This category of the Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards recognizes representatives of civic, membership, faith-based or non-corporate groups that volunteer together for a specific cause or issue.
This year’s finalists are:
Volunteers at Youth Villages
During their visits to the Youth Villages Wallace Group Home, Chicktime members spend their time getting to know the girls, providing emotional support, love, and life skills — paired with a little bit of fun.
There are 10 young women at Wallace Group Home who have been separated from their families by the State of Tennessee and are awaiting reunification or a foster home placement. Each month, Chicktime volunteers visit the girls, and provide all of the supplies, food, and their “chick power” to brighten the girls’ day. Activites range from crafts and poetry, to karaoke nights and visits to local farms.
“The Chicktime members are dedicated to not just serving foster youth, but they are dedicated to serving teens in the foster care system that have a history of abuse, neglect, and/or trauma, and that do not generally trust or respect adults,” said Julie Abbott, the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator with Youth Villages. “The members come back month after month to a revolving group of youth and continue to shower the girls with love, understanding, and patience.”
Holly Stewart and Stephanie Mullenax, Co-founders of the Chicktime Nashville chapter, serve to lay the path for everyone who wants to make a difference in children’s lives by bringing women together to serve.
“We enter these girls’ lives as caring members of the community focused on restoration and just doing what we can to bring a bright spot into their lives,” Stewart says.
Friends Life Community
Volunteers at FiftyForward
Every Thursday and Friday, a smiling, energized group from Friends Life Community delivers meals, provides safety checks, and socializes with homebound senior adults through FiftyForward’s Fresh/Meals on Wheels program.
Friends Life Community members are teenagers and adults with disabilities who participate in service-learning activities in order tobuild valuable employment skills and share their talents and time with local nonprofits.
For 80-year-old Alberta, Friday is one of the most exciting days of the week.
“The beautiful group that delivers my meals on Fridays is a joy in my life,” Alberta said. “I always give them a peppermint and let them know how much I look forward to them delivering my meal each Friday. I’ve even found myself getting up earlier to get dressed nicely so I can spend time talking with them!”
The consistency and dependability shown by Friends Life Communitymembers gives Meals On Wheels participants an abundance ofjoy and encouragement, as well as show that they are not alone.
Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy
Volunteers at the American Liver Foundation-Mid South Division
When at the Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy (TNVCA) cadets learned what it meant to be a part of the Volunteer State through discipline, structure, education, and service.
The mission of the TNVCA was to intervene in and reclaim the lives of at-risk youth and produce program graduates with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens of Tennessee.
During the 2018 and 2019 Liver Life Walks for the American Liver Foundation (ALF), cadets proved to themselves and to their mentors that they were ready and willing to serve.
Cadets helped with a variety of tasks, from setup and teardown to parking cars and refilling water stations. One thing most appreciated about these cadets was their willingness to help with a variety of tasks, even things other volunteers didn’t care to do.
“They are always courteous and willing to do the work, which makde them a delight to have as a volunteer group,” said Teresa Davidson, the National Director of Engagement at ALF-Mid-South.
Cadets at the TNVCA are not only helping with the Liver Life Walk but learning how to be a part of their community and serve other nonprofits in the future.
Note: Unfortunately, due to funding restrictions in light of COVID-19, TNVCA has been permanently shuttered. Learn more here.