Jan. 29 is National Fun at Work Day, and while it can sometimes be hard to think about “fun” and “work” in the same sentence, there’s never been a better time to find creative ways to engage and bond with your co-workers.
One of the most fun and fulfilling team-building exercises is volunteering!
A Robert Half survey found that 61% of U.S. workers believe that taking part in charitable activities outside work makes them feel better and allows them to be more effective on the job. Many companies have responded to this by offering paid volunteer time for their employees, or by organizing volunteer projects for employees. Volunteering is a fantastic way to foster communication and trust within an employee team — and it has the incredible benefit of strengthening the community.
“It felt good to be able to do something for someone else during the pandemic. Teachers do so much for their students, so it was important to me to be able to give back to them and let them know how much they mean to us.” — Debbie M., volunteer with Ingram Content Group
COVID-19 has made it difficult for large employee groups to gather for many types of volunteer projects. That’s why Hands On Nashville’s corporate engagement team works hard to curate safe and creative volunteer project options for companies wanting to engage their employees in service.
In 2020, employee volunteers assembled more than 5,000 care kits for seniors, students, individuals experiencing homelessness, teachers, and veterans. Those kits could be assembled and personalized at home, and many employees enjoyed including their own families in the fun.
Other employee volunteers in 2020 took part in safe and socially distanced tree plantings, or done-in-a-day tech projects that strengthened local nonprofits’ core functions.
This year, when thinking about making work more fun — and meaningful — what could that mean for your team?
If you’re interested in learning more about volunteer projects for your company, we’d love to hear from you!
HCA Healthcare — the Nashville-based company that owns and operates more than 186 hospitals and 2,000 sites of care in 21 states and the United Kingdom — has a long history of service, including through partnerships with Hands On Nashville. We spoke with the Corporate Community Engagement team about how 2020 has been different for the company’s desire to give back to their communities.
Q: Let’s start with the history: Can you tell me a little bit about the history of the HCA Healthcare Foundation? What made them want to get started helping others?
A: The mission of the HCA Healthcare Foundation is to promote health and well-being and to strive to make a positive impact in all the communities HCA Healthcare serves. We accomplish this mission by providing to nonprofit organizations support in three areas — leadership, through colleague board service; service, through colleagues volunteering their time and talents; and financial support, through direct grants and by matching colleagues’ charitable contributions. HCA Healthcare is committed to our communities well beyond the efforts of the Foundation. Giving, serving, leading and learning are key components of our approach to helping every colleague engage in a meaningful way with their communities.
Q: One of your big initiatives is HCA’s Community Days! Can you tell me a little bit about that?
A: This year, because of COVID-19, HCA Healthcare re-imagined its long-standing tradition of two days of service completed by corporate colleagues as Community Days: A Month of Service. From Oct. 1-31, our Nashville-based colleagues were encouraged to volunteer safely in person or virtually at nonprofit agencies across Middle Tennessee in increments of one hour or more. We partnered with our long-standing nonprofit agencies to bring back favorite projects and relied heavily on Hands On Nashville to help us explore new ways — virtually and in person — our colleagues could volunteer.
Throughout their time at Whitsitt Elementary School, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) volunteers were known for their dependability, kindness, and willingness to help.
Prior to COVID-19, CAA was a staple at Whitsitt students’ first day of class. Among all the hustle and bustle, volunteers guided the students to their classes, and offered support wherever it was needed. This first day of school was where CAA’s support began, but far from where it ended.
“CAA has made a huge impact at our school in the way they consistently and thoughtfully partner to provide the highest level of education to our students,” said Whitsitt Elementary Literacy Coach Heidi Wright. “They have been a staple in helping our community and school connect to further the development and achievement of our students.”
Throughout the school year, CAA volunteers engaged with students as reading buddies and mentors. During three months of their initiative, students read more than 2,000 books. CAA also supported Whitsitt’s music program by donating multiple musical instruments for the classroom, and provided educational and fun field trips to their office annually.
“Not only do they support the school, they support education in a profound way,” said Chris Echegaray, Community Achieves Site Manager. “They are socially conscious, and an organization that truly cares about moving the needle.”
The Surgical Clinic
Volunteers with the Amputee Blade Runners
The Surgical Clinic (TSC) is a group of private practice surgeons whose specialties span across the board. One of their specialty divisions, the prosthetic institute, has partnered with nonprofit organization the Amputee Blade Runners (ABR) to create free running prosthetics for amputees.
One of the founders of ABR, Aaron Fitzsimmons, is a prosthetist with The Surgical Clinic, and has grown TSC’s volunteer staff to 10 people; all willing to donate their time and energy to improving the lives of amputee athletes across the country.
“It is not an uncommon thing for multiple TSC employees to stay at work until midnight, helping an athlete regain mobility,” said Joshua Southards, Executive Director of Amputee Blade Runners. “The Surgical Clinic prosthetic staff is the engine that makes the Amputee Blade Runners run.”
Due to health insurance companies deeming running prosthetics “not medically necessary,” it is often impossible for families to afford them on their own. The Surgical Clinic provides prosthetic blades necessary for training and athletic performance. Many of their clients are adopted children from other countries who were given up by their biological families due to their congenital conditions.
One of these athletes is Samuel Tyler, a 16-year-old who received his first pair of sports blade legs in 2015.
Now, as Samuel walks into his local YMCA, he strides with confidence, knowing he will soon be jogging around the track and independently switching out his prosthetic blades when he is ready to use the exercise equipment. He is one of hundreds of people whose lives have been changed by The Surgical Clinic.
Comcast of Nashville
Volunteers at Two Rivers Middle School
Now in its 18th year, Comcast Cares Day is one of the largest corporate commitments to volunteerism and service in America. Comcast of Nashville, the local branch of the national internet service company, has participated annually in the corporate-wide event, making a difference for local schools and the children they serve.
Comcast Cares Day is more than just a day – it is an illustration of the spirit of volunteerism that Comcast employees bring to life each day. From using technology to create positive change, to mentoring youth, stocking food banks, and beautifying parks, Comcast NBCUniversal employees volunteer during this celebration and throughout the year to make a lasting impact.
“Comcast firmly believes that corporations have a responsibility to give back to the communities where their employees and customers live and work and to partner with local governments, organizations, and nonprofits to make our communities stronger,” says Terry Vo, a Community Affairs Expert with Comcast. “We take this mission to heart every single day, and care very much about giving back to our communities to make a long-lasting impact.”
At last year’s Comcast Cares Day, volunteers sorted more than 18,000 pounds of food and packaged nearly 15,000 diapers and 650 backpacks for Metro Nashville Public School students at Two Rivers Middle School. They’ve also opened nine computer labs in Middle Tennessee, painted and installed murals at Two Rivers, and completed landscape maintenance. These service events often involve 70-plus Comcast volunteers.
“Our school’s hallways are more colorful than ever before. We reference one of the murals every week because it inspires our students,” said Hannah Tapp, a 7th grade teacher at Two Rivers Middle School.
Thank you, everyone, for your support and willingness to volunteer following the devastating tornadoes that moved through Nashville on March 3. This post contains information on resources for those in need of help. If you are looking to offer assistance, please click here. Due to information rapidly changing, it is encouraged to reach out to these resources directly to verify information.
General Disaster Relief Information and Resources
If you were affected by the Middle Tennessee tornado and
still need assistance, call the Tornado Recovery Connection at (615) 270-9255.
The City of Nashville releases daily information about the COVID-19 disaster response. For information about state unemployment, CDC guidance, FEMA COVID-19 rumor control, the Federal Trade Commission scams resource website, or applying for a small business administration loan, click here.
If you need information or assistance with tornado relief, Metro Social Services can be reached at (615) 862-6432 for services over the phone.
United Way of Greater Nashville offers an inclusive resources service, where those affected can call 2-1-1 for its referral helpline, which can provide up-to-date information on emergency shelters, food pantries and related services. For information, visit unitedwaynashville.org/programs/2-1-1.
Item Distribution Centers
Martha O’Bryan Center, 711 S. 7th St., Nashville, TN 37206, is offering food distribution from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Meals to children 18 and younger will be provided from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday at KIPP Kirkpatrick Elementary, 1000 Sevier St, Nashville, TN 37206. For financial assistance, call (615) 254-1791.
Project Connect will host a distribution center and serve hot meals from 1 to 3 p.m. daily at 1811 Knowles St., Nashville, TN 37208.
Schrader Lane Church of Christ, 1234 Schrader Lane, Nashville, TN 37208, is open to donate food. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Food Banks and Distribution
The Nashville Food Project is working with its partners to create “grab and go” style meals. They will be serving meals door-to-door with Gideon’s Army at the Cumberland View Apartments, Cheatham Place, and Andrew Jackson Apartment properties each weekend until April 5. If you know of a shelter or community hub in need of food support, let them know.
Metro Nashville Public Schools will be offering free student meals along with food boxes provided by Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee at sites identified throughout Davidson County. For locations, click here.
The American Red Cross has extended the deadline to April 7 to offer financial assistance for people whose homes were destroyed or had major damage due to the March 3 tornado. An application process is available over the phone from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. To apply, call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-27677) and press prompt 4.
Beyarata Mobile Disaster Tax Services is offering federal disaster claims for unreimbursed casualty losses. Staff can assist those with an annual income of $65,000 or less, they will determine if victims qualify and file federal disaster claims for free. The deadline to file on current year tax return is July 15, 2020. For more information, call (901) 215-6005.
The Boomer Esiason Foundationcreated a fund that directly assists those families in the cystic fibrosis community affected. To apply for funding through the Cystic Fibrosis Patient Disaster Relief Program, click here.
The Donelson Fellowship has set up a disaster relief fund, and its pastor has encouraged people personally affected by the storm to contact email@example.com.
From Your Father, a local nonprofit, focuses on the social determinants of health. Resources can be supplied to single mothers to provide economic stability, education, health and health care, social and community context, and home-purchasing resources. For information, fromyourfather.org.
MusiCares, an organization offering music-industry specific financial assistance, is aiding people in all facets of the music industry with financial support. This includes artists, songwriters, publishers, engineers, tour bus drivers, concert production crew, stagehands, studio musicians, music venue employees and more, nationwide. Those in need do NOT need to be a member to get help. Please reach out to the local office for help applying for financial assistance related to the tornado, gig/tour cancellations, health challenges and other life events. For more information, call (800) 687-4227 or visit musicares.org.
Tennessee Department of Human Services Emergency Pandemic TANF – Emergency cash assistance program for those impacted by COVID-19. Emergency Pandemic TANF will utilize existing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. TDHS encourages Tennesseans in need to apply online when the application becomes available in order to encourage social distancing. To create an account, click here.
The Tennessee Department of Human Services will be providing its COVID-19 Essential Employee Child Care Payment Assistance program until June 15. It is designed to help support essential workers so they can stay on the job during the state of emergency. Those interested can apply here. After an essential employee is approved for the program, the state will arrange to pay for child care at a TDHS licensed program, YMCA, or a Boys & Girls Club where the child is currently served.
Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (TDOSHS) Driver Services division has waived in-person photo requirements and extended license expiration dates due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information, click here.
For those concerned about scams following the March 3 tornado: The Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs can be reached at (615) 741-4737 or online.
Health and Wellness
HON has compiled information about volunteering amid COVID-19/Coronavirus concerns here.
Individuals who are ill and would like to learn more about COVID-19 tests can do so here.
To combat the spread of COVID-19, the Metro Public Health Department has issued a Safer at Home Order directing all residents of Nashville and Davidson County to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.” Read more here.
Dr. Jeffery Sonsino with Optique Nashville is offering free eye care treatment to those injured. Services offered from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday at 2817 West End Avenue Suite #117, Nashville, TN 37203. Call 615-321-4393 for more information.
The Tennessee Recovery Project is offering supportive resources for those affected by the tornado, with an emphasis on emotional well-being. For assistance, call (615) 460-4004.
Trauma specialist Shaine Malek, a Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider, is offering Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy for those impacted to help them navigate emotion following the natural disaster. For information, call (615) 474-9012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alive Hospice is offering free counseling and grief support for anyone affected by the tornado. Treatment is available for all ages. Please call (615) 963-4732.
Daystar Counseling Ministries is offering support for high school kids needing a safe place to process; free to families impacted by the storm. For information, call (615) 298-5353.
Disaster Distress Helpline is a national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. For information, call (1-800) 985-5990.
Nashville CARES is offering pro bono, brief intervention for anyone directly affected by the storms; treatment approaches to include brainspotting and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. Business hours are from 8 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For information, (615) 921-0284.
Nashville 2020 Tornado Crisis Support is offering pro bono therapy provided by mostly private practice therapists. Click this link to choose a therapist of your choice and see open appointment times.
Safe Haven Trauma Services is offering pro bono crisis response; support groups for children and adults; with limited spots available for individual therapy. For information, (615) 241-6130.
Onsite Foundation is offering pro bono crisis support and grief counseling services for anyone affected. For information, call (615) 323-3191.
Metro Nashville’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Services include a crisis support center and mobile unit. For more information, click here.
YWCA Nashville’s Domestic Violence Crisis and Support text line (available 24/7): 615-983-5170.
Insurance and FEMA claims
If you have not registered with FEMA for tornado damage from the March 3 tornado, a 60 day extension is being offered after May 4 to those who are interested in applying late. Reasoning will need to be provided for why you need the extension. Call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.
If your home or property was affected by the storms and you live in Davidson, Putnam, and Wilson counties, you can register with FEMA the following ways:
1. Apply online.
2. Call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service, call 1-800-621-3362.
Nonprofit and Small Business Resources:
Gabbyville Virtual Receptionist Services is a local business founded by Nisha Goyal-Parikh. She has a team of warm and friendly virtual receptionists offering free services to local businesses in need. Their virtual receptionists can answer calls, take messages, schedule appointments, and place outbound calls on your behalf remotely. If you are a local business owner who would like more information and assistance, please call the Gabbyville customer service line at (800) 903-7141, email email@example.com, or visit gabbyville.com to live chat with a service representative.
The Nashville Camber of Commerce has created a comprehensive list of resources related to preparing and responding to COVID-19. For information, click here.
The U.S. Chamber Foundation is offering disaster recovery experts to support to local businesses. Please call (202) 463-5518 for information.
Resilience in a Boxis a resource guide based on best practices designed to help educate business leaders on disaster preparedness and business resilience.
The Nashville Humane Association has supplies and resources available including crates, food, blankets, leashes, collars and other basic supplies at their headquarters at 213 Oceola Avenue near the intersection of White Bridge Road and Charlotte Pike.
Shelter and Housing
Athena Hospitality Group is offering hotels at a discounted rate in Nashville and Franklin for displaced residents, volunteers, or relief crews in need of hotel rooms. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Towers at Due West is offering hotel-style bedrooms for short term residents affected by the tornado and those experiencing homelessness. To make reservations, contact Charles Parker at (615) 478-8717 or email@example.com.
Shower and Laundry Services
Tide Loads of Hope will be distributing relief supplies throughout affected areas, and will collect laundry from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 8 or until reach capacity at Kroger, 800 Monroe Street Nashville, TN 37208. For the most up-to-date truck info, please visit the website: http://spr.ly/61831qHWU.
Shower the People is currently running a limited mobile shower route. For information and scheduling, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freebird is partnering with Hands On Nashville to offer $10 cash back on your Uber or Lyft ride to a volunteer site.Download the Freebird app for free here, set up your account and the promo code, HONASHVILLE* will automatically appear in your account. When ready to head to a volunteer site, TAP on your $10 ride voucher card and order your Uber or Lyft through the Freebird app. *Promo code HONASHVILLE is good for new users only. Terms apply. Current Freebird users see below for your code offer.Current users: Using your Freebird app, just tap the menu icon on the top left part of the screen (looks like a hamburger). Next, tap on the Promo Codes section. On this screen, you can enter the code HONASHFB. Terms apply.If you volunteer more than once, you will also receive a second bonus voucher which will allow you to earn 500 points for four additional rides to volunteer sites. Every 5,000 points earned in the Freebird app is worth a $10 reward.
In hot weather, try to stay cool by staying in air-conditioned buildings, taking breaks in shaded areas or in cool rooms, drinking water and nonalcoholic fluids often, and wearing light and loose-fitting clothing.
Clean up and dry your home quickly after the storm or flood ends- within 24 to 48 hours if possible.
Air out your house by opening doors and windows. Use fans to dry wet areas. Position fans to blow air out doors or windows.
Throw away anything that you can’t clean or dry quickly (such as mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings, and paper products).
Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.
Thoroughly clean all wet items and surfaces with hot water and laundry or dish detergent. For example, you’ll want to clean any flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures.
Fix any leaks in roofs, walls, or plumbing as soon as you can.
Clean up mold with a mix of bleach and water
Never use bleach in a closed space. Open windows and doors first.
Remember that anything that’s had contact with floodwater could carry germs. To keep your kids safe, make sure their toys are clean:
Make a cleaning fluid by mixing 1 cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water.
Wash off toys carefully with your cleaner.
Let the toys air dry.
You may not be able to kill germs on some toys — like stuffed animals and baby toys. Throw out toys you can’t clean.
Wash up with soap and water
Wash up with soap and water once you’re done cleaning.
If there is a boil-water advisory in effect:
Use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing); or
Use water that’s been disinfected for personal hygiene:
Use5%-6% unscented liquid household chlorine bleach – add a little less than 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops or about 0.5 milliliters) per 1 gallon of clear water. Stir well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before using. If the water is cloudy, add a little less than ¼ teaspoon (16 drops or about 1 milliliter) per 1 gallon of water.
If you have any open cuts or sores that were exposed to floodwater, wash them with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent an infection.
Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or sick.
Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
Be careful with floodwater- it can contain dangerous bacteria
Floodwater can contain dangerous bacteria from overflowing sewage and agricultural and industrial waste. While skin contact with floodwater doesn’t pose a serious health risk by itself, eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater can cause diseases.
If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. (See also Clean Hands Save Lives: Emergency Situations)
To reduce cold–related risks when standing or working in water which is cooler than 75 degrees F (24 degrees C), wear insulated clothes and insulated rubber boots, take frequent breaks out of the water, and change into dry clothing when possible.
Stay away from any damaged buildings or structures until a building inspector or other government authority has had a chance to examine it and certify that it’s safe.
Wait until daylight to return to buildings so it’s easier to see and avoid any hazards- especially if the power is out.
Leave your home or other building if you hear any shifting or strange noises- this could mean it’s about to fall.
If you smell gas or suspect a leak, leave your house/building and contact emergency authorities right away! Don’t turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that can cause a spark. Don’t return to the building until you’re told it’s safe to do so.
Keep children and pets away from the affected area until cleanup has been completed.
Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
Never use generators, pressure washers, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage, or camper—or even outside near an open window, door, or vent. Carbon monoxide—an odorless, colorless gas from these sources that can cause sudden illness and death—can build up indoors and poison the people and animals inside.
If electrical circuits and electrical equipment have gotten wet or are in or near water, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off.
Never turn power on or off or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
Do not connect generators to your home’s electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices. If a generator is on line when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard and it may endanger line workers helping to restore power in your area.
Congratulations to the amazing volunteers nominated for the 2020 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards. Read on for a full list of nominees in each category, and stay tuned: We will announce the finalists Feb. 20!
Save the date for the luncheon: Join Hands On Nashville on Thursday, April 2, to celebrate volunteerism in our community. Tickets go on sale Feb. 20.
2020 Strobel Awards Nominees
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.
Karen Barnes Bice
Marc & Allison Bussone
Michelle Rogers Carver
Helenah ‘Ellie’ Grove
Catharine L. Hollifield
Judy F. Link
Anna & Jason Rodriguez Masi
Patricia A. Merritt
Susanne Shepherd Post
Dee Jay Shoulders
Mary E. Walker
Kenneth P. Watkins
Civic Volunteer Group
Recognizes representatives of civic, membership, faith-based or non-corporate groups that volunteer together for a specific cause or issue.
100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
2019 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project Supervisors on Site
Bhutanese Community of Tennessee
BLAZE Mentoring Program
Charlotte Heights Church of Christ Volunteers
Clement Railroad Hotel Museum Volunteers
Cleveland Park Neighbors Association
Friends Life Community
Kiwanis Club of Nashville
The Mad Hatters of Stonebridge
Members in Motion
The Minerva Foundation of Tennessee, Inc.
Murfreesboro Muslim Youth
Musicians On Call
Nashville Fire Hockey Team
The N.O.O.K. (Needs of Our Kids)
Our Savior Lutheran
Tennessee Aquatic Project and Development Group, Inc.
Tennessee Volunteer Challenge Academy
Pays tribute to businesses that have robust employee volunteer programs with high levels of participation and impact.
Dialysis Clinic, Inc.
Hilton Downtown Nashville
Lowe’s Dickerson Pike
Nissan Manufacturing Smyrna
Nissan North America
The Surgical Clinic
Tractor Supply Company
Recognizes individuals who have contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources to help an agency’s constituents.
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.
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.
Dr. Vincent Couden
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
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
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
Golden Rule Construction
Hawkins Partners, Inc.
Uncle Classic Barbershop
Applauds volunteers of all ages who participate in hands-on, direct service with a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry, or community organization.
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!
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.”
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
Nearly 1,000 volunteers came together on Saturday, Sept. 22, for the 27th Annual Hands On Nashville Day, a citywide day of service supporting Metro Nashville Public Schools. At 15 schools, volunteers created inspirational murals, landscaped playgrounds and school gardens, painted hallways and gymnasiums, and more.
“The volunteers out here today are showing how much they support MNPS students and families,” said Dr. Kimberly Fowler, principal of Hickman Elementary School. “Their efforts are about more than a coat of paint or a wheelbarrow of mulch. They’re spending their time to show just how important our schools and our children are to the whole community.”