Tag Archives: Capacity Building Volunteer

Strobel Finalists 2022: Capacity-building Volunteer

Congratulations to these three finalists in the Capacity-building Volunteer category of the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Vote for your favorite story of service until April 30 at the button below!

Carole Purkey

Carole Purkey
Volunteers with WOW Transition House

Carole Purkey started volunteering with Women of Worth (WOW) Recovery Home in 2020. Through her work with WOW, she’s built relationships with many women who are transistioning out of incarceration and are looking for a fresh start, helping them make it to dentist and doctors’ appointments and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to celebrate their sobriety.

WOW aims to serve the needs of women in recovery who are transitioning out of incarceration. Purkey was introduced to the organization through her church, Donelson Church of Christ, and has served as an active board member and volunteer since 2020. She’s spread the word about the organization throughout the community, gaining consistent financial support from several groups and individuals. By advocating for the organization to her church, Purkey expanded the capabilities of WOW with a roughly $60,000 property renovation in 2021 that opened the doors to their second recovery house, increasing their capacity from five beds to 11 beds.

“I was introduced to Women of Worth Recovery Home through a class at my church when we began providing dinner for their weekly community meeting,” Purkey said. “After meeting and getting to know them, they have become my friends and have shown me that they just want a second chance.”

Purkey knows each client by name as she volunteers to provide them with transportation to appointments and leads Bible studies with them. Several women even found transportation to her 70th birthday party.

Purkey has shown through her consistent work that she believes in the philosophy, purpose and goals of WOW. “This organization, under the direction of Kristy Pomeroy, gives women who need a support system after incarceration a safe, comfortable and loving environment as they find their path to independence.”


Sunny Fleming and her dog, Elise

Sunny Fleming
Volunteers with Friends of Shelby Park & Bottoms

When Sunny Fleming volunteered with Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms in the summer of 2021, she was able to use her expertise as a national solutions engineer to expand the maintenance capabilities of the nonprofit that maintains the park.

With 1,300 acres of space with varying biomes, the small, dedicated Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms maintenance crew has their work cut out for them in improving and protecting the park. With limited staffing, it was important that they find a way to monitor maintenance needs around the property.

Thanks to Fleming’s knowledge of ArcGIS, a geographical information system, she was able to create and set up a survey that enables park maintenance needs to be easily flagged on a map. She also took the time to train volunteers to use the survey, expediting the maintenance and improvement process.

Several members of the public were mobilized to document areas in the park in need of improvement, and Fleming trained members of the nonprofit to use the program to stay on top of maintenance needs.

Through Fleming’s efforts, Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms can now track their progress on removing invasive species, which trails need maintenance and the urgency of the maintenance. She has volunteered many hours to train members of the nonprofit to use the ArcGIS software, increasing their capacity to maintain the sprawling park grounds for visitors to enjoy.


Susanne Shepherd Post

Susanne Shepherd Post
Founder of Shear Haven with YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee

As a hair stylist, Susanne Shepherd Post knows how easy it is to be a listening and supportive ear for her clients. As a survivor of domestic violence, she also knows that her job puts her in a position to recognize many of the signs of abuse. Many stylists, however, don’t know what to look for to determine whether their client is a victim of abuse.

Combining her career and her calling, Shepherd Post co-founded the Shear Haven initiative with YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee in 2017 to train cosmetologists to recognize their role in identifying and reporting domestic violence. Shepherd Post and YWCA advocated for legislation requiring all licensed beauty professionals in Tennessee to complete a domestic violence education course. Through a unique partnership with the Barbicide company, a short, online video was created and shared at no cost on the Barbicide website, paving the way for the legislation to pass unanimously in the Tennessee Senate and overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives.

Shepherd Post’s work with YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee has given the 124-year-old nonprofit a brand-new way to reach and assist women in need. To date, more than 40,000 cosmetologists have completed the Shear Haven training on the Barbicide website, giving them the tools they need to recognize and report domestic abuse. Included in that number are not only cosmetologists from Tennessee, but those stretching to various states and 101 countries. “I am deeply honored to be nominated,” Shepherd Post said. “I am inspired by the work of each of my fellow nominees, and I hope this helps shine a light on the amazing work the YWCA does in our community. Because of my experience as a domestic violence survivor, I feel a calling and a responsibility to spread awareness about the signs of domestic violence. I hope to help open a deeper conversation around the issue and believe that reducing the stigma and sharing resources can help save lives.”

To see a full list of the nominees for the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, click here.

Strobel Finalists 2021: Capacity-building Volunteer

Congratulations to these three finalists in the Capacity-building Volunteer category of the 35th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Vote for your favorite story of service until June 15 at the button below!

Jena Altstatt 

Jena Altstatt 
Volunteers with Hands On Nashville 

When the March 2020 tornado struck Nashville, Jena Altstatt jumped into action, immediately reaching out to Hands On Nashville to see how she could help. Once it became apparent that there was a major need for volunteer leader training, Jena wasted no time filling that role. 

She quickly created training materials, put them online and administered them for days to get trained leaders out into the field. As a trusted leader and trained volunteer administrator, she used her skill to educate others so that Nashville could get the coordination and support needed to ensure recovery efforts went smoothly. Her assistance gave Hands On Nashville a much wider, organized reach in the community in the aftermath of the tornado, and helped established communication with those who needed help most. 

In all, Jena trained and sent out 100 volunteer leaders to help coordinate recovery efforts, and her work was critical in amplifying the impact volunteers could have during this very chaotic time. While many people shy away from the “behind-the-scenes” roles in the face of a disaster, Jena ran at it head-on.   

“I volunteer because I’m able to. I see it less as volunteering and more about participating in my community, which I think is just a part of being human,” Jena said. “I’ve worked with volunteers professionally for the past 10 years, and so I know a lot about how volunteers impact not only organizations but communities in general.” 

Jena’s steady and useful presence helped to calm the Hands On Nashville staff during an incredibly trying time for the community. Her willingness to lend a helping hand made a world of difference to a hurting community. 

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Corrie Anderson 

Corrie Anderson 
Volunteers with Community Resource Center of Nashville 

Stricken by the March 2020 tornado and its path of destruction – as well as a devastating global pandemic – Corrie Anderson felt personally inspired to do as much good as possible for Nashville’s recovery efforts. She channeled her time and energy into the Community Resource Center of Nashville (CRC), helping to raise awareness, recruit volunteers and, ultimately, maximize their level of support for the city’s most impacted populations.  

For 35 years, the CRC has served as a supply line to the city’s front lines of poverty, providing partner agencies with the resources they need to offer their critical services. When last year’s tornado and the onset of the pandemic sent recovery efforts into overdrive, Corrie saw it as an opportunity to grow the nonprofit’s capabilities and meet the needs of her neighbors. She worked tirelessly to promote the CRC and recruit fellow volunteers for disaster relief. Prior to Corrie, the nonprofit had virtually no social media presence and a volunteer base of fewer than 20 people; thanks to her efforts, the CRC now has more than 120 unique volunteers each month and regular weekly and monthly volunteers. As a result of her work, the CRC is able to consistently answer the call for Nashvillians in the wake of disaster.  

“I am honestly just so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve our neighbors in such a trying year,” Corrie says. “I am so inspired and motivated by everyone who volunteers and donates items, by our partner agencies who are making our city a better place every single day, by small businesses that stepped in eagerly to help, and by the leadership at the CRC. Everyone is coming together for the same purpose – to serve our neighbors, to provide support.” 

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Suzanne Hartness

Suzanne Hartness 
Volunteers with Legal Aid Society of Middle TN and the Cumberlands 

Motivated by the cause of the Legal Aid Society of Middle TN and the Cumberlands (LAS), Suzanne Hartness made it her own personal mission in 2020 to help the nonprofit in every capacity possible. In addition to her other volunteer work, Suzanne took the initiative in event planning, fundraising, development and outreach efforts to grow the nonprofit and ensure its longevity in serving Nashville’s hardest-hit citizens.  

Following her introduction to LAS, Suzanne threw herself wholeheartedly into furthering its mission of providing free legal counsel for and enforcing the legal rights of low-income and vulnerable Nashvillians. She helped plan the annual Breakfast of Champions fundraising event and secured more than $10,000 in sponsorships for LAS’ annual Campaign for Equal Justice. She also spearheaded the nonprofit’s Ambassador program, helping recruit community leaders across the state to educate the public about LAS’ services. She has also brought the support of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of Legal Administrators and its 50 member law firms to LAS – a vital addition to the organization’s stable of volunteer attorneys. 

Due to her efforts and experience, LAS has already seen a significant increase in new supporters and community awareness.  

“Suzanne has a full-time job but treats her volunteer work with equal importance,” said Derria Ford of LAS. “She constantly comes up with innovative ways to reach new audiences and spread the word about causes that are important to her. Her spirit has been an inspiration to our staff and board.”  

“Working with the team at LAS continues to inspire me to find opportunities to ‘give back’ and to ‘lift up’ when possible,” Suzanne said. “The need for their legal services is not diminishing. I want to support them by encouraging others to get involved and in finding incremental financial resources to assist them in their efforts.” 

To see a full list of the nominees for the 35th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, click here.