Tag Archives: HON

Jackson empowers its team to give back and strengthen the community

Since 2007, employees at Jackson National Life Insurance Company (Jackson®) have donated more than 290,000 volunteer hours to improving their communities. Their philanthropy program is engrained in their company’s values, and has continued to grow since the company’s inception nearly 60 years ago.

Jackson’s employee-engagement program, Jackson in Action, empowers team members to donate their skills and time through volunteer opportunities each month. Their volunteers are regulars with Hands On Nashville, whether it’s individually led projects or groups of volunteers assisting through our Corporate Partner Program.

A group of Jackson volunteers assist in a community painting project.

“We work with organizations to help strengthen families and create economic opportunities in areas where we operate,” says Niya Moon, the manager of Corporate Philanthropy at Jackson. “Popular volunteer activities range from assisting with meal preparation and distribution to address food insecurity to teaching financial literacy principles and offering career exploration opportunities to youth.”

Jackson has partnered with HON as the Presenting Sponsor for the annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards for multiple years, a role they have graciously accepted to assist in honoring some of Middle Tennessee’s greatest volunteers.

“One of Jackson’s core values is to positively impact our community, and we believe our corporate culture and employees should contribute to the greater good of society,” Moon says. “We are honored to be among so many other businesses, foundations, groups, and individuals who give generously to make this community great.”

Like so many companies last year, Jackson was forced to limit its volunteer engagement when COVID-19 struck. But the company pivoted its resources, and began pursuing virtual opportunities to fundraise and conduct donation drives to support local organizations during the pandemic.

Jackson awarded grants to programs providing financial coaching and direct assistance to people facing unemployment and other economic hardship intensified by the pandemic. They also offered support to organizations that were forced to postpone or cancel significant fundraising events.

But Jackson’s generosity extends further than their fundraising. Mid-pandemic, when food insecurity was at its highest, Jackson partnered with the Nashville Food Project by opening their dining center kitchen and utilizing staff to prepare meals while following social distancing protocols. Together, they served 6,075 meals for underserved youth and seniors in the community.

Jackson volunteers cut and prepare flash cards for local schools.

“One thing I love about Nashville is how the community works together to help each other during a crisis,” Moon says. “There were so many inspiring stories of the nonprofit sector meeting critical needs of our community reeling after two concurrent disasters—a tornado and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Following the tornado, Jackson employees volunteered 181 hours and contributed $19,620 toward recovery efforts. As the pandemic continues, Jackson has continued to extend its kindness across the community to aid wherever possible.

For more information about Jackson and their commitment to service, click here.

About Jackson

Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Jackson®) is committed to helping clarify the complexity of retirement planning for its customers. Jackson’s range of annuity products, financial know-how, history of award-winning service, and streamlined experiences strive to reduce the confusion that complicates retirement plans. As part of their award-winning Corporate Philanthropy program, Jackson invests nearly $1.2 million annually in nonprofit and community causes in Middle Tennessee.

Mayor Announces Nine ‘Excellence in Volunteer Engagement’ Recipients

63 Nashville Nonprofits Now Recognized for High-Quality Volunteer Management

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean today announced the nine nonprofit organizations that received a renewal or new certification in Excellence in Volunteer Engagement (EVE), an initiative to recognize high-quality volunteer management by nonprofits and to help increase the number of volunteers in Davidson County. It is the first such certification effort in the nation.

Excellence in Volunteer Engagement 2014-2016“The spirit of volunteerism in Nashville is outstanding,” Mayor Dean said. “I applaud the efforts of these nonprofits to make our city a better place, and I thank them for providing the types of meaningful volunteer experiences that engage the passion of our volunteers and put their skills to the best use in serving our community. They deserve our congratulations for achieving Excellence in Volunteer Engagement certification.”

Excellence in Volunteer Engagement was developed in 2011 by the Mayor’s Office, in partnership with Hands On Nashville and the Center for Nonprofit Management. The initiative seeks to recognize nonprofit agencies with effective volunteer programs and to encourage other organizations to join them in improving their volunteer opportunities so they can maximize their resources and provide the best quality services possible. Mayor Dean recognized the recipients at an event this morning at the Center for Nonprofit Management at the Trolley Barns.

Four organizations are being certified for the first time, including American Cancer Society – Nashville Chapter, Bellevue Edible Learning Lab – Bell Garden, Nashville Sports Council and Open Table Nashville. Five of the organizations renewed their certification: Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee, Dispensary of Hope, Hospital Hospitality House of Nashville, Operation Stand Down Nashville and Project Return. Sixty-three Nashville nonprofits are currently certified in the program.

Mayor Karl Dean; Lewis Lavine, President of the Center for Nonprofit Management; and Laurel Creech, Chief Service Officer in the Mayor’s Office were joined on Friday, Aug. 29 by representatives of the nine nonprofit organizations that received a renewal or new certification in Excellence in Volunteer Engagement, an initiative to recognize high-quality volunteer management by nonprofits and to help increase the number of volunteers in Davidson County.
Mayor Karl Dean; Lewis Lavine, President of the Center for Nonprofit Management; and Laurel Creech, Chief Service Officer in the Mayor’s Office were joined on Friday, Aug. 29 by representatives of the nine nonprofit organizations that received a renewal or new certification in Excellence in Volunteer Engagement, an initiative to recognize high-quality volunteer management by nonprofits and to help increase the number of volunteers in Davidson County. (Photo: Metro Photographic Services)

“Volunteers are invaluable in helping to address critical community needs,” said Brian Williams, president and CEO of Hands On Nashville. “Nonprofits that lead outstanding volunteer programs empower community members to maximize their impact and achieve greater service delivery. The EVE-certified nonprofits recognized today serve as a shining example.”

A panel of judges representing the community determined which agencies qualified for a two-year certification. Certified organizations showed effectiveness in specific areas of volunteer management, including a defined volunteer program with an identified, dedicated and trained manager; a screening process that aligns volunteers’ skills and abilities with appropriate tasks; orientation for all volunteers; and an evaluation process to affirm a volunteer’s impact on the community and agency.

“These nonprofits are accomplishing their missions by providing first-rate volunteer opportunities and experiences,” said Lewis Lavine, President of the Center for Nonprofit Management. “We are pleased to recognize them today for achieving Excellence in Volunteer Engagement.”

Application is open to all nonprofit agencies in Davidson County with no restrictions on the size or budget of the organization and no application fee. EVE applications are due twice annually, and the next application period will begin in the spring of 2015. Applications can be found on the Center for Nonprofit Management’s website, www.cnm.org, or Hands On Nashville’s website, www.HON.org.

Excellence in Volunteer Engagement is part of the Mayor’s Office “Impact Nashville” initiative, which Mayor Dean launched on Sept. 30, 2010, as part of the national Cities of Service movement. Impact Nashville directs volunteerism toward two top priorities, public education and the environment. Aligned with the goals of the Cities of Service national coalition, Impact Nashville strives to improve the impact of volunteerism across our city in four areas: the impact for those being served, the impact for the volunteer, the impact on the agency’s mission and the impact on our community.

The 63 nonprofits currently certified for Excellence in Volunteer Engagement are the following:

• Alive Hospice Inc.
• American Cancer Society – Nashville Chapter
• American Red Cross
• Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville
• Bellevue Edible Learning Lab – Bell Garden
• Book’em
• CASA, Inc. of Davidson County
• Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee
• Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art
• Christian Community Services, Inc.
• Christian Women’s Job Corps of Middle TN
• Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum
• Dispensary of Hope
• Fannie Battle Day Home for Children
• FiftyForward
• Friends Life Community, Inc.
• Friends of Warner Parks
• Frist Center for the Visual Arts
• Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville
• Hospital Hospitality House of Nashville
• Interfaith Dental Clinic
• Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
• Junior League of Nashville
• Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee
• Martha O’Bryan Center
• Nashville Adult Literacy Council
• Nashville CARES
• Nashville Conflict Resolution Center
• Nashville Humane Association
• Nashville International Center for Empowerment
• Nashville Public Library
• Nashville Sports Council
• Nashville Wine Auction
• Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
• Noah’s Ark Society
• Open Table Nashville
• Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc.
• PENCIL Foundation
• Preston Taylor Ministries
• Project C.U.R.E.
• Project Reflect
• Project Return, Inc.
• Room In The Inn
• Safe Haven Family Shelter
• Salama Urban Ministries
• Salvation Army – Nashville
• Scarritt-Bennett Center
• Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee
• Sexual Assault Center
• Siloam Family Health Center
• St. Luke’s Community House
• Susan G. Komen for the Cure Greater Nashville
• Ten Thousand Villages
• Tennessee Performing Arts Center
• Tennessee Voices for Children
• The Nashville Food Project
• The Next Door
• Thriftsmart
• W.O. Smith Music School
• Your Heart On Art
• Youth Encouragement Services
• Youth Villages
• YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Bonna Johnson
(615) 862-6461 direct
(615) 389-3405 cell
bonna.johnson@nashville.gov

Back to School Tutor Fair Recap

The Salvation Army was just one of many nonprofits at the Tutor Fair.
The Salvation Army was just one of many nonprofits at the Tutor Fair.

The need for tutors who can assist both youth and adult students in Middle Tennessee is greater than ever. Believe it or not, there are usually more than 100 tutoring opportunities listed on the HON website at any given time. But while such a large number of openings provides potential tutors with a nice variety from which to choose, it can be overwhelming for them as well.

With a new school year underway, Hands On Nashville welcomed 18 local nonprofits and more than 75 volunteers to its offices for the inaugural Back to School Tutor Fair on September 5.

The goal of the event was to connect potential volunteer tutors with the nonprofits who need them most and simplify the process that matches individuals with tutor openings. The gathering also provided an opportunity for Hands On Nashville and its nonprofit partners to address some of the common questions and concerns individuals have about tutoring in general.

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A prospective volunteer learns more about tutoring opportunities.

Overall, the Back to School Tutor Fair was an enormous success. Individuals were able to meet a variety of nonprofits in a personal, face-to-face setting and learn about tutoring opportunities that they can fit into their busy schedules.

“It was fantastic to see such a large turnout for this important initiative,” said Kirsten Floyd, HON’s Nonprofit Program Manager, who helped organize the event. “Having nonprofits and potential tutors meet in person, rather than be connected over email, was a great way to start filling the many tutor openings available in the area.”

Hands On Nashville still has plenty of tutoring openings available throughout the Fall. If you missed the Back to School Tutor Fair but you’re interested in tutoring a local student, contact Kirsten directly, and she’ll help you out.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Back to School Tutor Fair!

Introducing the 2013 YVC Interns

Meet our 2013 Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) interns! These twelve outstanding teens will serve as part of a leadership team that works with Hands On Nashville staff to develop and lead youth projects that impact the community. Each Intern has chosen one of the following three concentrations – Arts, Fitness and Nutrition, and Technology – and will design and facilitate educational and skill-building lessons for youth served by area nonprofits. All of these Interns have proven themselves to be truly kind and hardworking individuals, so without further ado…
ArthurArthur Liu loves to go fishing and set up aquariums. Now in his senior year of high school, he wanted to become a YVC intern because he saw it as an opportunity to make a difference in his community while practicing some teaching skills.
BrittanyBrittany Taylor Paschall, a senior at MNPS Middle College High School, enjoys reading, writing, singing, good football, and spending time with the people she loves. Being part of the YVC will allow Brittany to serve her community while exploring her passion for health and fitness. Brittany is very excited to work with HON, the YVC, and to serve the clients of Preston Taylor Ministries!
Caroline DruryCaroline Drury is a Junior at Hume Fogg High School. She is very excited to be working as a YVC intern. She loves teaching, encouraging, and motivating others!
Esther PhambuEsther Phamabu is a junior at Martin Luther King Magnet school. Her passions include traveling, dancing, and volunteering. Esther wanted to be a YVC intern because she felt it was an opportunity to help out in her community and grow as a person in something that she loves to do. Esther is very excited to be a part of the YVC family this year!
Jenny Head ShotJenny Sai is a senior at Hume-Fogg High School, and this will be her 3rd year as a YVC intern in the arts track. She enjoys sharing her love of music with others and exposing students to new musical varieties, which was her inspiration to start teaching. Community service has been a huge part of her high school career, and Jenny aspires to keep it up during college and beyond!
Julian TurnerJulian Turner is a senior at Mt. Juliet High School. He believes that everyone has a duty to contribute to the betterment of their communities. Julian saw the YVC internship as an opportunity to elevate his involvement in the Nashville community and to make that contribution.
Kara CobbKara Cobb is currently a junior at Hume-Fogg. Kara wanted to be a YVC intern because she wanted a chance to give back to the community and help others.
LaurelLaurel Cunningham is a junior at Harpeth Hall High School. Laurel wanted to be an intern with YVC in order to work with kids and teach them about healthy lifestyles so they are set for the rest of their lives. She also wanted the experience of working with and meeting new people her age to solve issues in our community.
LaurenLauren Levy is currently a senior at Brentwood High School and is an active member of the Interact club as well as the tennis team. Becoming a YVC intern is more than a leadership opportunity for her. It is also a chance to lead in the community and directly help and impact the lives of youth throughout Nashville.
Rachel WestRachel West attends Brentwood High School. She enjoys running cross country, playing lacrosse, and helping run the Habitat for Humanity chapter at her school! Rachel joined YVC because she really wanted to make a positive impact in the community, and thought it would be a great opportunity to do so!
RuiqiRuiqi Chen (pronounced Ricky) is a sophomore at Hume-Fogg. She really loves anything to do with the arts, and is especially into music. Ruiqi wanted to be a YVC intern because it seemed like a lot of fun and a good way to give back to the community at the same time.
Zach GradyZach Grady wanted to become an intern for Hands On Nashville to help the community and become a more well-rounded leader. He enjoys helping others & making new discoveries. Zach feels that there’s always an opportunity for change if you’re willing to apply yourself.
Learn more about HON’s youth programs here!

Notes from the Farm: Fall Work is Underway

PrintHappy September!

Fall is nearly here and you can almost feel the leaves beginning to change their colors. The foliage should be particularly remarkable this year given how much rain the Nashville area received this summer.

Things at the Farm are moving right along. Our summer crops are almost done producing, so we have been busy harvesting all the peppers, tomatoes, beans, and corn that we can before planting our fall crops and preparing for the winter. Most of the Farm will be in cover this fall and winter, which means that instead of primarily growing food, we will grow plants that help rebuild and protect our soil. However, we will still grow some food in one section of the Farm. This area will be dedicated to growing root crops (such as carrots, beets, and radishes) and greens (like spinach, kale, and lettuce.)

watermelons
Farm visitors show off some delicious watermelons!

As far as programming out at the Farm, last week marked the beginning of our fall curriculum program. Over the next ten weeks, we’ll host groups of students a few times each week to teach them lessons on nutrition and gardening. This curriculum builds off the very successful Crop City programming we did over the summer and is a similar model.

Finally, we’re excited to announce that the greenway has been installed. We sincerely hope that visitors to the Farm and nearby neighbors will use this beautiful path often. Just be sure to say hello when you do!

That does it for now. Have a wonderful start to Fall and as always, feel free to email me with any questions about HON’s Urban Farm.

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JC3Josh Corlew is Hands On Nashville’s Urban Agriculture Program Manager. He oversees the organization’s efforts to engage volunteers in service opportunities that empower them to gain gardening skills, learn about healthy eating choices, and help address our city’s food access issues. An AmeriCorps alumnus, Josh also has a secret past life as a Trekkie (he’s a big fan of the TV series Star Trek, for the uninitiated among us), and he has been known to participate in death-defying canoe trips.

Nonprofit Partner Spotlight: Dance Theatre of Tennessee

DTTlogoNashville may be known as Music City, but music isn’t the only art form flourishing here.

Our featured nonprofit, The Dance Theatre of Tennessee (DTT), has been fostering the development and expansion of dance throughout Middle Tennessee for nearly ten years. As the performance arm of the Asian American Performing Arts Society, the DTT bills itself as “storytellers on toes” and delivers the pageantry of ballet and live dance theater to enthusiastic fans here in Nashville through a variety of programs and initiatives.

DTTstudents
Just some of the many students learning dance at the DTT.

Founded with a goal of exposing new audiences to the diversity and beauty of dance, the DTT has made tremendous strides in fulfilling that mission and has carved out a solid niche among the numerous performing arts organizations in Nashville under the leadership of Artistic Director Christopher Mohnani.

The organization provides affordable and accessible professional performances throughout the area, offers superior academy dance training, fosters enlightened outreach programs, and works to bring eminent national and international artists, choreographers, and premiere works to Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

NutwithOutreachkids
DTT dancers with local students after an outreach event.

The DTT is headquartered in a 14,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility that plays host to many of the group’s performance events. It is also home to an expansive slate of dance classes that annually engage more than 150 students. Additionally, the DTT enjoys partnerships with more than 25 local arts organizations and nonprofits, and the organization has reached more than 20,000 Middle Tennesseans through professional and community performances in the last three years alone!

One such individual, Pennington Elementary teacher Kathryn McCarthy, was inspired and touched by the DTT’s outreach work with students in her school:

The Dance Theatre of Tennessee enjoys a strong presence in the local community.
The Dance Theatre of Tennessee enjoys a strong presence in the local community.

“Dance Theatre of Tennessee’s programs, especially those bringing ballet to the people and the schools, should be applauded,” she says. “(They) showed all students a different way to tell a story by using the beauty of dance and music. It not only enriched the lives of my students, but also of those throughout the school community.”

The DTT is heavily reliant on the work and support of volunteers to further its mission. In particular, operational functions for live performances at various venues in Middle Tennessee are almost entirely staffed by volunteers.

>Click here to volunteer with the Dance Theatre of Tennessee!

The group’s second annual “Ballet in the Park” performance series in Centennial Park will take place later this month, and volunteers will be needed to fill a number of roles, including welcoming park goers, handing out programs, ushering, and assisting at the information booth and kids tent. Individuals can also volunteer to help in setting up and ‘striking out’ lights and equipment for performances during the series.

Important dates for Ballet in the Park is as follows:

September 17-19: Setup Days
September 19 and 26: Full dress and technical rehearsals
September 20-22 & 27-30: Performances
October 1: Post-performance/strike out day

Be sure to visit the DTT’s website for more information about the group’s offerings. If you’re interested in volunteering with the Dance Theatre of Tennessee, contact Christopher Mohnani at 615-391-5500 ext. 3 or via email: cmohnani@dancetheatretn.org.

Mayor Dean Announces Six Excellence in Volunteer Engagement (EVE) Recipients

63 Nashville-area Nonprofits Now Formally Recognized for High-quality Volunteer Management

KarlDeanshakingHandsNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Mayor Karl Dean announced that six nonprofit organizations have been formally recognized for their high-quality volunteer management programs, and have received Excellence in Volunteer Engagement (EVE) certification. This brings the number of Middle Tennessee nonprofits that are EVE-certified to 63.

Excellence in Volunteer Engagement, the first such certification effort in the nation, was developed in 2011 by the Mayor’s Office, in partnership with Hands On Nashville and the Center for Nonprofit Management. The program seeks to recognize nonprofit agencies with effective volunteer programs and to encourage other organizations to join them in improving volunteer opportunities for the community. Dean recognized the recipients at an event this morning at the Hands On Nashville office in the Trolley Barns/Rolling Mill Hill.

“I have always been proud of the strong volunteer spirit that Nashville has,” Dean said. “I commend these nonprofits for providing the types of meaningful volunteer experiences that engage the passion of our volunteers and put their skills to the best use in serving those in need. These organizations have also been important in increasing the number of volunteers in our city, helping Nashville achieve its highest-ever volunteer ranking.”

In early 2013, it was announced that Nashville ranks at No. 14 of the 51 largest cities in the United States in terms of volunteerism, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Volunteering and Civic Life in America 2012 report.

WholeGrouppic

The six organizations that achieved certification include the Fannie Battle Day Home for Children, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Nashville Wine Auction, Noah’s Ark Society, Preston Taylor Ministries and Salama Urban Ministries.

A panel of judges who represent the community determine which agencies qualify for a two-year certification. Certified organizations showed effectiveness in specific areas of volunteer management, including a defined volunteer program with an identified, dedicated and trained manager; a screening process that aligns volunteers’ skills and abilities with appropriate tasks; orientation for all volunteers; and an evaluation process to affirm a volunteer’s impact on the community and agency.

IMG_3326Application is open to all nonprofit agencies in Davidson County with no restrictions on the size or budget of the organization and no application fee. EVE applications are accepted twice a year, and the next application period will begin in the spring of 2014. Applications can be found on the Center for Nonprofit Management’s website, www.cnm.org, or Hands On Nashville’s website, www.HON.org.

Excellence in Volunteer Engagement is part of the Mayor’s Office “Impact Nashville” initiative, which Dean launched on Sept. 30, 2010, as part of the national Cities of Service movement. Impact Nashville directs volunteerism toward two top priorities, public education and the environment. Aligned with the goals of the Cities of Service national coalition, Impact Nashville strives to improve the impact of volunteerism across our city in four areas: the impact for those being served, the impact for the volunteer, the impact on the agency’s mission and the impact on our community.

About Hands On Nashville
Hands On Nashville’s mission is to meet community needs through volunteerism. For more than 20 years, Hands On Nashville (HON) volunteers have been addressing critical issues facing the Middle Tennessee community such as hunger, homelessness and environmental protection. In 2012, HON connected or referred more than 117,000 volunteers to service opportunities, making it one of the largest volunteer resource centers of its kind in the world. Offering more than 400 volunteer opportunities to the community each month at HON.org, Hands On Nashville challenges everyone to find a way to give back and to … Be the Change. Volunteer. For more information, visit www.HON.org or call (615) 298-1108.

Media Contact:
Dave Felipe, Hands On Nashville
(615) 298-1108 ext. 415
dave@hon.org

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A Match Made in Service: A HON Day Love Story

Guest Post by: Lauren Repass

Two years ago I was given the opportunity to volunteer at Hands On Nashville Day. Even though I had other friends volunteering and I knew it would be a good experience for me either way, another motivating factor for me to participate was to hopefully make a connection with a co-worker I had a crush on named Marcus.

I got up two hours before I had to be at the school site so I could do my hair and make-up and pick out the perfect outfit. I arrived at the school at 8 a.m. that Saturday morning. Once I arrived, I met up with all of the other volunteers and we gathered around so we could get instructions. I was assigned to the same team Marcus was (surprise!) We were outside painting the portable classrooms when we made our first connection.

After a day full of painting and some yard work, we continued on to the HON Day afterparty, which was great. We were able to meet some of the people that were volunteering at other schools that day and ask how their projects went. We also got to meet some of the students and teachers. The Hands On Nashville staff was very appreciative of everyone’s efforts and how much we achieved in that one day. They also catered a lunch for us at the afterparty and had raffle prizes. I won a CMT One Country bag with tons of cool stuff in it and Marcus won tickets to the play Holes at the Children’s Theatre.

Marcus and I were the last guests to leave the afterparty because we were having such a good time talking. As we were leaving, Marcus asked if I would like to see the play with him soon. Of course I said yes! We ended up having our first date together before we made plans to see the play. That was almost two years ago and now we have a little boy named Lincoln who is seven months old and we are getting married in October in Florida!

Hands On Nashville Day not only gave me the opportunity to do some good work in my community, it helped start my wonderful family as well. I have no doubts that we were meant for each other and that things would have worked out for us no matter what. But the fact that our first encounter was at HON Day really helped make our connection strong right from the beginning. We were able to see each other’s charitable side immediately, and that is something that helped us grow together as a couple and will help our new family grow in the future. Marcus and I continue to volunteer and promote this great opportunity.

A true HON Day family: Lauren, Marcus, and baby  Lincoln.
A true HON Day family: Lauren, Marcus, and baby Lincoln.

Hands On Nashville Day 2013, the community’s largest day of service to public schools, will take place Saturday, September 21 from 8 a.m. to 12 Noon. More than 1,500 volunteers will take part in done-in-a-day improvement projects such as painting and landscaping at 50-plus Metro Nashville Public Schools, greatly enhancing learning environments for both students and teachers alike. Following the school projects, all HON volunteers are invited to attend the CMT One Country Celebration at The Listening Room Café for a complimentary lunch, free entertainment, and door prizes. Learn more about HON Day 2013 and how you can participate at: www.HON.org/honday.

Nonprofit Partner Spotlight: Mid South Chapter, National MS Society

imageChances are, you probably know someone who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS). The disease affects an estimated 2.1 million people worldwide and does not discriminate between men and women or adults and youth. While great strides have been made in the research, diagnosis, and treatment of MS in recent years, the battle against this crippling disease continues.

Leading the fight in the U.S., the National MS Society works toward its organizational vision of a world free of multiple sclerosis by funding research initiatives, facilitating professional education and advocacy efforts, and providing programs and services that help those with MS and their families move their lives forward.

Our featured nonprofit, the Mid South Chapter of the MS Society, is based in Nashville and serves more than 9,000 individuals in Tennessee, northern Georgia, northern Mississippi, and eastern Arkansas.

Alison Ryan-Landon106
An enthusiastic youngster shows support for the MS Society.

They offer an array of support services and educational programs for MS patients and their families, including a lending library of books and audio materials, empowerment seminars, employment programs, wellness and exercise program referrals, and much more. The Mid South Chapter oversees 25 different self-help groups, all of which are led by volunteers. Plus, they organize a number of events throughout the year that help raise awareness about the disease and the Society’s work.

Volunteers are a driving force in the movement to cure MS. For the Mid South Chapter, committed and dedicated volunteer help is an essential component of the group’s advocacy efforts, programming, and day-to-day activities. The Chapter has a variety of flexible volunteer opportunities available, both ongoing and short-term.

>Click here to volunteer with the National MS Society’s Mid South Chapter!

Three of the Chapter’s biggest annual events are right around the corner and volunteers are needed to assist with all of them.

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Both recreational and serious riders alike can participate in the MS Society’s bike tours.

At Fall Crush, a unique wine tasting and auction that takes place in mid-September, individuals can volunteer to assist with guest registration, silent auctions, and wine pairing stations. During two separate bike tours – Bike MS: Bike to Jack and Back and Bike MS: Rock ‘N Roll – volunteers will help with registration, staffing rest stations, assisting with traffic flow, loading luggage, and setup and cleanup projects.

Individuals can also assist with in-office work, such as bulk mailings, phone calls, and event organizing. Those who are skilled at using programs like InDesign or Publisher are also needed to help with the group’s marketing and promotional efforts.

Be sure to visit the Mid South Chapter’s website to learn more about their outstanding work. If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Michelle Stewart at michelle.stewart@nmss.org (event volunteer opportunities) or Abby Mullen at abby.mullen@nmss.org (in-office volunteer work).

Notes from the Farm: Wrapping up Summer and Prepping for Fall

It’s hard to believe that August is here already. The summer sure has flown by this year!

It was a busy summer at the HON Urban Farm!
It was a busy summer at the HON Urban Farm!

The summer months yielded an impressive amount of produce this year, and we’ve been busy harvesting bushels and bushels of peppers, tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers for the past few weeks. Of course, all of the produce we harvest at the Urban Farm will be donated to Hands On Nashville’s nonprofit partners throughout Middle Tennessee.

I hope that you and your families were able to enjoy a break from school and work at some point over the summer. As most of you probably know, children in the Metro Nashville Public School system returned to classes on August 1. Given the early start date this year, all of our summer programming finished up at the end of July.

Out at the Farm, we are beginning to focus on our plans for this fall. But before we jump into that, I want to take a moment to share some of our many successes from this summer with you!

June2013Campers
Crop City campers learning about nutrition and healthy eating.

As I have reported over the course of the last few updates, we hosted a five-week nutrition curriculum at the Farm this summer called Crop City. We had close to 900 children come out to participate in the Crop City program this year and it was a huge success, thanks in large part to our outstanding team of Urban Farm Apprentices. These 15 high school students did an amazing job leading Crop City participants this summer and we hope that some of them will come back next year.

In the meantime, we are very lucky to have three of those Apprentices participating in our 2013-2014 Fellowship Program! They will join seven other high school students to implement service projects at nonprofits across the city throughout the school year. All ten Fellows are introduced in our most recent Farm blogpost.

That pretty much covers it from here! Have a wonderful August and, as always, feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or concerns.

IMG_20130726_095205
Our wonderful Urban Farm 2013 team takes a break to pose for a group shot.

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Headshots 42 colorJosh Corlew is Hands On Nashville’s Urban Agriculture Program Manager. He oversees the organization’s efforts to engage volunteers in service opportunities that empower them to gain gardening skills, learn about healthy eating choices, and help address our city’s food access issues. An AmeriCorps alumnus, Josh also has a secret past life as a Trekkie (he’s a big fan of the TV series Star Trek, for the uninitiated among us), and he has been known to participate in death-defying canoe trips.