Tag Archives: community volunteer

VolunTEEN: The Importance of Teamwork

ferriss headshot1Guest post by Ferriss Bailey,
HON VolunTEEN Summer Youth Leader

Ferriss Bailey, a rising senior at Montgomery Bell Academy, is one of the four inaugural Summer Youth Leaders. During the four summer service weeks, Ferriss leads service learning opportunities that address the environment.

Prior to joining the Summer Youth Leader Program at Hands On Nashville, I had been a regular at service projects through my school, but I did not have many chances to lead my peers in those endeavors.

This program, organized by Colleen Callaghan and Lauren Levy, has given me an opportunity to take the lead on projects about which I am passionate. I can never repay Hands On Nashville for giving me this opportunity and for teaching me how to be a better peer leader.

Leading a project entails many different responsibilities and duties. Personally, I think that the most important task is to get the group working together as a team. No project is ever exactly the same, even if we are all doing the same work. There may be a group of twenty thirteen year-olds or just four high school seniors. What does not change from project to project is the importance of teamwork. Without teamwork, the projects can seem daunting and discouraging, and it always takes more effort and time. As I have gotten better at instilling a sense of teamwork, groups have been able to get more work done while having a great time as well.

Learn more about HON’s VolunTEEN program here!

Enthusiastic youth volunteers taking a quick break from their hard work!
Enthusiastic youth volunteers taking a quick break from their hard work!

HON Volunteer Bonnie Zacovic Finds the Silver Lining Through Service

Did you know that every HON-coordinated volunteer opportunity is led by a Hands On Nashville Volunteer Leader? Whether they are leading bingo night at a retirement home, dinner at Hope Lodge, or goalball with the Tennessee Association of Blind Athletes, these folks are dedicated, compassionate volunteers who commit to leading the same project on a regular basis. Simply put, Volunteer Leaders are at the heart of what we do, and they have some remarkable stories. Here’s one of them:

When Bonnie Zacovic was laid off from her job in 2009, she knew she had a choice to make. She could either be depressed about it, or she could use the opportunity to help others.

“I decided to look for the silver lining,” Bonnie says. “I had been working solid for 25 years … I had been traveling all the time, working long hours, and was not able to give time to anything else but my job and my family.”

“So I realized I was given a gift of time – time to give back, time to help others less fortunate, time to get involved with the community.”

Bonnie volunteering with The Nashville Food ProjectBonnie preparing The Nashville Food Project truck for a Sunday delivery.

When devastating floods struck the Middle Tennessee area in May of last year, Bonnie began volunteering with Hands On Nashville and she hasn’t looked back since. She now serves as the Volunteer Leader for two projects with The Nashville Food Project.

“I like these projects because of what they do. They provide the basic need of food and water to the most distraught population in our community, the homeless. This situation could happen to any one of us at any time, and being part of a solution that gives them hope in humanity is so rewarding. This is what we are supposed to do. We are supposed to help those in need, not turn away… These are our neighbors, and they need us.”

Fun facts about Bonnie:
•    Native of Cleveland, Ohio who has lived in Tennessee since 1994
•    Works full time as a senior project manager
•    Enjoys spending her free time supporting her youngest son, 16, on the soccer field, and loves working out; has completed several half marathons and one full marathon – Go, Bonnie!
•    What advice would she give to new volunteers? “Pick opportunities that speak to your heart, and try things that will take you out of your comfort zone. I would also recommend that if you can’t get a group of your friends to volunteer with you, do it yourself anyway. It is so great to meet new people and when you go alone, it forces you to interact with everyone.”

Food Prep with The Nashville Food Project (TNFP), and Feed the Hungry with TNFP occur on the second Sunday of each month from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., respectively. Visit our Opportunity Calendar at http://www.HON.org to learn more and to sign up.