Hands On Nashville Coordinates 800+ Volunteers at Four Community Centers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An estimated 800+ volunteers celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by participating in Hands On Nashville’s MLK Days of Service: Protecting & Serving Our Neighbors. During this two-day event, volunteers completed large-scale painting and facility improvement projects at four Metro Parks and Recreation community centers: Cleveland, Coleman Park, Hadley Park, and Looby.
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.
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.
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.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is quickly approaching on January 21. In anticipation of this great day, the HON VolunTEEN Program will have a MLK trivia challenge leading up to January 21. Participate in this challenge and you will have an opportunity to win some cool Hands On Nashville t-shirts and water bottles. Here’s how it will work:
1. Questions. Starting Monday, Jan. 7 (today!!), the VolunTEEN Facebook page will post trivia questions about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 3 p.m. each weekday through Jan. 18. The questions will be about the life and work of Dr. King.
2. Answer. If you are the first person to give the correct answer to the trivia question, your name will be entered into the drawing.
3. Win. The winner of the drawing will be announced on Friday, January 18th.
Today, the Nashville Fire Department held their annual Commendation Ceremony. At the event, Mayor Karl Dean and Interim Director Billy Lynch recognized 77 organizations, citizens, fire fighters, fire officers, and paramedics for their everyday service that betters our neighborhoods.
Hands On Nashville and its Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service volunteers were among those who were recognized with an “Organization Appreciation Award.” Between January 14 and 16, 2012, more than 750 volunteers completed 28 painting projects held in 12 fire stations across the city. As part of these projects, volunteers directly interacted with Nashville Fire Department staff, receiving fire safety instructions and witnessing firsthand the remarkable work fire fighters, fire officers, and paramedics do to protect and serve our community every day.
Hands On Nashville volunteers often state that by serving, “they get more than they give.” That sentiment was repetitively echoed in MLK Day volunteers’ testimonials, including this one:
“I enjoyed being there, meeting new people, and getting to be a part of something important. I feel like the firemen appreciated it [our painting]. Being able to give back to them with my service is the closest way that I can say ‘thank you’ for what they do.”
‘Thank you’ to the Nashville Fire Department for opening its doors to Hands On Nashville volunteers and to the event’s presenting sponsor, Jackson. We appreciated the opportunities to apply fresh coats of Glidden Professional Paint in 12 deserving fire stations and to show our community’s appreciation for your life- and property-saving work. You are our heroes.
In closing, please know how honored Hands On Nashville and its volunteers are to receive a Nashville Fire Department “Organization Appreciation Award.” We’re humbled to be among this grouping of 77 remarkable award recipients – many of whom put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve Nashville.
Let’s face it, life gets busy. For Mario LaGrone though, that’s no excuse. Preparing for medical school, working, and raising a daughter keep his schedule jam-packed, but he still manages to find time to give back to our community and make good friends while he’s at it. This Hands On Nashville Volunteer Leader of three years consistently inspires others with his upbeat attitude and spunky spirit.
The best part about Mario is his passion to assist those in need. It’s hard to be around him and not feel inspired by his positive energy. Last month during MLK Day weekend, Mario served as Volunteer Leader for a painting project at the Haywood Lane fire station. When his group of volunteers finished their assigned work early, he was surprised when they didn’t jump on the opportunity to leave and go enjoy the beautiful day. In unity, the group told him, “we will leave when you leave.” Mario says, “I could not believe… a group of volunteers I’d only known for two hours felt so committed to me, Hands On Nashville, and the project.” This group wanted to make a difference and they stayed the entire shift to complete other improvement work. “This was one of my proudest moments,” Mario says. “I had the best team of volunteers and, more importantly, friends.”
Mario has always been interested in being a part of the community, but he never anticipated having so many new relationships in his life. “When I volunteer, I feel that I am helping out my own family. … I am able to interact and meet and thank each one of my volunteers,” he says. And, he gets to do what he loves to do: “share many smiles along the way.” Mario encourages anyone who is looking to give back to “get up and get involved in helping your community. There is always a need for great volunteers who want to make a difference.”
Mario LaGrone is a special events Volunteer Leader for HON, and has led Hands On Nashville Day and MLK Day teams in a variety of service projects over the years. Watch out, though! Word on the street is that Mario will soon be making more frequent appearances as a Volunteer Leader for regular Opportunity Calendar projects.