Tag Archives: Mary Catherine Strobel

Strobel Finalists 2022: Direct Service — Youth

Congratulations to these three finalists in the Direct Service—Youth category of the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Vote for your favorite story of service until April 30 using the button below!

JohnThomas Atema

JohnThomas Atema
Volunteers with Best Buddies 

JohnThomas Atema began volunteering with the Best Buddies organization in the sixth grade. As a peer, lunch and a homework buddy, Atema has been a consistent friend to peers with special needs because of his passion for inclusivity.  

Atema has continued his services with the Best Buddies organization by serving as both vice president and president of the organization in middle school. While serving in these roles, he was recognized as the top fundraiser for the Best Buddies Walk that year and won the James C. Parker Service Award. As a high schooler, Atema has served as a peer buddy all three years and currently serves as the vice president of the high school-level organization. Moving into his senior year, he hopes to be president of the organization. He is also a part of Best Buddies International through providing videos for the organization and serving as the youngest Global Ambassador.  “JohnThomas does not have to do Best Buddies because he lives Best Buddies — he has a sister with Down syndrome and lives out the organization’s mission every day. However, he has passionately chosen to be involved with this organization because he knows how important it is and has been Buddies with the same student since the seventh grade,” shared a colleague of Atema’s.  


Riya Narayan

Riya Narayan
Founder of Treats and Tunes

Riya Narayan is the founder of Treats and Tunes, an organization with a mission to provide people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities with a platform to share their love for music. Through her organization, she has reached out to many assisted living centers, coordinated performances and logistics, and planned in-person and virtual events.  

When Narayan recognized the impact that music can have on members of senior living and long-term care facilities, she knew that she would be able to meet that need. At age 14, Narayan founded Treats and Tunes to provide engaging activities and entertainment for members of elderly communities. Based in Franklin, Tenn., Narayan has recruited performers from across the world to share the joy of music to over 1,500 residents in assisted living centers in not only the Nashville area, but also centers in New York, Michigan, California and Vancouver, Canada. Treats and Tunes has expanded to host over 30 virtual and eight in-person events in the span of two years. Narayan has found ways to involve participants from over 10 U.S. states and four different countries, including India and Venezuela.  

Despite the pandemic that affected a lot of her in-person efforts in 2020, Narayan continued to expand in ways that would be safe and still enjoyable to residents of the assisted living centers. Her heart and passion for helping serve others continues to impact many community centers and residents.   “The joy, twinkle in the eyes and the sense of bonding Riya felt from senior citizens after every performance made the efforts totally worth it,” shared a colleague of Narayan’s.


Maddie McDaniel

Maddie McDaniel
Volunteers with Girl Scout Troop 6000 and One Generation Away 

Maddie McDaniel is no stranger to spreading the love when it comes to volunteer efforts in the Nashville area. As a student, McDaniel dedicates all her weekends and breaks to serving both Girl Scout Troop 6000 and One Generation Away. The two organizations are working to alleviate homelessness for women and hunger in Nashville.  

Even while attending school Monday through Friday, McDaniel has made the effort to log over 300 hours of community service to both organizations. Starting out as a Girl Scout herself, she first was introduced to Troop 6000 in her freshman year, when she immediately signed up to be a co-leader to provide support and activities to the young women experiencing homelessness. McDaniel felt led to serve this community because of the joy and resilience the women continued to emit, even while experiencing homelessness.  

McDaniel was introduced to One Generation Away through a joint mobile food pantry that was initiated by her church. One Generation Away seeks to help families struggling with food anxiety by providing food from local grocery stores. When serving, she helps unload 30,000 pounds of food and sorts through it. With all her dedicated time to the organization, McDaniel has taken on the responsibility of directing over 300 cars of traffic to the food pantry. She has continued to serve the organization in her personal life through her social media platforms, Girl Scout troops, her church youth group and clubs on campus.  

“Though these two organizations are different, I believe they called me to help for the same reason. They enable me to help someone directly, an opportunity to exchange a smile or a thank you. They allow me to learn from them and get back more than I give,” McDaniel shared.  

To see a full list of the nominees for the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, click here.

Strobel Finalists 2022: Direct Service — Adult

Congratulations to these three finalists in the Direct Service—Adult category of the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Vote for your favorite story of service until April 30 at the button below!

Greg O’Loughlin

Greg O’Loughlin
Volunteers with the Oasis Center 

Nine years ago, Greg O’Loughlin joined Oasis, a nonprofit that helps young people in Middle Tennessee transition into a successful and content adulthood. He became a volunteer within Oasis’ bike workshop, where young Metro school students can pick out a bike and learn how to both build and maintain it. In 2014, O’Loughlin and manager Dan Furbish wanted to advance the program and launched the Oasis Mountain Bike Team, which coaches kids to practice and compete on bike courses all over the state.  

With hundreds of hours of service dedicated to Oasis’ bike workshop, O’Loughlin has acted as not only a teacher, but a mentor to over 120 of the students the organization works with each year in partnership with Nashville schools and community centers. The bike team has continued to be successful with national coverage from media outlet NPR that led to recognition in the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Broadcasting. O’Loughlin’s first public school mountain bike team consisted of eight international Metro Nashville Public School students from El Salvador, Mexico and Egypt. Since then, he has continued to help connect the mountain bike team and the bike workshop to STEM teachers across Nashville schools. As the director of the Educator’s Cooperative, O’Loughlin has also applied his knowledge to go the extra mile for the students by helping bring attention to the bike program across the Nashville area.  

O’Loughlin has continued to be a reliable resource for the students he champions alongside students on the mountain bike team. Last year, the Oasis Bike Workshop was granted the Max Barry Fund, which was used to take the mountain bike team to the Appalachian Mountains on a three-day camping trip. With such responsibility and dedication to students, “Greg helped me ensure the children’s safety on some pretty treacherous terrain in a certified wilderness area with no cellphone service and miles from emergency help. My mind was at ease knowing that I could rely on Greg had an emergency occurred,” shared Furbish, co-coach of the mountain bike team.  


Kimberly Webb

Kimberly Webb
Volunteers with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) 

Kimberly Webb is no stranger to volunteering with children as she has been a mentor, advocate and peer to children at the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for the past decade, serving over 17 children and teens. At home, she continues to serve children as a foster mother who has provided a home and a safe environment for over 20 children.  

Eleven years ago, Webb joined the volunteer team at CASA Nashville as a peer coordinator and volunteer advocate and currently serves three additional youth in foster care. As a volunteer who prioritizes the relational aspect of serving, she is known to make children feel individually cared for and heard. Webb’s colleagues have said that she is a dependable and consistent role model to the organization and children as she steps into a gap wherever she can. Her services have no limitation on distance and cost, as she has continued to visit, deliver snacks and spend time with former Nashville-residing children who have grown up and moved to different cities and states.  

In 2020, Webb lost her 20-year-old son, David, in an unexpected and tragic accident. Amid her grief, she remained faithful to her commitment to advocacy work to the children of Tennessee. As she is a foster mother and children’s advocacy volunteer, all her services and volunteer work are motivated by her son. Webb further leaned into the volunteer opportunities at CASA even more after the loss of her son by taking on the role of peer coordinator, mentoring new CASA volunteers, continuing to open her home to foster children and working on two cases as a CASA volunteer advocate.   “I didn’t expect CASA volunteer work to be so involved when I joined 11 years ago. CASA really makes a difference when a child or teen sees your face. Other adults come in and out of their lives, both family members and professionals; but seeing a face they recognize and trust makes all the difference,” Webb shared.


Lina Londoño Tinsley

Lina Londoño Tinsley
Volunteers with Conexión Américas 

As a global marketing manager and life coach at Conexión Américas, Lina Londoño Tinsley has provided many Latino community members with advice to help them obtain the fulfilling life many strive to achieve. Tinsley has volunteered with members of the adult Latino community and is continuing to help them navigate their business, discover their passions and find their voice.  

Conexión Américas is a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for Latino families to succeed, and Tinsley’s work consistently continues to be one of the most highly attended and engaged classes throughout the program, even during virtual classes for the past two years. Tinsley continues to receive rave reviews from her students that exemplify her ability to connect with others authentically as well as impart powerful guidance that leads small-business owners in the right direction. As a mentor who empowers the women of the Latino community, Tinsley has encouraged the community to do the controversial among the community and take risks to pursue their passion. Tinsley has created a bridge between herself and her students by emphasizing the importance of prioritizing mental health within her classes. This holistic approach has granted students the space and environment to fully trust and act on Tinsley’s advice with their small businesses.   Tinsley continues to have a huge impact on the members and students of Conexión Américas, specifically on a student who began the Negocio Prospero program at the nonprofit. Tinsley’s guidance and support to the young student helped her create a business model that capitalized on her strength of cooking. The student now owns a successful catering business that Tinsley helped guide her toward not just personally, but professionally. 

To see a full list of the nominees for the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, click here.

Strobel Finalists 2022: Capacity-building Volunteer

Congratulations to these three finalists in the Capacity-building Volunteer category of the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Vote for your favorite story of service until April 30 at the button below!

Carole Purkey

Carole Purkey
Volunteers with WOW Transition House

Carole Purkey started volunteering with Women of Worth (WOW) Recovery Home in 2020. Through her work with WOW, she’s built relationships with many women who are transistioning out of incarceration and are looking for a fresh start, helping them make it to dentist and doctors’ appointments and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to celebrate their sobriety.

WOW aims to serve the needs of women in recovery who are transitioning out of incarceration. Purkey was introduced to the organization through her church, Donelson Church of Christ, and has served as an active board member and volunteer since 2020. She’s spread the word about the organization throughout the community, gaining consistent financial support from several groups and individuals. By advocating for the organization to her church, Purkey expanded the capabilities of WOW with a roughly $60,000 property renovation in 2021 that opened the doors to their second recovery house, increasing their capacity from five beds to 11 beds.

“I was introduced to Women of Worth Recovery Home through a class at my church when we began providing dinner for their weekly community meeting,” Purkey said. “After meeting and getting to know them, they have become my friends and have shown me that they just want a second chance.”

Purkey knows each client by name as she volunteers to provide them with transportation to appointments and leads Bible studies with them. Several women even found transportation to her 70th birthday party.

Purkey has shown through her consistent work that she believes in the philosophy, purpose and goals of WOW. “This organization, under the direction of Kristy Pomeroy, gives women who need a support system after incarceration a safe, comfortable and loving environment as they find their path to independence.”


Sunny Fleming and her dog, Elise

Sunny Fleming
Volunteers with Friends of Shelby Park & Bottoms

When Sunny Fleming volunteered with Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms in the summer of 2021, she was able to use her expertise as a national solutions engineer to expand the maintenance capabilities of the nonprofit that maintains the park.

With 1,300 acres of space with varying biomes, the small, dedicated Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms maintenance crew has their work cut out for them in improving and protecting the park. With limited staffing, it was important that they find a way to monitor maintenance needs around the property.

Thanks to Fleming’s knowledge of ArcGIS, a geographical information system, she was able to create and set up a survey that enables park maintenance needs to be easily flagged on a map. She also took the time to train volunteers to use the survey, expediting the maintenance and improvement process.

Several members of the public were mobilized to document areas in the park in need of improvement, and Fleming trained members of the nonprofit to use the program to stay on top of maintenance needs.

Through Fleming’s efforts, Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms can now track their progress on removing invasive species, which trails need maintenance and the urgency of the maintenance. She has volunteered many hours to train members of the nonprofit to use the ArcGIS software, increasing their capacity to maintain the sprawling park grounds for visitors to enjoy.


Susanne Shepherd Post

Susanne Shepherd Post
Founder of Shear Haven with YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee

As a hair stylist, Susanne Shepherd Post knows how easy it is to be a listening and supportive ear for her clients. As a survivor of domestic violence, she also knows that her job puts her in a position to recognize many of the signs of abuse. Many stylists, however, don’t know what to look for to determine whether their client is a victim of abuse.

Combining her career and her calling, Shepherd Post co-founded the Shear Haven initiative with YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee in 2017 to train cosmetologists to recognize their role in identifying and reporting domestic violence. Shepherd Post and YWCA advocated for legislation requiring all licensed beauty professionals in Tennessee to complete a domestic violence education course. Through a unique partnership with the Barbicide company, a short, online video was created and shared at no cost on the Barbicide website, paving the way for the legislation to pass unanimously in the Tennessee Senate and overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives.

Shepherd Post’s work with YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee has given the 124-year-old nonprofit a brand-new way to reach and assist women in need. To date, more than 40,000 cosmetologists have completed the Shear Haven training on the Barbicide website, giving them the tools they need to recognize and report domestic abuse. Included in that number are not only cosmetologists from Tennessee, but those stretching to various states and 101 countries. “I am deeply honored to be nominated,” Shepherd Post said. “I am inspired by the work of each of my fellow nominees, and I hope this helps shine a light on the amazing work the YWCA does in our community. Because of my experience as a domestic violence survivor, I feel a calling and a responsibility to spread awareness about the signs of domestic violence. I hope to help open a deeper conversation around the issue and believe that reducing the stigma and sharing resources can help save lives.”

To see a full list of the nominees for the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, click here.

Strobel Finalists 2022: Disaster Relief

Congratulations to these three finalists in the Disaster Relief category of the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Vote for your favorite story of service until April 30 at the button below!

Hispanic Outreach Task Force
(Marcela Gomez)

Hispanic Outreach Task Force
Volunteers with Hands On Nashville, offers assistance to Latino community in need

In the aftermath of the March 2021 flood, south Nashville was in particular need of disaster relief. While there were many volunteer organizations making recovery efforts at the time, it was quickly realized that a task force of community members who could understand and navigate the cultural nuances of the largely Latino community was needed. This task force consisted of Diane Janbakhsh, Jennifer Novo, Veronica Selcedo, Wendy Silva, Karla Vazaquez and Veronica Zavaleta, all well-known and influential community members. The team immediately crafted a plan to reach members of the Latino community who were in need and let them know that relief was available.

Before the Hispanic Outreach Task Force was assembled, only a handful of Latino residents felt comfortable reaching out for help; after several outreach events and media pushes conducted by the team, over 300 requests for disaster relief from homeowners and renters in the area were received, allowing volunteers to mobilize and help residents. Without this task force, many members of the Latino community in south Nashville would not have had a trusted avenue to reach out for help with disaster recovery. Although the members of the task force didn’t expect any recognition for their work, they are honored to be nominated. “Offering the talents and skills life has given you for the service of others is an honor,” said Marcela Gomez, who was instrumental in assembling the task force. “You don’t volunteer with the mindset that you will get something back; you volunteer because you are grateful to be alive.”


Emergency Support Unit volunteers

Emergency Support Unit
Nashville Office of Emergency Management

During Nashville’s tremendous rainfall and historic flash flooding in March 2021, crews were quickly needed to help rescue residents who had been trapped in dangerous situations. That’s when the Emergency Support Unit (ESU), a team of roughly 30 community members ranging from CEOs to teachers, mobilized. This team volunteered their extensive training to help Nashvillians in need.

When Nashville started flooding, this team, several of whom are trained specifically in flood and swift-water response, put their skills to use and saved dozens of lives. The ESU conducted numerous home, vehicle and high-water rescues. When a Metro Nashville police officer was swept from his vehicle during the night and into rushing, debris-filled, 20-foot-deep water, the ESU team conducted an emergency rescue in the dark, saving the officer’s life.

“ESU volunteers are dedicated to serve their community and its citizens during their time of need during emergency and non-emergency incidents that affect our community,” said a representative from the Office of Emergency Management. “This is a great honor for us.”


Joe Gaines

Joe Gaines
Volunteers with Waverly Flood Survivors and Westminster Presbyterian Church

Joe Gaines has been an active disaster relief volunteer since Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005. He volunteered to help during Nashville’s 2010 flood, and after the 2020 tornadoes in Putnam and Davidson Counties. When flooding devastated Waverly, Tenn., Gaines’s actions were no different – he jumped in to help.

Since the August flooding, Gaines and his team have worked on 12 homes impacted by the storms. His team works on the most severely damaged homes, the ones many other teams walk away from. What makes Gaines’s work special is he recognizes these houses are more than damaged buildings, they’re people’s homes. When on site it’s a priority of his to introduce volunteers to the home owners to show just how important their work is.

“I feel that there is a call to help others in their time of need,” Gaines said. “I also enjoy hands-on labor and the fellowship of my fellow volunteers. My life has been rewarded by seeing the appreciation of those we help.”

Gaines is tireless, and works with a quiet determination and thorough knowledge of his skill set. After the attention has diverted from Waverly and the resources have dwindled, he’s remained dedicated to the flood victims. He continues to gather a crew two days a month to help those who have lost so much, and is often found working long after other volunteers have headed home.

He is the heart of his group, and the motivation to keep everyone positive throughout the day. He says he’s fortunate to work with his fellow members at Westminster Presbyterian Church, and continue their long tradition of service.

To see a full list of the nominees for the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, click here.

Join us next week for the 36th Annual Strobel Volunteer Awards!

After a year of significant challenges, we are SO READY to hear some amazing stories of service. We’re very excited to share that the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards will feature fun prizes and categories that honor the unique service of Nashville volunteers.

Plus, the public will get a chance to vote for their favorite story of service!

ACT FAST! The first 25 nominators will receive a $50 giftcard to Hattie B’s!



Award Categories 

Capacity-building Volunteer 

Disaster Relief Volunteer 

Group Volunteer Service

Social Justice Impact Volunteer

Direct Service Youth (Ages 5-20) 

Direct Service Adult (Ages 21-49)  

Direct Service Older Adult (Ages 50+)

 Learn more about categories and submission criteria.

Make a difference by nominating!

Award recipients will receive a $1,000 gift card from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and finalists will receive a $250 gift card to donate to the charity of their choice. The public will get a chance to vote on their favorite story of service before the recipients are announced May 13.


About the Awards  

The Strobel Volunteer Awards were created to honor the memory of Mary Catherine Strobel, a Nashville volunteer known for her compassion and generosity. The ceremony, now in its 36th year, has grown to become Middle Tennessee’s largest celebration of service. 
Learn more here.


Strobel Finalists 2021: Disaster Relief

Congratulations to these three finalists in the Disaster Relief category of the 35th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards! Vote for your favorite story of service until June 15 at the button below!

Maria Amado

Maria Amado
Volunteers with The Community Resource Center

When the March 3, 2020, tornadoes hit, Maria Amado headed straight to the Community Resource Center, set up a workspace, and has barely left since. As the CRC’s board chair, she was already well positioned to help advance CRC’s mission of meeting basic needs in the Middle Tennessee community. But when 2020 brought multiple disasters to Nashville, Amado’s support for the resource hub kicked into overdrive. 

She answered phones, did interviews, unloaded trucks, took supplies to their destinations, organized hundreds of volunteers, secured donations of tons of items, and even learned how to drive a forklift so she could be even more useful in the CRC’s warehouse.  

“Maria lives and breathes the mission of volunteerism,” says her nominator, Cindie Burkett. “Her passion for what she does sets her apart and the community knows her by her first name for the support she has provided.” 

When COVID-19 hit Middle Tennessee, many organizations and businesses paused operations. The Community Resource Center — which, at the time, had just one paid employee: their executive director — ramped up its response with Maria’s help and distributed tens of thousands of hygiene and cleaning kits to the community, as well as personal protective equipment and other items that were hard to find in the spring of 2020.

CRC became aware of 300 local military members slated to return from overseas deployment who were to begin quarantine. These soldiers had only what was in their rucksacks — no linens for their beds. Amado personally spent six hours on the phone securing 300 sets of bedding — sheets, pillows, and blankets that could be delivered in 48 hours.  

When a bomb went off downtown on Christmas Day, Amado left her family and went to the CRC warehouse. Phone outages made it impossible to contact CRC’s executive director, so Amado became the sole contact for the Office of Emergency Management, and helped lead CRC’s efforts to provide food and supplies to first responders, federal agents, and survivors.  

“I cannot remember a time when I was not volunteering,” Amado says. “It has been a part of my family’s life, my life, even as a child. Helping others empowers us, grounds us, feeds us intellectually and spiritually. The more we learn about the challenges our neighbors face, the easier it is for us to be the change we want to see — for us to create healthy, stable productive happy communities.”

•••

Emergency Support Unit volunteers

Emergency Support Unit
Nashville Office of Emergency Management

Nashville’s Office of Emergency Management Emergency Support Unit (OEM ESU) is a group of a couple dozen trained individuals who provide critical services for the city — all while many Nashvillians don’t realize they are volunteers! 

Nashville’s Dive Rescue team, which handles all water rescues and recoveries — all volunteers. Nashville’s Swift Water rescue team that recently saved dozens of people during flooding — volunteers. The K9 search and rescue team that searched the rubble on 2nd Avenue for survivors after the Christmas Day bombing — volunteers. And the weather/disaster response team that helped lead recovery efforts after the March 2020 tornado — volunteers. Working alongside police, fire, and emergency medical technicians, the more than 40 men and women on the team are sometimes overlooked, because when people see them in uniform or in the news, they don’t realize these highly-trained first responders have other 9-to-5 jobs, yet put hundreds of hours in each year responding to whatever weather or emergency disasters our city faces.  

During the tornado, this team was heavily involved with coordinating response and recovery efforts — everything  from search and rescue to connecting survivors with resources and helping provide recovery services. When the bombing happened on Second Avenue, the team deployed to search for survivors in the rubble. The team is called out regularly to help with weather-related incidents and water-related accidents.  

This team of volunteers — who come from all walks of life — has literally saved dozens of lives, helped provide physical and logistical support during disasters to Nashville residents, and regularly provides the city with services it would not otherwise have. OEM ESU saves the city hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by volunteering their services, as a majority of its members volunteer more than 200 hours a year. 

“Many of our members are native Nashvillians with deep ties to this community,” says ESU’s David Crane. “Some knew Ms. Strobel and her lifetime commitment to service. We consider it an honor and privilege to be included in the list of finalists for this award bearing her name and legacy.”

•••

Nicholas Renfroe

Nicholas Renfroe
Volunteered in North Nashville to assist with tornado response

When a tornado ripped through Middle Tennessee in the wee hours of March 3, 2020, Belmont senior Nicholas Renfroe immediately sprang into action. He contacted his neighbors, church board members, and fellow Belmont students,  and organized a day of service. In just 48 hours, Renfroe connected 250 volunteers and arranged to shuttle them from his South Nashville church to help survivors in North Nashville clean up their devastated neighborhoods. 

Renfroe then organized a monthlong dropoff where members of his church could donate essential items and nonperishable food to displaced North Nashvillians. More than 1,200 toiletries, articles of clothing, infant items, and more were distributed to survivors over the following weeks.  

When COVID-19 shut down churches across the region, Renfroe developed an app for his church, Lake Providence Missionary Baptist, so that members — in particular senior citizens — could stay connected and prevent loneliness and isolation. The app will continue to connect church members for years to come.  

“My faith is very important to me,” Renfroe says, “and one of the core principles of my Christian faith is services. I believe that the most common way that God answers a prayer for a miracle in the life of someone is through individuals and communities who use their gifts and talents to benefit those around them.”

Additionally, Renfroe was selected to be part of the American Cancer Society’s Men Wear Pink Campaign in October to raise awareness of breast cancer. Renfroe baked cakes and pies to sell and raised more than $2,000.  

“What sets Nick apart is his willingness to meet a need even while he has other obligations to attend to,” says his nominator. “He was a senior in college, working a full-time job, and had other social and personal obligations. Time and time again, when a need arises, Nick will stop what he is doing to help.” 

To see a full list of the nominees for the 35th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, click here.

Congratulations to the 2021 Strobel Volunteer Awards nominees!

2020 was a year like no other, full of incredible acts of service in response to multiple disasters and great community need. Thank you to the amazing volunteers nominated for the 35th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards. Read on for a full list of nominees in each category.

What’s next: We’ll announce the finalists on June 1, and the public will be able to vote for their favorite stories of service between June 1-15.

Save the date for the celebration: Join Hands On Nashville on Thursday, July 1, when we’ll announce the award recipients on our website and social channels. Sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any important announcements!

Capacity-building Volunteer 

Recognizes individuals who provided significant operational or administrative support in 2020 to a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry or community organization, or developed an innovative approach to significantly improve an existing program.

  • Jena Altstatt 
  • Corrie Anderson 
  • Colin Dudley and the team at CGI 
  • Julia Eidt 
  • Linda Emerson 
  • Lindsay Harte 
  • Suzanne Hartness 
  • Micah Lacher 
  • Chimen Mayi 
  • Dianne McNeese 
  • Dr. Paula Pendergrass 
  • Allison Quintanilla Plattsmier 
  • Sunny Spyridon 
  • Turnip Green Creative Reuse
  • Charlie Tygard 
  • Julie Williams 
  • Jesse Wilmoth 

Group Volunteer Service 

Recognizes any group of two or more individuals who volunteered together in 2020 for a specific issue or cause. Some group examples are faith-based, civic, membership, and corporate.   

  • 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee 
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Kappa Lambda Omega Chapter 
  • Bell Garden Chicken Tenders  
  • The Bridge Builder Program  
  • Caterpillar Financial 
  • Charlotte Heights Church of Christ volunteer group 
  • Cheatham Place Volunteers 
  • Designed Conveyor Systems 
  • Encompass Health Hospice 
  • Exotic Avian Sanctuary of Tennessee volunteers 
  • FreeStore Volunteers 
  • Katie and Eric Hogue 
  • International Coaching Federation Tennessee Chapter 
  • Jackson National Life Insurance Company 
  • Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church 
  • Junior League Nashville 
  • Savannah McBride and Kara Weller 
  • Trish Marshall and Michel Magnin 
  • McGavock Coalition 
  • Nashville Diaper Connection’s Friday Crew 
  • Nashville First Baptist Church  
  • Open Table Nashville’s Winter Canvassing Team 
  • The Progressive Group Of Insurance Companies 
  • Rotary Clubs of Murfreesboro (Murfreesboro Noon Rotary, Murfreesboro Breakfast Rotary, and Smyrna Rotary) 
  • The Students of CiViL 
  • Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA) 
  • Tony, Lisa, Kyle, Brittany and Wake Tate 
  • Top Buttons Nashville 
  • Williamson Social Justice Alliance Vulnerable Families   

Disaster Relief Volunteer 

Recognizes those who made a significant contribution to helping Nashville recover from the tornado, pandemic, or bombing in 2020. 

  • Maria Amado 
  • Karen Brown 
  • Daniel Craig 
  • David Flow 
  • Stephie Goings 
  • Howard’s Crew 
  • Joany Johnson 
  • Debbie Linn 
  • Cindy Manley 
  • Nashville Noticias Volunteer Group 
  • Nashville Office of Emergency Management Emergency Support Unit 
  • Ben Piñon 
  • Nicholas Renfroe 
  • Madison Thorn 
  • The Blessing Wave  
  • Charlotte E. Thomas West 
  • Marissa Wynn 

Social Justice Impact Volunteer

Recognizes individuals whose volunteer work in 2020 was centered on dismantling or calling out systemic injustice or oppression and lifting up disenfranchised communities.  

  • Tony Armani 
  • Jackie Arnold 
  • Mary Avent 
  • Ishika Devgan 
  • Calea Davis 
  • Stacy Downey
  • The Equity Alliance
  • Jasmine Symone Franklin 
  • Mary Langford 
  • Greta McClain 
  • Makayla N McCree 
  • Meredith McKinney 
  • Nashville Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition 
  • Donna Pack 
  • Kimberly Pointer 
  • Keenan Robinson 
  • Serving Souls NGO 
  • Kenneth Stewart 
  • Parangkush Subedi 
  • Richard “Dick” Tennent 

Direct Service Volunteer — Youth  

Recognizes individuals who contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources in 2020 to help the community. Volunteers ages 5-20 are eligible for this award.  

  • Hannah Bodoh 
  • Laura Enciso 
  • Sydnee Floyd 
  • Ian Hooper 
  • Violet Melendez 
  • Savannah Nimitz 
  • Emini Offutt 
  • Rachel Siciliano 
  • Darrell Walker 

Direct Service Volunteer — Adult 

Recognizes individuals who contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources in 2020 to help the community. Volunteers ages 21-49 are eligible for this award.  

  • Melissa Alexander 
  • Nadia Ali 
  • Maria Amado 
  • Sandra Amstutz 
  • Jessica Azor 
  • Ryan Bailey 
  • Michael Taylor Bick 
  • Deanna Bowman 
  • Anita Cochran 
  • Abishai Collingsworth  
  • Becky Conway 
  • Natalie Dillard 
  • Angela Ellis
  • Teaka Jackson 
  • Jason King 
  • Emily Ladyman 
  • Cameron Mahone 
  • Laneisha Matthews 
  • Jami Oakley 
  • Elizabeth Graham Pistole 
  • Samantha Pita 
  • Allison Quintanilla Plattsmier 
  • Laura Prechel  
  • Savanna Starko 
  • Natalie Thompson 
  • Vibhav Veldore 
  • Kenya Watkins 
  • Eric Werner 
  • Erica Williams 

Direct Service Volunteer — Older Adult

Recognizes individuals who contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources in 2020 to help the community. Volunteers ages 50 and up are eligible for this award. 

  • Dennis Caffrey 
  • Bobby Cain 
  • Melissa Callaway 
  • Mrs. Joan Campbell 
  • Gil Chilton 
  • Mary Lou Durham 
  • Tony Eagen 
  • Kathy Felts 
  • Elois Freeman 
  • Michael Gray 
  • Walt Grooms 
  • Kathy Halbrooks 
  • Donna Hasty 
  • Hans-Willi Honegger 
  • Eva Ledezma Jimenez 
  • Barbara Kaye 
  • Stephen Kohl 
  • Victor Legerton 
  • Kathryn L. Mitchem 
  • Michelle Putnam 
  • Andreas Ritchie 
  • Dr. Ellen K. Slicker 
  • Kim Tierney
  • Tom Wallace 

Meet the 2020 Strobel Awards finalists: Civic Volunteer Group

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:

Chicktime

Chicktime 

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

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. 

Through their weekly service, Friends Life Community members are delivering more than food — they’re offering a friendly face, andbuilding a relationship with FiftyForward’s clients. 

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

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. 

Join Hands On Nashville for the 2020 Strobel Volunteer Awards on Sept. 14, 15, and 16.

Hands On Nashville announces the 2020 Strobel Award nominees

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Congratulations to the amazing volunteers nominated for the 2020 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards. Read on for a full list of nominees in each category, and stay tuned: We will announce the finalists Feb. 20!

Save the date for the luncheon: Join Hands On Nashville on Thursday, April 2, to celebrate volunteerism in our community. Tickets go on sale Feb. 20.

2020 Strobel Awards Nominees

Capacity-building Volunteer

Honors individuals who provide significant operational or administrative support to a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry or community organization, or developed an innovative approach to significantly improve an existing program.

  • Paige Atchley
  • Mack Barrett
  • Marianne Bentley
  • Karen Barnes Bice
  • Thomas Bilbrey
  • Robin Born
  • Marc & Allison Bussone
  • Michelle Rogers Carver
  • Kate Copeland
  • Bob Cotter
  • Daniel Craig
  • LaTerra Davis
  • Janice Dill
  • Brenda Dowdle
  • Buck Dozier
  • Hermelinda Flores
  • Chad Folk
  • Sheila Gaffney
  • Russ Galloway
  • Dianne Gillespie
  • Helenah ‘Ellie’ Grove
  • Kim Hannah
  • Catharine L. Hollifield
  • Tiffany Lancaster
  • Judy F. Link
  • Joe Lucas
  • Anna & Jason Rodriguez Masi
  • Lynne Maynor
  • Cory McCormick
  • Patricia A. Merritt
  • Sherri Mitchell-Snider
  • Susanne Shepherd Post
  • Becky Ross
  • Alys Schiminger
  • Dee Jay Shoulders
  • Martha Silva
  • Jake Sogga
  • Josh Stevenson
  • Charlotte Stewart
  • Joseph Taylor
  • Mary E. Walker
  • Kenneth P. Watkins
  • Victor Wynn
  • Haley Zapolski

Civic Volunteer Group

Recognizes representatives of civic, membership, faith-based or non-corporate groups that volunteer together for a specific cause or issue. 

  • 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
  • 2019 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project Supervisors on Site
  • Bhutanese Community of Tennessee
  • BLAZE Mentoring Program
  • Charlotte Heights Church of Christ Volunteers
  • Chicktime
  • Clement Railroad Hotel Museum Volunteers
  • Cleveland Park Neighbors Association
  • Friends Life Community
  • FUTURO
  • Kiwanis Club of Nashville
  • The Mad Hatters of Stonebridge
  • Members in Motion
  • The Minerva Foundation of Tennessee, Inc.
  • Murfreesboro Muslim Youth
  • Musicians On Call
  • Nashville Fire Hockey Team
  • The N.O.O.K. (Needs of Our Kids)
  • Our Savior Lutheran
  • Shipwreck Cove
  • Tennessee Aquatic Project and Development Group, Inc.
  • Tennessee Volunteer Challenge Academy

Corporate Volunteerism

Pays tribute to businesses that have robust employee volunteer programs with high levels of participation and impact. 

  • CAA
  • CESO
  • Comcast
  • Dialysis Clinic, Inc.
  • HCA Healthcare
  • Hilton Downtown Nashville
  • Lowe’s Dickerson Pike
  • Lumina Foods
  • Nissan Manufacturing Smyrna
  • Nissan North America
  • The Surgical Clinic
  • Tractor Supply Company
  • UL
  • Wil-Ro, Inc.

Direct Service

Recognizes individuals who have contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources to help an agency’s constituents.

Ages 5 to 20

  • Elijah Buchanan
  • Katie Jean Davis
  • Grace Edwards
  • Sydnee Floyd
  • Spencer Grohovsky
  • Anastasia Gukasova
  • Amber Hampton
  • Larry McNary
  • Sassy Neuman
  • Anna Pearson
  • Emily Phan
  • Elizabeth Pistole
  • Abigail Poteet
  • La Rhonda R. Potts
  • Matthew Shipley
  • Justin Tholen
  • Elaine Turner

Ages 21 to 49

  • Shea Able
  • Annie Adams
  • Kristin S. Anderson
  • Charlie H. Apigian
  • Molly Breen
  • Adam Crookston
  • David Dawson
  • Olivia Rose DeCaria
  • Madison Everett
  • Davis Flowers
  • Nick Gambill
  • Austin Gray
  • Paige Hansen
  • Matthew Harms
  • Catharine L. Hollifield
  • Bill Key
  • Brittany Leedham
  • Lizzy McAvoy
  • Ashley Morrison
  • Aidan Pace
  • Amber Reader
  • Nickie Rogers
  • Tracy Rokas
  • Jessica Steele
  • Ashley Taylor
  • Rachael Terrell
  • Andrew Van Cleave
  • Long Vue
  • Renee Dubeau Whitehead
  • Ellen M. Wolfe
  • Corby Yarbrough

Ages 50+

  • Nikki Baker
  • Mike Berger
  • Dave P. Blackwell
  • Rebecca Bowman
  • Richell Breakwell
  • Maria Cacho
  • Bill Clark
  • Joan Clayton-Davis
  • Jamie Connelly
  • Brenda Squires Crow
  • Frances S. Dickie
  • James M. Doran, Jr.
  • Lynda Evjen
  • Beth Fetzer
  • Sandy Garwood
  • Debra Gulley
  • Joe Haase
  • Chris Harris
  • Susan Wilk Jakoblew
  • Martha Johnson
  • Charlotte Kenyon
  • Leah Locke
  • Steve Martens
  • Nancy C. Parker
  • Karen Paseur
  • Rachel (Marie) Johnson Pickett
  • Claudia Prange
  • Beverly Richardson
  • Nadine Rihani
  • Chuck Smith
  • John Smith
  • Linda Stoner
  • Kelly M. Thomas
  • Susan Thomas
  • Jerry Vandiver
  • Jeanette Veile
  • Linda Eller West
  • Dale Chism & Marilyn Woodruff

 

10,000 for 10

The 2020 Strobel Awards are part of 10,000 for 10, a monthlong call to action for volunteerism to commemorate the 2010 flood. Learn more about how to get involved here.

Hands On Nashville announces recipients of the 2019 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards

April 30, 2019 – Middle Tennesseans were honored for their volunteerism at Hands On Nashville’s 33rd Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, presented by Advance Financial Foundation.

The award recipients are as follows:

  • Lily Hensiek – Capacity-building Volunteer Award
  • Cross Point Church – Civic Volunteer Group Award
  • Uncle Classic Barbershop – Corporate Volunteerism Award
  • Ella Delevante – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages five to 20)
  • Marc Pearson – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages 21 to 49)
  • Charles Black – Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages 50+)

More than 600 volunteers and community members attended the luncheon and ceremony at Music City Center. The annual event recognizes volunteers for their outstanding contributions to the community, and celebrates the life of Mary Catherine Strobel, a Nashvillian with an outstanding dedication to service.

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Nashville musician Tristan McIntosh began the ceremony with a celebration of service.

Former “American Idol” contestant Tristan McIntosh — a member of the local volunteer collective Musicians On Call — opened the awards ceremony with a performance in recognition of the award nominees and finalists. Great-grandson of Mary Catherine Strobel, Benjamin Strobel, shared an invocation prior to the meal; Charles Strobel, son of Mary Catherine Strobel and founding director of Room In The Inn, closed the ceremony with remarks about his mother’s legacy and the value of service.

“For Mary Catherine Strobel, giving back wasn’t even something she did; it was who she was,” said Lori Shinton, President and CEO of Hands On Nashville. “That same spirit lives on when each of these volunteers gets up in the morning and thinks about how they can make someone else’s day better — how they can serve others using their hands, their tools, their knowledge, their creativity.”

Community members submitted more than 130 nominations for the 2019 Strobel Volunteer Awards.

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Mary Catherine Strobel’s children — Jerry (from left), Alice, Veronica, and Charles.

“This luncheon emphasizes the highest ideals of human life and the spirit of giving,” said Charles Strobel. “We are delighted that all of the nominees — both those who are finalists and those who were nominated — are receiving this special recognition for embracing that spirit.”

Below is a list of award recipients for each category and a brief description of the volunteer work for which they are recognized.

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Lily Hensiek

Lily Hensiek received the 2019 Capacity-building Volunteer Award for her work with Lily’s Garden, which has raised more than $2 million for pediatric cancer research and treatment at Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The award honors individuals who provide significant operational or administrative support to a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry or community organization.

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Sarah Stephanoff of Cross Point Church 

Cross Point Church, whose members support children in Youth Villages group homes, received the 2019 Civic Volunteer Group Award. The category honors representatives of civic, membership, faith-based or non-corporate groups that volunteer together for a specific cause or issue.

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Amy Tanksley and Trisha Lou Meinzer of Uncle Classic Barbershop

Uncle Classic Barbershop received the 2019 Corporate Volunteerism Award in honor of its ongoing service to Park Center. The award pays tribute to businesses that have robust employee volunteer programs with high levels of participation and impact.

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Stephen Francescon, Community Relations Manager at Piedmont Natural Gas; Ella Delevante; Lori Shinton

The Direct Service Volunteer Awards recognize individuals who have contributed significant volunteer time, energy and/or resources to support an agency’s constituents. Ella Delevante, a volunteer for Nations Ministries, Metro Nashville Public Schools and Nashville International Center for Empowerment, received the 2019 award for the category honoring nominees of ages five to 20.

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Mark Czuba, Business Unit Leader at U.S. Smokeless Tobacco; Marc Pearson; Lori Shinton

Marc Pearson, a volunteer with PENCIL/John Overton High School, received the 2019 Direct Service Volunteer Award for ages 21 to 49. Pearson leads efforts to prepare students for engineering careers through mock interviews, a job shadow program, and more.

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Charles Black (center)

 Charles Black, a volunteer with Dismas House, received the 2019 Direct Service Volunteer Award for ages 50 plus. Black is an ambassador, mentor, and driver for the men of Dismas House, where he was once himself a client.

Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

All photos are credit of Kerry Woo Photography.

For More Information

Please contact Lindsey Turner at Hands On Nashville: (615) 298-1108 ext. 415; lindsey@hon.org.

About the Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards

The Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards are named in memory of the late Mary Catherine Strobel, known for her extensive and charitable efforts toward improving the lives of Middle Tennessee’s homeless, impoverished and less fortunate populations. The annual awards ceremony celebrates her service and recognizes those who continue her legacy. View all nominees for the 2019 awards.

About Hands On Nashville

Hands On Nashville (HON) builds capacity for individuals and agencies to meet needs through service. Its programs connect volunteers to opportunities supporting 140-plus nonprofits, schools, and other civic organizations; help these partners reimagine volunteer potential; and bring awareness to the challenges facing the people and places in our community. For more information, visit HON.org or call (615) 298-1108.