Tag Archives: “Hands On Nashville”

Resolve to Serve Stories: Nashville Dolphins

Edward McClarty hadn’t been searching for a long-term volunteering gig when he was asked to bring smoothies to the Nashville Dolphins’ Swim-a-Thon.

“I didn’t give it much thought at the time, other than it was my way of giving back to my local community,” says McClarty, who had just become the owner of a Smoothie King. “Obviously, God had other plans.”

Shortly after, McClarty began prepping for an Iron Man Triathlon, which required a lot of swimming. He was training in the Gordon Jewish Community Center’s pool — the same pool where the Nashville Dolphins were holding a swim class — when he had an idea.

“I asked if I could get in the water and assist the athletes, and it just developed from there,” he says.

The Nashville Dolphins’ mission is to enable people with special needs to experience the physical and emotional benefits of swimming. The Dolphins provide free learn-to-swim classes and a free swim team to children and adults with special needs.

“Volunteers continue to come back because they are able to see the direct impact they are having with our organization,” says Program Director Megan Kelly. “They are working with the same swimmers each week so they are able to see their growth and progress and build friendships with our swimmers.”

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Edward McClarty

Since that afternoon when he got in the pool with the Dolphins, McClarty — AKA Coach Ed — has spent his Tuesday nights leading swim practice. He decides the curriculum and exercises, gets swimmers ready for practice, and conducts the drills.

“We run the swim practice just like any other swim team,” Coach Ed explains. He says he enjoys seeing what each athlete is capable of and helping them work hard to maximize their potential.

For Coach Ed, who has been swimming with the Dolphins since 2004, serving with the organization has been a spiritual endeavor.

“I’m so blessed to be a part of this. I’m so happy that the parents and the athletes want me there to participate, and I’m grateful to offer whatever it is that I offer to them.”

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with the Nashville Dolphins, express interest here

Photos provided by Nashville Dolphins.

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AmeriCorps Member Spotlight: Jasmine Lucas

Jasmine Lucas joined the HON AmeriCorps Program in late March. Read on to learn more about her!

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Jasmine Lucas

Community Outreach Coordinator at Hands On Nashville

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding?

Being out with the volunteers and recognizing them for what they are contributing to their community. It has been exhilarating to meet individual volunteers who walk completely different lives from one another meet up and commune over serving the community. I believe there is nothing more beautiful than that. I plan on recognizing our volunteers directly through social media in future Community Partner events. I’m excited to be the voice of HON and put forth the faces of our volunteers!

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?

What drew me to serve with AmeriCorps was that I saw it as a chance for me to be a part of something bigger than myself. That has been my driving force for a long while. I have made many personal, developmental decisions based on this standard, and it has yet to fail me. I have always grown to be a better person when I made a decision to be a part of something that is bigger than myself, and I am confident AmeriCorps is that next “bigger than myself” opportunity in this season of my life.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term?

After AmeriCorps I am not quite sure what I will start doing. So far, I plan to serve another term with a nonprofit here in Nashville. After that, I may begin working with a local nonprofit in Nashville, or I may travel the world teaching English as a Second Language (I have a lot of international friends who want me to visit 🙂 )

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

In my free time I partake in a variety of hobbies including crocheting, writing/reading poetry, watching movies with my roommates, and going on excursions around Nashville with new friends. You will probably also find me staking out at local coffee shops as I read and write.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2019-2020 AmeriCorps cohort. Learn more and apply here.

AmeriCorps Member Spotlights: Rachel Bradd and Drew Himsworth

It’s been an honor during this year’s AmeriCorps Week to share stories of some of the incredible HON AmeriCorps members serving in nonprofits across Nashville.

Today we feature two members of the Hands On Nashville squad. They have been incredible teammates and all-around natural HONies.

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Rachel Bradd

Volunteer Project Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

One thing that was particularly rewarding was planning an event with a non-profit/corporation that HON has never worked with for my AmeriCorps MLK Day of Service project. Through this project with the help of Drew (HON’s Community Partner Program Coordinator AmeriCorps member) we were able to plan, organize, and assist volunteers, in partnership with Metro Social Services, with bundling more than 600 care packages to distribute to people experiencing homelessness.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

I wanted to gain experience in the business environment while simultaneously pursuing my MBA. This opportunity also allowed for me to serve my community. Service to others has always been a big part of my life.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

My plan is to pursue a career in government contracting with a government agency.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

As a full-time grad student, I am typically studying or writing papers when I’m not serving or volunteering. I also do check out the occasional coffee shop for an extra boost of energy when I have a bit of free time on the weekends.

 

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Drew Himsworth

Community Partner Program Coordinator

What’s something you’ve done during your service term, or something you’re planning, that has been particularly rewarding? 

Building and designing an MLK donation drive to help those experiencing homelessness. We had a great response from the community when asking for items. Then the volunteers who showed up were hard working and amazing.

What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps? 

The opportunity to serve at Hands On Nashville and interact with so many amazing non-profits in the Greater Nashville area.

What’s the plan once you’ve completed your term? 

Continue to work in nonprofits and try to help others who need help.

How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering? 

Playing ultimate Frisbee, volunteering, dog-sitting, playing video games, making puzzles.

Resolve to Serve Stories: Weed Wrangle®

Cayce McAlister remembers how different the forest looked when she was young.

“You saw tree trunks. You didn’t see all this low-level scrub,” she says. “All that green scourge you see in the woods is invasive plants.”

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Cayce McAlister

McAlister says that native plants and trees don’t stand a chance in areas that are overgrown with non-native species. Invasive plants reproduce and spread quickly, often out-competing native plants. This leads to a reduction in plant diversity and the loss of habitat and food for wildlife.

Now McAlister is on a mission. A former president and longtime member of the Garden Club of Nashville, she was instrumental in founding Weed Wrangle®, an annual event where volunteers gather in parks and public spaces to remove problematic plants. The annual pull puts a dent in the problem, but McAlister says that alone won’t solve the issue of invasive plant growth. There must be public education, too.

Each Weed Wrangle® site will have an official on hand to show the participants clippings of the pesky plants to target and tell them the best tactics for removal.

“Invasive plants have no borders, and the success of our effort is affected dramatically by landscaping practices of neighbors to all of these public areas,” she says. McAlister encourages attendees to take their new knowledge home and eradicate invasive species in their own yards. Then talk to the people next door about doing the same.

In 2015, its first year, Weed Wrangle® drew more than 500 volunteers to 13 sites across Nashville. McAlister says the event has grown quickly and now exists across multiple Tennessee markets and in 13 other states. Since its inception, Weed Wrangle® has engaged 3,164 volunteers in Tennessee, who have contributed a combined 27,528 volunteer hours.

This year’s event, slated for March 2, has 20 Middle Tennessee sites where volunteers will wrangle weeds. You don’t have to be a gardener to help, says McAlister, who, as the event’s National Chair, is a full-time volunteer and travels the country spreading the seed of an idea that first took root in Nashville.

“There is a job for everyone out there. Little kids can pick up debris and drag it to the pile. Big buff people, they’re all trying to yank everything out of the ground instead of using tools,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a fun day.”

You can join the fun by browsing Weed Wrangle® opportunities here.

Interested in signing up to host your own Weed Wrangle® site? Visit the Weed Wrangle® website or email Ampage158@gmail.com.

Photos courtesy of Weed Wrangle.

 

Volunteers Honor Veterans Day through Service

111016_OSDTN Veterans Day Cummins_wm-14.jpgIn honor of Veterans Day, Hands On Nashville and a team of Cummins volunteers made energy-efficiency and home improvements to support Operation Stand Down Tennessee‘s Transitional Housing Program.  Continue reading Volunteers Honor Veterans Day through Service

Eight Nonprofits Achieve Excellence in Volunteer Engagement

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On Oct. 27, Mayor Barry joined Hands On Nashville and the Center Nonprofit Management to celebrate eight Davidson county nonprofits achieving Excellence in Volunteer Engagement.

The gathering marked the 10th round of EVE, which recognizes nonprofits leading high-quality volunteer management programs.

“Thank you for putting volunteers at the heart of your operations,” Mayor Barry said. “There’s nothing more special about Nashville – and Nashvillians – than our desire to help.”

Today, Park Center and Hope Clinic for Women achieved Excellence in Volunteer Engagement certification for the first time, while American Cancer Society – Nashville Chapter, Bellevue Edible Learning Lab, Nashville Sports Council, and Open Table Nashville renewed their certification. Hospital Hospitality House Nashville and Operation Stand Down Tennessee each achieved certification for a third time.

To be certified with EVE honors, nonprofits must meet certain volunteer management best practices, including a volunteer program component in the organization’s strategic plan and more. In total, 64 organizations are currently EVE-certified.

Excellence in Volunteer Engagement was co-founded by Hands On Nashville, Center for Nonprofit Management and Mayor Karl Dean in November 2011. In 2016, Mayor Megan Barry renewed this unique cross-sector partnership.

Congratulations to each of the organizations recognized! To learn, more visit HON.org/EVE.

 

 

Introducing Hands On Nashville’s 2016-2017 AmeriCorps Members!

092816_AmeriCorps-Team-Photo--1.jpgThis Fall, Hands On Nashville welcomed a class of AmeriCorps members to serve in key impact areas. From leading projects that enhance our environment, to harnessing the power of Nashville’s corporate volunteers, each of these individuals will support Hands On Nashville in its mission to meet community needs through volunteerism.

As Breanna, Peter, Anna and Natalie get settled into their terms, we asked them about the meaning of volunteerism, what drives them to serve, and few curve balls for good measure.
Continue reading Introducing Hands On Nashville’s 2016-2017 AmeriCorps Members!

Community Partnership Brings Public Art to Educational Spaces

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This August,  Hands On Nashville and Dollar General joined the Nashville Public Library to unveil murals at six library branches, each of which were completed by Dollar General volunteers this summer! Continue reading Community Partnership Brings Public Art to Educational Spaces

Marines Volunteer to Support Nashvillians during Marine Week!

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As part of Marine Week, hosted by the United States Marine Corps,  Hands On Nashville had the honor of engaging two groups of service men and women in meaningful community-focused projects.

Home Energy Savings Project 

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Marine Week is designed to be a celebration of Community, Country and Corps – providing the American public the experience of directly connecting with hundreds of Marines. And for one Nashville homeowner, this direct connection occurred in a very real way.

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On Sept. 8, a group of 12 Marines arrived at Ms.Galloway’s home, ready with a mission to make her home more energy efficient. After three hours of hard work, the results were transformational.

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The group first helped move old family memories from attic , which had zero insulation prior to the project. After a team effort, volunteers sprayed 15 inches of insulation throughout the attic, which will make a significant impact on keeping the home comfortable.
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The group also air-sealed windows, doors, and underneath sinks and cabinets. They added toilet tank banks, installed new light bulbs and smoke detectors, and even helped patch dry wall where air was escaping.

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When the project was complete, the effort made a 21% percent improvement in the amount of air that was leaking from her home. On average, Home Energy Savings Projects save homeowners nearly $400 a year on their utility bills.

Hands On Nashville Urban Farm 

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On Saturday, Sept. 10, members of the US Marine Corps devoted much needed support at Hands On Nashville Urban Farm.

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During their four hours of volunteerism, the Marines prepared the Urban Farm for fall vegetable planting. From mowing around orchards, to adding compost and soil to three garden field rows, to removing weeds and grasses in prepped garden rows, the Marines made tremendous headway in getting the Farm in shape for the colder months ahead.
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Our most sincere thanks to each member of the Marine Corps who volunteered their time in support of Nashvillians during Marine Week. Your service to others is an inspiration.

To learn more about how you can get involved with the Home Energy Savings Program and Urban Farm, please visit HON.org.

 

Team Registration: Hands On Nashville Day 2016

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This September, celebrate Hands On Nashville’s 25th birthday and take part in service events benefiting 25 Metro Nashville Public Schools! Follow this step-by-step tutorial to sign up a volunteer team for Hands On Nashville Day. Continue reading Team Registration: Hands On Nashville Day 2016