As we’ve learned from the March 2020 tornado, COVID-19 pandemic, March 2021 flooding, and hurricane warning earlier this month — disasters can strike unexpectedly.
There’s no better time than the present to prepare to protect, and keep you and your family safe during a disaster.
September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), an observance each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. This year the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is using its public service campaign, Ready, to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to promote preparedness through public involvement.
This year, Ready is promoting four key ways to be prepared:
(1) Stay informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses
(2) make a family emergency plan and
(3) build an emergency supply kit, and
(4) get involved in your community by taking action to prepare for emergencies.
There’s some easy, low cost ways to prepare for a disaster:
Start today by signing up for alerts, safe-guarding important documents, and taking other low cost and no cost preparedness actions to lessen the impact of disasters and emergencies for you and your family.
For a full list of how you can get involved, click here.
Don’t forget to share your preparedness prep with us! We would love if you shared your kits, how you’re making a plan, or any other helpful information others should know with us by tagging us on social media @HONashville, and using the Ready hashtags, #BeReady and #PrepareToProtect!
After a successful pilot in early 2021, Hands On Nashville and Vanderbilt’s Ingram Scholars Program (ISP) will expand our partnership for the fall academic semester, connecting additional undergraduate Scholars with nonprofits and civic agencies across Davidson County. The ISP, founded in 1994, strives to facilitate service opportunities relating to each Scholar’s respective interests and to prepare Scholars for professional careers grounded in social progress.
“We are beyond thrilled to join Hands On Nashville’s incredible network,” says Garrett Singer, ISP Service Coordinator. “The Ingram Scholars Program is known for its long-standing commitment to reciprocal and durable service. Our newly established partnership with HON will allow our Scholars to better meet the needs of Nashville’s nonprofit community, simultaneously deepening their commitment to social progress and accelerating their personal development.”
Scholars pursue their chosen passion though a rigorous four-year curriculum that emphasizes durable, sustainable service initiatives. Each of Vanderbilt’s 40 Scholars is required to complete 16 hours of service per month during the academic year, for a total value of nearly $4,000 per community partner per year.
Early in 2021, Scholars served remotely, but Singer says the program is looking to have remote and in-person options for Scholars this fall.
Hands On Nashville and the ISP will host a virtual information session for interested nonprofits on Wednesday, March 31, at 1p.m. to discuss:
Curricular overview – What projects are Ingram Scholars equipped to participate in?
Ensuring reciprocity – Coaching Scholar development in organizational capacity-building
Finalizing opportunities – A timeline for the summer and fall
If your organization is interested in learning more about hosting an Ingram Scholar later this year, please email A.T. Branch (email@example.com) and copy Garrett Singer, ISP Service Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an invitation to the virtual information session!
Nashville is a community steeped in Black history and shaped by Black voices and culture. Every year, Black History Month puts a spotlight on the transformative but often painful history of Black Americans, and how, despite systemic injustice and roadblocks, they have contributed so much to American culture and achievement.
Nashvillians are fortunate to have many ways to learn more about Black history, music, and organizations all year long, not just in February. Here’s a roundup of some tours, events, and initiatives that strive to strengthen our community’s understanding of Black history and commitment to racial equity.
Please note that COVID-19 may result in changes to or cancellations of events listed here. Please check with the individual agencies and organizations ahead of time for scheduling updates! And check out even more events and activities here. Know of a great event or activity we’re missing? Leave it in the comments!
• National Museum of African-American Music: This beautiful new museum just opened and is accepting visitors. NMAAM is the first museum to tell a comprehensive story about the impact African Americans have made on American culture through music. Bonus, NMAAM recently joined HON as a community partner, and we’re looking forward to all the ways volunteers will be able to support the museum!
CLICK HERE to learn more about how to visit the museum, which is open on Saturdays and Sundays this month.
• Tour civil rights sit-in locations:This 1.2-hour, 1-mile walking tour takes participants to notable locations in the sit-in movement in which demonstrators peacefully occupied a location to challenge segregation and discrimination. Rep. John Lewis, who died in 2020, famously led a series of sit-ins in Nashville.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the walking tour (and its virtual version).
• Learn about the Black experience: Billed as “A virtual Black history experience for disrupters,” this live, interactive event hosted by antiracism activist and founder of United Street Tours Chakita Sharnise promises to show Nashville as you’ve never seen it.
CLICK HERE to register for the Feb. 1 event (select the “virtual experiences” tab) at 6 p.m., which will also be recorded and made available to view for 48 hours after the event.
• Tour sites important to early Black life and culture:This 1.5-hour, 1.2-mile walking tour uncovers the buried history of early Black life and culture in Nashville by exploring the lives and work of free and enslaved African Americans.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the walking tour (and its virtual version).
• Learn about historic Black communities in Tennessee: This Feb. 4 online panel discussion hosted by the Tennessee State Museum will take a look at how historic Black communities including Orange Mound and Free Hill were created, their evolution, and the broader cultural impact.
CLICK HERE to sign up for the event via Facebook. The Tennessee State Museum has additional Black History Month events scheduled this month. Check them all out here.
• Support Black-led nonprofits via CFMT’s Give Black, Give Back initiative: In 2020, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee launched Give Black, Give Back as a way to support and strengthen equity in Middle Tennessee.
• Volunteer with the Equity Alliance:The Equity Alliance is a grassroots local organization that advocates for African Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunities at realizing the American dream. TEA strives to equip citizens with tools and strategies to engage in the civic process and empower them to take action on issues affecting their daily lives.
January is recognized as National Mentoring Month, a time to take an uplifting look at the power of relationships. Mentoring amplifies change, one relationship at a time, and helps young people find and follow their passions.
Hands On Nashville is incredibly fortunate to partner with organizations that sponsor and nurture mentorship programs across Middle Tennessee. Here are just a few options for how volunteers can make a difference in someone else’s life:
BEGIN ANEW: Tutor students online to help them grow stronger with their education, and stronger in their faith. Begin Anew is a faith-based education program working to empower individuals to overcome obstacles created by poverty. They provide GED test prep, English as a second language classes, and computer and job-skills classes to adults, as well as mentoring and access to resources. SIGN UP HERE
DISMAS HOUSE: Work with adults transitioning out of the prison system to increase their educational and job-preparedness skills. Volunteers assist with preparation for college placement exams, academic support, resume and cover letter writing, internet navigation, and more. Dismas House‘s mission is to foster community awareness and understanding of the challenges and obstacles formerly incarcerated men face upon re-entry by providing a system for personal transformation and growth as they transition back into society. SIGN UP HERE
THE FAMILY CENTER: Practice healthy coping, social, and emotional skills with clients at The Family Center! Each year The Family Center helps more than 4,000 families by providing the support and tools they need to better themselves as parents and as people. SIGN UP HERE
THE NASHVILLE DOLPHINS: Assist with teaching special needs children to swim while instilling in them a sense of teamwork and accomplishment with the Nashville Dolphins. The Nashville Dolphins offer the physical and emotional benefits of swimming to people with special needs regardless of age, ability, or financial circumstances, and their programming is offered at no cost to participants. SIGN UP HERE
NASHVILLE INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR EMPOWERMENT: Become a youth mentor and help students and their families navigate online learning platforms, develop and maintain learning schedules, offer homework assistance, and provide individualized support to English Learner students. It is the Nashville International Center for Empowerment‘s mission to ensure refugees and immigrants achieve their full potential now and for generations to come. SIGN UP HERE
PRESTON TAYLOR MINISTRIES: Volunteer with Preston Taylor Ministries’ after-school program, where you can work with children in kindergarten through fourth grade to help facilitate math and reading rotations, give assistance with homework, and provide instruction in enrichment activities. Preston Taylor Ministries is a mentoring program that offers several avenues for building life-changing relationships.SIGN UP HERE
SALVATION ARMY NASHVILLE: Volunteer music instructors are needed to assist in teaching future musicians! The Salvation Army offers music lessons two to three days a week, with a flexible schedule for volunteers. Drums, piano, and guitar players are immediately needed, but all other instrumentalists are encouraged to sign up. SIGN UP HERE
YOUTH VILLAGES: Offer guidance and support through one-on-one relationships with Youth Villages’ Mentoring Program. This opportunity provides young people receiving their services with positive adult role models. Some mentors choose to play catch at the park, get a burger and hang out, or even take a trip to the county fair. SIGN UP HERE
WATER WALKERS: The Water Walkers offer multiple mentorship opportunities with children. Options range from participating in after-school tutoring, having fun during recreational time, or supervising monthly indoor rock climbing adventures. Water Walkers is a water-sports and adventure-based education and mentoring nonprofit serving kids in Nashville. They use water sports and adventure to provide chances for kids to face fears, grow in confidence, and learn that they are capable of achieving the life they want for themselves. SIGN UP HERE
NASHVILLE – September 23, 2017 – This morning, more than 1,000 volunteers came together for the 26th 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 painted hallways, gymnasiums and more.
“Today’s volunteers aren’t just sprucing up schools,” said Dennis Neal, executive director of the Facility and Grounds Maintenance Department at Metro Nashville Public Schools. “They’re showing support for the MNPS students and families who learn and grow in these spaces every day.”
Hands On Nashville partnered with numerous community organizations and businesses in support of the day of service. A team of employee volunteers from Altria, the presenting sponsor, completed projects at Cora Howe School. Nashville Tree Foundation and Cumberland River Compact also contributed support.
“Hands On Nashville Day helps us give back to the community in which we live and work,” said Altria’s Mark Czuba. “It’s powerful to see what we can accomplish as a team, especially as we focus on a cause as important as our local schools.”
Metro Public Works partnered with the event for the second year as part of Mayor Megan Barry’s Fall Green & Clean initiative, sponsoring 100 tree plantings. Funding was provided through a Community Partner Grant from Lowe’s/Keep America Beautiful (KAB), a national nonprofit that inspires and educates people to improve and beautify community environments.
The Nashville Tree Foundation supported the event through the Green Shirt Volunteer program, which recognizes volunteers who have experience planting trees at NTF events or have related professional qualifications. Green Shirt Volunteers trained and supervised Hands On Nashville Day projects to ensure proper planting methods, and will do so for additional planting projects in the community.
“Hands On Nashville’s mission – to meet community needs through volunteerism – truly comes alive on this day,” said Lori Shinton, president and CEO of Hands On Nashville. “Our team has the unique position to see the impact volunteers contribute to our city every day, and events like Hands On Nashville Day highlight this impact for our entire community.”
Throughout Hands On Nashville’s 26 years, more than 26,000 volunteers have engaged in 75,000 hours of Hands On Nashville Day service, creating an economic impact valued at nearly $2 million, according to Independent Sector research.
To support Hands On Nashville’s work, please consider purchasing a commemorative HON Day 2017 t-shirt. $20 of the $26 t-shirt price goes directly to Hands On Nashville. Learn more at http://www.hon.org/honday.
This June and July, Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corps is inviting teens to spend a week of summer vacation exploring issues facing our community. Each weeklong session focuses on a different issue area – environment, hunger and homelessness, health and wellness and youth education – and is designed to encourage a deeper understanding of our community through hands-on service learning experiences.
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.
“When I finished my G.E.D., I decided I wanted to go to college,” says Michelle McCann. “The Martha O’Bryan Center was right there helping me complete applications and take the necessary steps I needed to get accepted.”
McCann’s dream is to become a social worker. She wants to help people struggling with poverty, just as the Martha O’Bryan Center helped her. “[Recently] I found out that I have been accepted to attend Berea College in Kentucky on a full scholarship. Martha O’Bryan has been there with me for this ride for as long as I can remember, through my falls and through my strengths.”
Every day, the Martha O’Bryan Center empowers people just like Michelle McCann to realize their full potential. On a foundation of Christian faith, the Martha O’Bryan Center serves children, youth, and adults in poverty, enabling them to transform their lives through work, education, employment, and fellowship.
The families served by Martha O’Bryan in Cayce Place – Nashville’s oldest, largest, and poorest public housing development – and the surrounding East Nashville area are faced with multiple barriers to success. They live in extreme poverty, in a high-crime area, and do not have ready access to transportation or technology options. Martha O’Bryan also serves families from the CWA Plaza Apartments, a development that houses 803 residents (55% under the age of 18; majority are single-parent, female heads of households). A rapidly increasing immigrant population also characterizes these apartments with around 35% being Somali or Sudanese.
Volunteers play a critical role in the Center’s day-to-day activities. Here are just a few of the ways energetic people like you can help: