Tag Archives: Martin Luther King Academic Magnet

Meet Hands On Nashville’s Inaugural Summer Youth Leaders

Lauren Levy, a rising senior at Brentwood High School, teamed up with our youth program manager, Colleen, to create a new program that empowers young people to lead service learning projects throughout the summer (read about this and the other youth leadership opportunities that Hands On Nashville offers here). The four youth leaders were selected through an application and interview process and trained by Hands On Nashville in leadership and volunteer management. We are thrilled to introduce you to them in this blog post!

Starting this week (and for the rest of the summer) these four incredible volunteers are making their mark on the community in a BIG way. They will lead 10 volunteer projects each addressing one of four issue areas: Homelessness, Hunger, Health and Wellness, and Environment. A big thanks to Lauren for her help with developing this new program!

Click here to check out all the unique volunteer opportunities being offered to Nashville youth this summer! 

Without further adieu, we are pleased to introduce you to…

1Corey Wu (focus: Homelessness), a rising junior at John Overton High School, wanted to be a Summer Youth Leader so he can improve his leadership skills while volunteering in the community. Corey chose the homelessness issue area because he knows it is a critical issue in our community and he is inspired to learn about how nonprofits are working to address it.


Emily McAndrew (focus: Hunger), a rising junior at Merrol Hyde Magnet School, wanted to be a Summer Youth Leader so that she can learn how to be a better leader for her community while helping others.  Emily chose the Hunger issue area because she wants to teach youth that the issue is not just something that exists in developing countries.  Emily hopes to inspire and teach youth how they can make a difference in solving the hunger epidemic in their own communities.

3Ferriss Bailey (focus: Environment), a rising senior at Montgomery Bell Academy, wanted to be a Summer Youth Leaders because he is very passionate about service and wants to help the community. He believes that service is beneficial to all who are involved.  Ferriss chose the Environment issue area to spread awareness about the importance of taking care of the environment in Nashville, and to help make Nashville a clean, welcoming city.

4Runze Zhang (focus: Health and Wellness), a rising junior at Martin Luther King High Academic Magnet School, wanted to be a Summer Youth Leader because she has always loved serving her community and others.  Runze chose the Health and Wellness issue area because she has many family members that are affected in some way by this issue, and she personally loves to stay healthy and fit.

Thank you to these incredible young people for their leadership, enthusiasm, and creative energy!

Introducing the Urban Farm Summer Apprentices

By Josh Corlew, HON Urban Agriculture Program Manager –

This week brings a very exciting new addition to the farm: our apprentices! I’m so excited about the team of eight youth apprentices that we have training with us right now. They went through a rigorous application and interview process and I’m convinced that every one of them is up to the challenging and fun season that we have ahead of us.

This summer HON Urban Farm apprentices will lead groups of up to 60 of their peers through a curriculum around agriculture, the food system, and healthy eating. They will be the leaders of our Youth Summer Camp held at the Urban Farm. I want to dedicate the rest of this post to introducing our awesome new team.

Meet the HON Urban Farm Apprentices (in alphabetical order):

Photo of Ashley
Meet Ashley! She loves dance.

Ashley attends Glencliff High Schooland helps tutor math. She’s very active in dance classes and enjoys a wide variety of dance styles including tap, jazz, and ballet.

Photo of Chloe
Chloe is captain of her varsity softball team.

Chloe attends MLK Academic Magnet High Schoolwhere she is active in Beta Club. A softball player, Chloe is on the varsity team where she also serves as captain.

Photo of Evie
Evie has been in several plays at her school and The Nashville Children’s Theater.

Evie attends Hume Fogg High School. She’s very interested in drama and has participated in many plays at her school as well as productions at The Nashville Children’s Theater. An active member of her church’s youth group, Evie also has helped to organize the CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) walk for the past several years.

Photo of Jazmin
Jazmin aspires to be a professional chef.

Jazmin attends Glencliff High School and is all about the extracurriculars. Her resume is chocked full of participation in service and cultural groups including Latinas Unidas, Rise Above Hate, Jump Study Foundation, and United Nations, just to name a few. She offers her bilingual talents as a translator for after-school tutoring programs, and aspires to be a professional chef!

Photo of Maria
Maria is an active member of the Glencliff High garden club.

Maria attends Glencliff High school where she is very active in many clubs including the Garden Club (yay!), ITOP, Beta Club, Teens United, and United Nations. Maria has also worked with the Oasis Center and hopes to continue to grow in her leadership abilities this summer.

Photo of Maynan
Maynan’s name means “shining moon.”

Maynan attends McGavock High School and has been in the U.S. for about seven years. She enjoys helping out with a Bantu summer camp in her free time. In her native country, Kenya, her name means “shining of the moon”.

Photo of Saida
Saida enjoys tutoring kids in Nashville’s Bantu community.

Saida is a student at McGavock High School. She likes to tutor kids in the Bantu community in after-school programs and is also actively involved with Catholic Charities. Saida has experience growing food from her days in Africa, and we’re excited to learn from her this summer!

Photo of TJ
TJ has experience in designing and building garden beds out of cob.

TJ has just graduated from Glencliff High School. While he was there he was a part ofthe Garden Club and an Engineering class in which he helped design and build garden beds out of cob. While TJ has many talents, one of his favorite activities is parkour.

It has been a pleasure getting to know these remarkable young people over the past week, and we are really looking forward to a rich summer of learning, growing, and teaching.

Yoga & Push-ups: Getting Active at Fannie Battle Day Home

Guest post by youth volunteer Hui Cheng —

It’s workout time at Fannie Battle Day Home for Children! This semester, the youth and I have embarked on a fitness adventure to combat childhood inactivity, and so far, everyone has loved every moment of it.

In the several months I’ve spent as a Fannie Battle intern, it’s been particularly important for me to introduce healthy physical activities that the kids can easily remember and replicate at home – because it’s shocking to learn how little time most spend being active.

Hui and the Fannie Battle kids play a game of "Human Knot."

With the rising popularity of addicting video games and the Internet, most youth just don’t think that going outside and exercising can be very enjoyable – or very important. Some of my youth don’t live near friends whom they can play with, and many have already-busy parents who just don’t have the time to greatly emphasize the importance of exercise.

Keeping those factors in mind, I decided to start the year with an activity that was fun and could be done on one’s own time – yoga. When I introduced the poses, however, I wasn’t surprised to receive a series of odd looks from my class.

“What on earth is a downward-facing dog?”

“I can’t twist my arms far enough this Eagle pose!”

Yet, as we moved through cycles of Sun Salutations, lunged in Warrior poses and struggled to balance as Trees, we grew gigglier and sillier. (Check out these photos of the kids busting out some yoga moves!) At the end of the class, the youth voted to have a yoga show-and-tell; each of us would teach the rest of the class our favorite pose. When I left, I knew I wouldn’t have to ask them to keep exercising when they got home; they were already repeating the movements on their own. “This is fun! Can we do this again?” a girl asked.

Preparing for the day's activities!

When I returned this month, my class was again eager to learn and eager to exercise. While everyone last week had enjoyed yoga, this week’s workout – a mini bootcamp – appealed much more to the boys. We did push-ups and tricep push-ups, V-ups and crunches, and even hopped around the room in a series of jumping squats.

“Will muscles help me get girls?” a boy jokingly asked.

We all laughed, but I couldn’t help feeling that he had touched on something vital. When I went home from Fannie Battle this Friday, I waved goodbye to the same cries of, “Can we do this again? This was fun!” But this time, I left with a new idea in mind. So far, all of my efforts were intended to persuade youth that fitness was essential to healthy living.  But perhaps, as this young man had mentioned, it could be linked to something more. Perhaps it was necessary to motivate my kids to exercise by pointing out how cardio workouts could help them run faster in soccer, or how doing push-ups would develop their biceps and help them pitch a ball faster in baseball.

Perhaps making fitness relevant to everyday activities could be more persuasive to youth than mere health and fitness alone – and in next month’s lesson, I hope to transform this young boy’s words into inspiration.

Hui Cheng, a senior at Martin Luther King Academic Magnet School, is one of 12 HON Youth Volunteer Corps Interns, serving in the inaugural 2011-2012 class. Each month, she plans and leads a fitness and nutrition focused activity that engages the children served by the Fannie Battle Day Home For Children after-school program. Hands On Nashville is now accepting applications for the 2012-13 YVC Internship program. Read more and download an application.