As the holidays kick off and revelers and shoppers are more likely to spend time out and about in groups, the Metro Public Health Department is looking for volunteers to help spread the word about masks and social distancing. Katie Stone from Metro Public Health took time to answer some questions for Hands On Nashville about how a mask and social distancing ambassador spends a volunteer shift.
HON: What will a shift as a mask and social distancing ambassador look like for a volunteer?
Katie: The volunteers will initially meet up as a group with the Health Dept representative and will be given a hat and a yellow “Public Health Volunteer” shirt to clearly identify them. From there, depending on the number of people available, we will disperse and walk around to ensure visibility. Volunteers will work in groups of 2.
HON: To what parts of town will volunteers deploy?
Katie: The current areas are Lower Broadway, Opry Mills Mall, and Green Hills Mall. However, some of those may change based on need and number of signups.
HON: What happens if someone takes offense to the volunteer’s suggestions?
Katie: The volunteer should simply walk away and let the Health Dept representative know if they have any concerns.
HON: Why are these volunteer ambassadors important to Metro’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19?
Katie: As is now widely known, the wearing of masks and maintaining distance from others greatly reduces the spread of COVID-19. However, pandemic fatigue is setting in, and we have found that a visible reminder (by way of people wearing yellow “Public Health Volunteer” shirts and hats) of the need to continue following recommendations is very helpful in encouraging those out in public to wear their masks and remain socially distant. By encouraging people to wear masks and stay socially distanced, volunteers can help stop the spread and keep our city and economy going until COVID-19 is behind us.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 17, 2020) – Middle Tennesseans were honored for their volunteerism during Hands On Nashville’s 34th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, presented by Jackson National Life Insurance Co. Recipients were unveiled during a multiday, virtual ceremony, which occurred Sept. 14–16.
The annual event recognizes volunteers for their outstanding contributions to the community, and celebrates the life of Mary Catherine Strobel, a Nashvillian who had an outstanding dedication to service. Winners are typically honored during a luncheon at the Music City Center; however, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit opted to recognize recipients virtually.
“Mary Catherine Strobel was the living embodiment of generosity and service to others,” said Lori Shinton, president and CEO of Hands On Nashville. “In light of the recent events in our community – including the March tornado and pandemic currently impacting our country – it is more important now than ever to honor the amazing volunteers who do Mary Catherine’s legacy proud by giving back.”
Community members submitted 165 nominations for the 2020 Strobel Volunteer Awards.
“This event celebrates the spirit of giving that is so crucial to improving our city,” said Aimee DeCamillo, chief commercial officer and president, Jackson National Life Distributors LLC, the presenting sponsor for the awards. “We are thrilled to take part in such a proud tradition and help recognize all of these volunteers for their incredible dedication, in the hopes that they may inspire the next generation of givers to take up the cause.”
The award recipients are as follows:
Sherri Mitchell-Snider – Capacity-building Volunteer Award
Chicktime – Civic Volunteer Group Award
Creative Artists Agency Nashville – Corporate Volunteerism Award
Emily Phan – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages 5 to 20)
Adam Crookston – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages 21 to 49)
Claudia Prange – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages 50-plus)
About the Awards
The Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards are named in memory of the late Mary Catherine Strobel, known for her extensive and charitable efforts toward improving the lives of Middle Tennessee’s homeless, impoverished and less fortunate populations. The annual awards ceremony celebrates her service and recognizes those who continue her legacy. View all nominees for the 2020 awards.
It is hard to believe August is nearly halfway over, which means it’s time to say goodbye to the 2019-2020 HON AmeriCorps cohort. For the past year, the HON AmeriCorps program engaged 19 civic-minded individuals in a yearlong term of service at local nonprofits. They received skills training, professional development, and networking opportunities, while building programmatic capacity at the agencies they supported.
Between the devastating March 3 tornado and the communitywide impacts of COVID-19, this has been a challenging year. These AmeriCorps members have proven to be creative, resilient, and impactful in the face of these challenges, and they stepped up to lead in a time of crisis in our community.
Please join us in wishing them well and read on to learn more about their most memorable experiences and teachable moments, and how the nonprofiteers at the organizations where they served feel about them. We could not be more grateful for this group, and they will all be dearly missed!
Let’s hear from the leaders at the agencies where they served
“Ellen has been a true joy to serve alongside for the past year. Every aspect of our operation she’s been involved with has been improved. I cannot image the last year with her as part of the team. Her spirit and willingness to learn will be dearly missed.” — Drew Himsworth (Community Partner Coordinator, Hands On Nashville)
“Paige’s infinite positivity and incredible work ethic will certainly be missed here! Oh, and let’s not forget all the entertaining animal rescue stories … A compassionate spirit, that one. Incredibly quick learning and efficient.” – Julia Weber (Program Manager, Tennessee Environmental Council)
“When the tornado hit in March, HON was inundated with emails and social media messages from people wanting to help and looking for access to services. Mary helped our team navigate and respond to thousands of inquiries, all while working a second job. She brings levity and humor to everything she does, and we’re so excited to see what her future holds!” — Lindsey Turner (Director of Communications, Hands On Nashville)
“Hayley is a wonderful team member — always up for a challenge (hello, chainsaw!), ready to pitch in and work wherever needed, warm, funny, dedicated, and thoughtful about how she carries out her responsibilities. We’ll miss her terribly. She’s going to be a great success in the field of nonprofit management, and anyone who works with her will be fortunate to have her!” – Karin Weaver (Corporate Project Manager, Hands On Nashville)
Samantha Estes, Citizen Science and Volunteer Restoration Project Coordinator at Harpeth Conservancy
“Samantha has been a pleasure to work with during her time at Harpeth Conservancy. Her passion and work ethic helped us develop a well-rounded volunteer engagement program and communication strategy.” — Ryan W. Jackwood, Director of Watershed Science & Restoration
“All programs outcomes and outputs have close to doubled with Katin on our team. She brought skills, commitment, team work, dedication and enthusiasm the position.” — Monette Rebecca (Richland Creek Watershed Alliance)
“Ezra is one of the hardest working individuals we’ve ever gotten the pleasure of working with. He maneuvered through these trying times with grace and confidence.” — Julia Weber (Program Manager, Tennessee Environmental Council)
“Through her service term with the Cumberland River Compact’s education programs, Alex taught over 1,300 students across our region about the value of our water resources and inspired the future water stewards. Her contagious enthusiasm, creativity, and can-do attitude were an important asset to us in these changing times and she will be missed next year. Thank you, Alex!” — Catherine Price (Education & Outreach Manager, Cumberland River Compact)
“Matt’s can-do attitude was a welcome addition to our AmeriCorps team. His willingness to jump in and help was always a welcome sight during the past year!” — Gray Perry (Program Manager, Clean Streams)
“Dylan is a hard worker who takes initiative, and everyone who had the opportunity to work with him — staff, community volunteers, and more — enjoyed his easy-going nature and professionalism.” — Meg Morgan (Campaign Manager, Root Nashville)
“My favorite memory was seeing our Fall Wild & Scenic Film Festival come to fruition. This was really my first major responsibility in my service year and a great learning experience in event organizing, but also organizing with community partners. It was very rewarding to see it become a success and gave me confidence continuing through my service year.”
“Serving alongside fellow AmeriCorps members and staff at Hands On Nashville during tornado cleanup efforts was by far the most memorable and life-changing moment of this year of service. Being able to assist those impacted by the disaster while learning from the talented staff at HON was an experience unlike any other.”
“The most rewarding part of my service year was helping with the tornado relief efforts. It was really impactful to see so many people come together during this time and lend a hand in whatever way they could.”
Jasmine Lucas, Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator at Plant the Seed
“I’ve learned about a variety of stages nonprofits can operate out of. Rolling with the punches is a MUST when serving with nonprofits, but it is quite rewarding in the end when everyone takes on the punches and powers through together. You see the resilience of community through nonprofits.”
Ben speaks on his favorite memory: “During the tornado response as I was walking the streets directing volunteers, I got a call from a guy offering his assistance including some heavy machinery he had. When he said he was from Maryland all of a sudden, I was speechless. He said hello a couple of times thinking the call had dropped. I told him I was just at a loss for words, touched that people wanted to come help from so far away.”
*Ben also served with Plant the Seed but transitioned to HON when schools closed in the spring as a result of COVID-19.
Lily Sronkoski, Garden Programming and Partnerships Coordinator at Plant the Seed
“I thought I was adaptable before this year, but I was wrong. I truly learned how to be adaptable this year.”
Jessa Tremblay, Programming and Partnerships Coordinator at Plant the Seed
Jessa speaks highly of her time serving over the course of the year: “Kids are hilarious. The things they say to you are so bizarre, but so wonderful. It was absolutely wonderful getting to know my students over time and I always went to work grateful that I was getting to teach them and get to know them better.”