Tag Archives: homelessness

YVC Summer Camp Week #2 – Hunger & Homelessness

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Campers sorting food to fight hunger at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee during week two of the 2015 YVC Summer Camp.

During week two of Hands On Nashville’s YVC Summer Camp, a group of 12 teens spent their week learning about the impacts and issues of hunger and homelessness. Through interactive discussions, documentary film viewings, and hands-on service projects, campers spent time learning and thinking about root causes and researched opportunities to positively impact these issues. Continue reading YVC Summer Camp Week #2 – Hunger & Homelessness

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Introducing the 2015 Summer Youth Leaders!

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Hands On Nashville’s 2015 Summer Youth Leaders! From left to right: Margaret, Stephanie, Shira, and Yavin.

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.

These four Summer Youth Leaders have stepped up to guide this initiative and are using their leadership skills to do good this summer. Please join us in welcoming them! Continue reading Introducing the 2015 Summer Youth Leaders!

A Great Summer of Youth Service!

We had a blast serving and learning with hundreds of outstanding youth this summer. We explored issues that impact our community, talked about sustainable eating and healthy food choices at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm, and worked alongside skilled youth interns and other future leaders. What can we say? We’re already looking forward to next summer! Here’s a recap of our 2014 summer.


Crop City 2014 Youth Development Program Recap:

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Youth from Sophia’s Heart harvest materials for Squash Slaw at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm!

Last week, Hands On Nashville’s Urban Agriculture team wrapped up its six-week youth development program, Crop City, and it was a huge success! Over the past two months, 763 youth spent a total of 1,923 hours learning about nutrition, the social and environmental impacts of our food choices, and of course, gardening, at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm.

Each day, participants played educational games and harvested food from the garden, which they then used to create healthy, delicious snacks right at the Farm. Over the summer we harvested and ate 646 pounds of fresh fruits and veggies! This year’s partners included the Martha O’Bryan Center, Y-CAP, Nashville International Center for Empowerment, Watkins Park Community Center, Sofia’s Heart, and Youth Villages.

To see more pictures of the Crop City 2014, click here.

To learn more about our outstanding Urban Agriculture Teaching Interns who led Crop City this summer, click here.


Youth Volunteer Corps Summer Camp Recap

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Youth serving at The Nashville Food Project during week three of YVC Summer Camp.

This summer, Hands On Nashville also launched YVC Summer Camp, a brand new summer camp for youth ages 14-18. Each week, campers explored an issue that impacts our community.

During the months of June and July, campers learned about environmental issues, homelessness and hunger, health and wellness, and youth education, and served the Nashville community through experiential service-learning projects. Campers served at the Nashville Rescue Mission, gardened at BELL Garden, sorted medical supplies at Project C.U.R.E. and served and learned with many other community organizations.

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Youth serving at Fannie Battle during week four of HON’s YVC Summer Camp.

Huge thanks to our 2014 Summer Youth Leaders, Ben, Cecilia, Emily, and Conor, for helping make YVC Summer Camp a success!


Interested in serving as a youth leader? Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corps is now recruiting passionate, dedicated youth to serve as leaders for our ongoing, monthly volunteer projects. Email Ashleigh at hon.org for more information.

Introducing our 2014 Youth Volunteer Corps Summer Youth Leaders!

This summer, four exceptional Middle Tennessee high schoolers will lead their peers to explore important issues facing our community during Hands On Nashville’s new Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) Summer Camp.

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!

To read about other young people in the Nashville community who are Hyped On Help, check out our Tumblr page.


BEN DELEVANTE, Environment Week, June 9-13

Volunteer Corps Summer Youth Leader Ben Delevante
“I serve because I have the ability to help others.” – Ben Delevante

A few fun facts about Ben:

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

YVC Summer Youth Leader Cecilia Von Mann
“I serve because I believe that one small act of service can ripple out and not only impact a person’s life, but change the world.” – Cecilia Von Mann

 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

YVC Summer Youth Leader Emily Thompson
“I serve because I believe making a difference begins with one person taking action, creating a chain reaction of service.” – Emily Thompson
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

YVC Summer Youth Leader Conor Rork
“I serve because I want to make a difference in other people’s lives.” – Conor Rork

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 

"I serve because I know I can make a difference in someone's life." - Isabel Johnson-Ban
“I serve because I know I can make a difference in someone’s life.” – Isabel Johnson-Bann

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.

 

 

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Nashville youth conduct coat drive to help homeless community

mlkNashville teens are heading up a community coat drive this winter to help women and children experiencing homelessness, and they need your help. The goal is to collect 200 coats by January 17. The coats will be given to women and children who are participating in the Life Recovery program at the Nashville Rescue Mission on Monday, Jan. 20, as part of Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corps MLK Day of Service effort.

During MLK Day of Service 2013, Hands On Nashville youth volunteers worked with women and children experiencing homelessness, including doing fun crafts projects with the kids.
During MLK Day of Service 2013, Hands On Nashville youth volunteers worked with women and children experiencing homelessness, including doing fun crafts projects with the kids.

Several local high school students are coordinating coat drives at their schools, including Zack Grady, a senior at Hunters Lane High School.

“The coat drive is a small way we can reach out to the homeless community and show them we care,” said Grady. “It’s also a great opportunity to raise awareness around homelessness and to get more students involved in volunteering.”

In addition to giving the coats to the women and children, Hands On Nashville’s teen volunteers will spend Martin Luther King Day at the Rescue Mission and nearby Morgan Park Community Center getting to know each other and helping to facilitate enriching activities with the women and their children. These activities will include completing arts and craft projects; serving lunches; treating women and their children to haircuts – offered at no cost by salon professionals who will volunteer alongside the teens; and creating resumes. The teens will also have the opportunity to dialogue about the issues surrounding homelessness in Nashville.

A volunteer works with a participant of the Nashville Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery program to create a resume during Hands On Nashville’s youth MLK Day of Service in 2013.
A volunteer works with a participant of the Nashville Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery program to create a resume during Hands On Nashville’s youth MLK Day of Service in 2013.

This is the second year Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corps has rallied the community around giving coats to help women and children experiencing homelessness during the winter season.

Interested in donating a coat?

  • New and pre-loved coats are accepted.
  • All coats should be clean.
  • This is a wonderful opportunity for families, individuals, or school groups to conduct a coat drive to support this effort.
  • Drop coats off at: Hands On Nashville (37 Peabody Street, Suite 206) during the weeks of January 6-10 and 13-17, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Questions? Contact Audrey at Audrey@hon.org or (615) 298-1108 Ext. 416, or visit www.hon.org/YVCmlk.

Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corps offers year-round service-learning opportunities to inspire and empower youth ages 11 to 18 to create meaningful community change. Learn more at www.hon.org/teen

Media contact:
Becca Wilson
Becca@hon.org
(615) 426-1428

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Nonprofit Partner Spotlight: Martha O’Bryan Center


Martha O'Brien Center logo“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.”

Volunteers work with children served by the Martha O'Bryan Center.
Volunteers work with children served by the Martha O’Bryan Center.

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.MOB IMG_3012

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:

> Click here to view all of the opportunities to help support the Martha O’Bryan Center! 

VolunTEEN: A Meal Ready to Serve

Corey headshotGuest Post by Corey Wu
HON VolunTEEN Summer Youth Leader

Corey Wu, a rising junior at John Overton High School, is one of the four inaugural Summer Youth Leaders. During the four summer service weeks, Corey leads service learning opportunities that address homelessness.

Spending time at The Nashville Food Project (TNFP) has made me really appreciate individuals who devote their time and effort in the name of helping the less fortunate. Their organization is a fairly new one compared to Hands On Nashville. However, TNFP’s presence in the Nashville area is a successful one that I deeply admire.

TNFP is a nonprofit organization that is solely dedicated to feeding the hungry and the needy. The Food Project’s main customers are people who are living in assisted government housing and people who are struggling to make ends meet. They keep their organization running by maintaining a garden full of fresh vegetables and purchasing nearly-expired food items by the pound for discounted prices. They cook their purchased produce as soon as possible, and all of the meals and dishes are created by their dedicated chefs and, of course, our volunteers.

Leading a group of volunteers at their location gives everyone a large range of tasks to do. Whether it is washing collard greens or cutting roasted chicken, every volunteer has something to do during the two hours of work. Many of the volunteers, especially the younger ones, enjoy getting their hands dirty in the garden. Personally speaking, I enjoy baking brownies and cutting the poultry just because it makes me feel like a chef.

Determination and compassion are two adjectives that I think of when describing the folks at TNFP. After a long day of cooking and preparing, their hard work truly pays off when they deliver their homemade goods to grateful individuals.

Learn more about HON’s VolunTEEN program here!

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Corey hard at work constructing a wheelchair ramp.

VolunTEEN: What the Future Looks Like

Emily headshotGuest Post by Emily McAndrew,
HON VolunTEEN Summer Youth Leader

Emily McAndrew, a rising junior at Merrol Hyde Magnet School, is one of the four inaugural Summer Youth Leaders. During the four summer service weeks, Emily leads service learning opportunities that address hunger.

When thinking of the future, many adults fear that the new generation is too lazy, too self-centered, or too unenthusiastic to lead the nation. But in spending the past three weeks around teens who voluntarily give up their time to serve others, I can say without a doubt that this generation is ready to build a bright future.

I wasn’t sure what to expect on the day of my first project. I was worried that the teens wouldn’t like me or that they wouldn’t listen to me. But as the volunteers came in, my fears were diminished. They were all here to serve and have fun just like myself!

I have led kids from all different backgrounds. Most of them have volunteered at multiple HON VolunTEEN projects. Through getting to work with these teens at different times, I have gotten to know some of them pretty well. Each volunteer brings a different aspect to the group, but I have learned that they each share one thing in common: a desire to make a difference.

Although the nation may have a preconceived notion that all teenagers are unfit to be the leaders of tomorrow, I have learned differently. I have met the most hard-working and selfless youth working with HON. These volunteers are our future.

Learn more about HON’s youth leader programs here!

Youth volunteers taking a quick break at Second Harvest Food Bank.
Youth volunteers taking a quick break at Second Harvest Food Bank.

VolunTEEN: The Importance of Appreciation

Corey headshotGuest Post by Corey Wu,
HON VolunTEEN Summer Youth Leader

Corey Wu, a rising junior at John Overton High School, is one of the four inaugural Summer Youth Leaders. During the four summer service weeks, Corey leads service learning opportunities that address homelessness.

My experience with Hands On Nashville so far has been an inspirational and altogether self-reflecting journey. The time that I’ve spent with the youth volunteers who are helping out at the Rescue Mission or at the Nashville Food Project has restored my faith in volunteerism in this day of age. Seeing the happiness from the homeless as they receive meals from the determined volunteers warms my heart.

On my first day as a volunteer leader, I was meticulous in my preparations prior to the arrival of the volunteers. I was a bit uneasy because the Rescue Mission was a whole new environment that I had no prior experience in, and I was unsure how everything would turn out. However, as the session began I met Kim, a staffer at the Rescue Mission, who created an altruistic environment for all of her guests and regulars. Her positive attitude and outlook gave me a sense of perseverance that persuaded me to continue to strive for the best and motivate all of the volunteers who made the day possible.

As the day went by and the food line began to slow down, I began to appreciate the value of volunteering and realize the importance of doing so. I learned that volunteering is not just about picking up roadside litter or planting a tree, it’s about helping others.

Learn more about HON’s VolunTEEN program here!

Corey and two of his fellow volunteers in the kitchen.
Corey and two of his fellow volunteers in the kitchen.

Volunteer Leader Spotlight: Julie Hill

julie121212Between her hobbies of hiking, biking, camping, and painting, Julie Hill seems to find herself leading volunteers and helping others on a regular basis. Just like getting in that habitual workout at the gym, Julie needs her community fix – and the community needs her. Twice a month, this southern California native works with a team to help prep and cook food for people who don’t have easy access to fresh produce. She has become an integral part of The Nashville Food Project, a local nonprofit that seeks to provide increased access to healthy foods in homeless and working poor communities across Davidson County.“I like the Nashville Food Project because you have two steps: preparing the food and handing it out to the individuals in need. I find it very fulfilling to be able to meet the individuals that we are there to help,” says Julie. “For me, volunteering is such a rewarding experience; I get the benefits of helping others and meeting great people who enjoy giving back to the community.”

She’s been working with The Nashville Food Project as a Volunteer Leader since September 2012, but has been an active Hands On Nashville volunteer since 2009. From a very young age, Julie was taught that helping her community was part of normal life. She continues to value the opportunity to help out her community and encourage those around her to do the same.

Julie has found Hands On Nashville to be a wonderful place to get connected. “By offering such a great website and partnerships, and the amazing people, Hands On Nashville makes volunteering truly a no-hassle and thoroughly enjoyable experience.”

Are you looking to get involved with The Nashville Food Project like Julie?
➢ Click here to see a list of upcoming opportunities and sign up.