Tag Archives: Metro Nashville Public Schools

Nashville youth conduct coat drive to help homeless community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interested in donating a coat?

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

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

Media contact:
Becca Wilson
(615) 426-1428



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.

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.)

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.


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.

You (yes, you) Will Make HON Day 2013 Happen. Here’s How to Get Started.

Hands On Nashville Day volunteers have the most fun :)
HON Day volunteers have the most fun!

YOU ROCK! Thank you for choosing to get involved in Hands On Nashville Day 2013, our city’s biggest day of volunteerism that benefits Metro Schools. To sign up as an individual, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps, all outlined below. If you’d rather sign up a team, read about how to do that here. If someone is going to invite you to be a part of their team, you will receive email instructions telling you what to do.

1. Create an account / Log in to your account.
> Click here to create your HON.org account.
(If you already have a HON.org account, simply log in using the green ‘login’ button in the upper right corner of the site and go to step #2.

2. Browse schools and SIGN UP!
> Click here to get started. From this page, you can browse school sites on the Google map:

Once you find the school you want and click SIGN UP, you will receive an email confirmation with additional details about exactly where to go on Sept. 21, etc.

3. Donate at least $25 to Hands On Nashville, and receive an AWESOME thank-you gift: a limited edition Hatch Show Print event t-shirt.
> Make your gift here. This event is also Hands On Nashville’s biggest fundraiser of the year. During registration, all participants will be asked to make a $25 donation to support Hands On Nashville’s work to connect volunteers to community needs. All who make a minimum $25 donation will receive a special thank-you gift: a limited edition Hatch Show Print event t-shirt. Hands On Nashville leverages every $1 donation from this event into $5 of volunteers service that meets critical community needs. Donations are encouraged, but not required. Regardless of ability to donate, we encourage everyone to participate in Hands On Nashville Day!

4. Tell your friends.
Please spread the word about this awesome, uplifting community event! Whether your preferred mode of communication is Facebook, Twitter, email, or carrier pigeon, you can inspire others to Be the Change. (Please be sure to tag us — www.facebook.com/HONashville@HONashville — and use #HONDay13 as the Twitter hashtag).

Check out our HON Day FAQs, email us at honday@hon.org, call us at (615) 298-1108, or visit our HON Day webpage.

We can’t wait to serve with you on September 21!

“To change one’s life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.”
– William James

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.

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!

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.

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


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.

Nonprofit Partner Spotlight: LP Pencil Box

LPPBlogoBefore you know it, school bells will be ringing throughout Middle Tennessee and students will return to the classroom for another school year. But what happens when some of those students and their teachers lack needed supplies like pens, notebooks, and backpacks?

Enter LP Pencil Box, our featured nonprofit partner that addresses these challenges one classroom at a time.

Volunteers sort and organize donated school supplies.

Founded in 2005, LP Pencil Box (LPPB) is a collaboration of the Nashville business community, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and the LP Foundation, which is the charitable arm of LP Building Products.

The group collects new and gently-used educational, art, and office supplies and makes them available at no cost to educators. Teachers can ‘shop’ for supplies twice each school year at LP Pencil Box, which is located in the McCann Alternative Center in West Nashville. They bring back to their classrooms materials valued at up to $250 per visit to help ensure that their students have all the tools they need to succeed.

LPPB serves more than 2,200 local teachers annually and processes an enormous volume of donated items, ranging from arts and crafts materials to magazines and classroom furniture. With so many teachers to serve, there are some fantastic volunteer opportunities available for individuals.

A local teacher shops at LP Pencil Box.

Volunteers play an important role in making sure things run smoothly at the LP Pencil Box store, and they can serve in a number of capacities. Greeters and check-out assistants guide teachers through the shopping process, helping them find what they need. Stock clerks and inventory assistants aid in sorting, organizing, and stocking all of the supplies that are donated. There are also administrative volunteer opportunities in data entry, marketing, and development too.

With the 2013-2014 school year right around the corner, LP Pencil Box will be buzzing in the coming weeks and months. Here are just a few of their upcoming volunteer opportunities:

July 22-24: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
July 25: 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesdays/Thursdays throughout August and September: 3 to 6 p.m.
Saturdays throughout August and September: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 12 to 3:30 p.m.

>Sign up to volunteer with LP Pencil Box!

Keeping the shelves stocked is an important volunteer job at LP Pencil Box.

Make sure to check out the LP Pencil Box website to learn more about this great organization.

For more information about volunteering with LPPB, you can also contact Kimberly Washington, Program Manager at kwashington@pencilfd.org or 615-974-0438.

Notes from the Farm: Welcoming fall, swings, & students

By Josh Corlew, HON Urban Agriculture Program Manager –

It was an amazing first summer at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm! We harvested 600+ pounds of vegetables and had more than 2,000 volunteers pitch in to transform these five empty lots of flood plain into food producing space where much learning,discovery, and outdoor fun has taken place.

The Farm during peak summer harvest.

Thank you to everyone who has given their time, energy, support, and enthusiasm to make this a successful first year for the Farm! Your volunteerism makes it possible for us to grow healthy food that is donated to nonprofits that serve families in need.

But summer is over, and fall is in the air (and the ground as well). The summer crops of squash, cucumbers, beans, corn, and watermelon are gone. The tomatoes and peppers are nearing the end of their productivity. Our newly leafed out trees are beginning their hibernation process.

Fall, however, brings its own excitement. The change of the weather is invigorating, both to our volunteers who are eager to get warmed up by getting to work, as well as some of our fall crops. We have lots of herbs and flowers that are loving the cooler weather, and our kale has been pruned back and is really enjoying the reprieve from pesky bugs that this time of year brings.

Spinach seedlings pop their heads out of the soil.

We’ve also recently planted quite a bit of spinach and lettuce in some of the garden rows where squash, corn, and beans used to thrive. Now they’re just starting to pop up and leaf out. If all goes well, we’ll be in for a lot of spinach through the winter. We’ve also begun work on the new garden plot, preparing it for a very productive spring by starting some cover crops (these will fill the soil with beneficial nutrients). Next spring we plan on doubling the amount of growing space that we had this year.

Kids from Head Middle Magnet and West End Middle spent part of their fall intercession time at the Farm on Monday.

Fall also means school is back in session. This week we’ve had some great groups of Metro Nashville Public Schools students who volunteered at the Farm as part of their fall intercession and our Hands On Fall Break volunteer opportunities with the HON VolunTEEN Program. In addition to helping turn compost and harvest vegetables, the kids learned how compost works (it gets up to 160 degrees!), why drinks full of sugar aren’t good for our bodies, and how to choose healthier alternatives. A seventh grader named Ricky said he wished he could come to the Farm every day… maybe we have a future farmer in our midst!

VolunTEEN volunteers harvested all these sweet potatoes today!!
We got this awesome thank-you card from the West End Middle students!

If you’ve been by the Farm in a few weeks, you probably noticed our amazing new swings. We were very fortunate to have employees from Molex volunteered last month to make the swings and create some new compost bins. Their enthusiastic volunteerism will help make the farm more productive and enjoyable. The swings are made from beautiful cedar wood, and next spring we’ll have food vines growing up the trellised sides, adding to the food grown at the Farm. We have great hopes for those swings being covered in grapes, muscadines, kiwis, blackberries, raspberries, and all manner of other tasty treats.

Also, we were honored to be featured in Nashville Public Television’s Volunteer Gardener show, which aired this week. Check it out below!

I hope you’ll come down and enjoy the space sometime soon, and if you’d like to volunteer with us this fall, check out our volunteer opportunities here!

Josh 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.

Volunteer Spotlight: Stephen McClure

Stephen McClure is one of the dedicated community volunteers who works behind the scenes to make Hands On Nashville Day happen.

Marketing manager at HealthStream, Stephen says of his first HON Day, “The spirit of enthusiasm and service was infectious.”

“[Hands On Nashville Day] was one of my first volunteering experiences in Nashville, and it really inspired me to get involved in the community,” Stephen remembers.

This Tullahoma, Tenn., native has served on the Hands On Nashville Day planning committee since 2006, when he focused on recruiting new team leaders for the event. This year, he’s reaching out to schools about whether they’re interested in having projects. “It’s great to talk to principals about how important HON Day is to their schools. I really get a sense that they appreciate the value of volunteer hours in improving their schools.”

Stephen and the rest of the 15-member HON Day planning committee are passionate about making Hands On Nashville Day a success, because they see it as more than just a service event.

Stephen, pictured here in the back row, with a great crew of HON Day volunteers in 2008. Marketing manager at HealthStream, Stephen says of his first HON Day experience, “The spirit of enthusiasm and service was infectious.”

“Hands On Nashville Day opens a door for many people,” Stephen says. “It helps them get in touch with the emotional value of volunteering, and especially shows just how easy HON makes it to get involved. When my friends and colleagues tell me that they’ve begun volunteering on their own as a result of their initial HON Day experience, I really feel like I have helped something important happen.”

Will Stephen have a team for Hands On Nashville Day this year? “Definitely. I’m combining my personal team with a group from HealthStream.”

> Read more about Hands On Nashville Day, including how you can join Stephen and other volunteers in an uplifting morning of service to help Nashville schools.

Hands On Nashville Day is truly a grassroots effort, powered by many passionate community members and organizations. THANK YOU to Stephen and the entire 2012 Hands On Nashville Day planning committee for your enthusiastic spirits and your support of Middle Tennessee’s volunteer community. You all are amazing!

Shelley Madison and Leanna Pelham

Hands On Nashville Day 2012 is set to be the biggest yet! We hope you can join us. Registration opens Tues., Sept. 4 at HON.org.

Brittany Smart
Tiffany Day
Megan Roller
Natasha Powell
Drew Brooks
Alix Brody-White
Kiara Henry
Tony Garcia
Stephen McClure
Tanisha Hall
Amy Crownover
Kristen Kilpatrick
Jennifer Renshaw