horse,” said the 70-year-old actress, model, and director, who has spent much of her life training and showing horses. “They’re so amazing and sensitive for such a giant animal.”

Jennifer O'Neill

In 2009, O’Neill bought Hillenglade, a 7-acre farm in north Nashville, and founded Hope and Healing at Hillenglade. HHH is an equine-assisted program that helps veterans and their families reconnect to heal the emotional wounds sustained during combat.

“What happens in the magic of equine therapy is, it’s all about creating relationship, communication, responsibility, and partnering with that animal,” O’Neill said. She said that horses mirror the emotions they see in people. To gain a horse’s trust, a person must put forth a calm confidence in a way that sets the horse at ease — that it’s not about dominating the animal.

“Depending on what you’re carrying when you come in there — be it anger, or rage, or shyness, or a lack of ability to communicate — they’ll size that up,” O’Neill said. She said it’s a powerful moment when someone who is working through their own anger or fear has a breakthrough with a horse.

Since 2010, HHH has served more than 4,000 military and first-responders and their families.

“The whole family unit often bears the brunt of the warriors’ experiences,” O’Neill said, recalling her own experiences in a family affected by post-combat PTSD.

O’Neill’s father served as a pilot during World War II. His plane was shot down and he was held in a German prison camp for two and a half years. He suffered lingering effects from the plane crash and aftermath that O’Neill believes would have been diagnosed as PTSD if the disorder, which wasn’t officially recognized until 1980, had been understood at the time.

As O’Neill has overseen the evolution of Hillenglade, she’s been driven by a desire to build an atmosphere of respite and peace for those who have sacrificed so much.

“I feel firmly that we in the private sector have to stand up and honor and help our veterans and our warriors and our heroes and their families in any way we can,” O’Neill said.

A Benefit for Hope and Healing at Hillenglade 

What: A fundraiser for HHH, featuring The Righteous Brothers, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Nate Sallie

When: Saturday, Nov. 3, beginning at 5:45 p.m.

Where: Franklin Theatre

Tickets: http://www.hillenglade.org