Tag Archives: nashville volunteers

Survey shows volunteers want to help, but are concerned about exposure to COVID-19

In June, Hands On Nashville invited community members to take a survey gauging their thoughts and attitudes toward volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hope was to get a clearer picture of how volunteers felt about weighing the risks of volunteering against the expanding needs in our community, so that we can work with our nonprofit partners to carve out safe and impactful ways volunteers can help Nashville get through this tough time.

Thank you to everyone who took the survey and shared their thoughts with us! 

The survey was completed by 223 individuals, the majority of whom identify as having volunteered through HON before.

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Respondents indicate an increased desire to volunteer in part because of events including the March 3 tornado. However, more than half of respondents also report worrying that volunteering will increase their risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Respondents also report that they don’t necessarily have more time to volunteer now than they did earlier in the year, before the tornado and pandemic hit. A solid majority indicated they would volunteer more once the pandemic was over.

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We asked respondents to evaluate a handful of volunteer scenarios and and gauge their comfort levels with each. Overall they reported greater comfort levels with outdoor projects and projects capped at 10 people. Their comfort levels fell the larger the project attendance grew. Respondents also report feeling much more comfortable volunteering at a project where all the other volunteers are known, as opposed to volunteering with a group of strangers. (To create a volunteer team that can sign up for projects together, click here.)

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We asked respondents to share any additional thoughts they had on volunteering during the pandemic, and several respondents replied that they are in a high-risk category — either through their age, their baseline health status, or both — and do not feel comfortable volunteering. A good portion of Nashville’s volunteer base is retirement age, so we anticipate this consideration is having a substantial impact on the number of overall volunteers serving at this time. Some respondents also replied that they are a caretaker for someone in a high-risk category, and do not want to expose themselves for fear of transmitting the virus to the high-risk person in their care.

Several respondents also commented about how they would prefer to volunteer remotely — from home or delivering things in their car — during this time. (To see a roundup of virtual volunteer projects, click here.)

Some other comments:

I’m more than willing to volunteer as long as I am protected and those around me are as well. If proper guidelines are being followed and there aren’t a mass of people on top of each other, I would also feel comfortable.

I would absolutely love to help, but until the pandemic is over, I am extremely uncomfortable participating in any volunteering event where I’d be in close proximity to anyone else, especially if they aren’t required to wear a mask at all times.

I, like many, am unsure of what to do. Really want to volunteer, but unsure if bringing myself into a scenario will put others at risk. Also, unsure if I will need to limit my exposure to my workplace or to family, etc. as a result.

There is no question that fear of COVID-19 is limiting my willingness to volunteer these days though I have made some food deliveries and done a few solo clean-up projects.

I am reluctant to be around individuals I do not know. I am learning more and more that many people are being quite cavalier about their exposure to COVID-19.

I have less time with kids home and a son with a mild heart condition. So, I can possibly do things out of my house or where I can run around in my car (with some of my kids possibly). My kids would like to help as well, just worry about Covid right now.

Show Of Hands Week Day 2: Help us fill 100% of volunteer projects this month

Between May 1-7, Hands On Nashville will highlight ways to stay connected and serve your neighbors even as our community honors social distancing guidelines. Check back here and on our social media channels to join in our #ShowOfHandsWeek

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the Nashville flood. We had hoped to commemorate this important milestone with Hands On Nashville Day, a day for thousands of volunteers across the city to come together to work on projects that addressed disaster preparedness and ongoing community needs, many of which had been born out of those tumultuous waters.

Then the tornado hit.

Then COVID-19.

So today, even though we can’t gather for HON Day as we had hoped, there are still thousands of volunteers needed right now to meet urgent needs in our city. Will you lend your helping hands to fill every volunteer spot during the month of May?  

It is through serving others that we as a community can heal from profound disasters — be it the disaster of 10 years ago, two months ago, or the kind that’s affecting many of us every day in our current situation. While circumstances are undeniably difficult, we know it’s more important than ever to do whatever we can to help our neighbors. Many of our neighbors need so much.

TODAY’S ACTIVITIES (MAY 2): Sign Up and Serve

The countdown starts now: Help us fill every available volunteer opportunity for the month of May today.

☞ ☞ ☞Click here to see a roundup this month’s volunteer opportunities on hon.org.   

Curious about volunteering in light of Nashville’s Safer At Home order? Volunteer Tennessee has put together some helpful guidelines here, and HON is working with our partners to ensure that volunteer projects meet public health and safety requirements.

#ShowOfHandsWeek Activities

Join the #ShowOfHandsWeek conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

FRIDAY, MAY 1: Raise your hand and tell us why you choose to be a helper

TODAY: Sign up to serve as a volunteer in May

SUNDAY, MAY 3: Bring color and hope to a neighbor with flowers

MONDAY, MAY 4: Join the local mask-making effort

TUESDAY, MAY 5: Give thanks for those on the front lines

WEDNESDAY, MAY 6: Find a virtual volunteer opportunity

THURSDAY, MAY 7: Support volunteerism and Hands On Nashville via The Big Payback

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’s 2019 Guide to Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

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Looking for ways to give back to the community this holiday season? We’ve got you covered. Check out the volunteer opportunities below, followed by a list of several of our partners’ holiday in-kind needs too! Thank you for your support of Middle Tennessee’s nonprofits.

To view even more volunteer opportunities, visit our calendar.

2019 Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

Be Santa’s little helper and an event guide
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
Minimum age: 16
When: Nov. 27 through Jan. 5

Celebrate the holiday season by serving at Cheekwood’s magical Holiday Lights event. The gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland designed to create an unforgettable, immersive, and engaging experience that has become a favorite Nashville holiday tradition. Volunteers help as event guides, Santa’s helper, art activity host, and more. Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, bottled water, and hand warmers are provided.

Wrap Christmas presents at Parnassus Books
Book’em
Minimum age: 18
When: Nov. 29 through Dec. 23

Each holiday season, Book’em partners with Parnassus Books to provide gift wrappers in the store. Book’em volunteers wrap customers’ books for free, and tips are accepted for their service, with all proceeds benefitting Book’em and their mission to bring kids and books together.

Warm up your vocal cords and carol for a cause with Fannie Battle
Fannie Battle Day Home for Children
Minimum age: 18, or 12 months and older with an adult
When: Dec. 1 through Dec. 24

Caroling for Kids is a creative and fun way to raise money and awareness for Fannie Battle. Volunteers can participate in traditional caroling, or through the new initiative, digital caroling, where volunteers can raise money online through JustGiving’s platform. These events make a huge impact in helping Fannie Battle continue to provide high-quality, affordable childcare, as well as programs dedicated to empowering families.

Support veterans by volunteering at the Building Lives Christmas Sale
Building Lives
Minimum age: 18, or 16 with an adult
When: Dec. 3 through Dec. 7

During the Building Lives Christmas Sale, shelves are stocked with toys for sale, and smiling faces are needed to help run the sale. Volunteer duties include operating a cash register, bagging and counting purchases, helping load purchases into customers’ vehicles, and keeping products stocked and orderly. All net proceeds go directly to the veterans served by Building Lives.

Direct and cheer runners at Rudolph’s Red Nose Run
Needlink Nashville
Minimum age: 18, or 16 with an adult
When: Saturday, Dec. 7

Cheer runners, help at water stations and snack tables, and generally make festive fun for runners and walkers. Volunteers will be encouraged to take photos of participants as they pass by. This event is rain or shine, so volunteers are encouraged to wear their warm, merry best in the spirit of holiday fun, and stay after the race for the Nashville Christmas Parade. NeedLink Nashville provides basic needs to people in times of crisis by providing short-term assistance and links to other resources.

Offer encouragement and event support at the Jingle Bell Run
Arthritis Foundation, Southeast Region, Tennessee
Minimum age: 13, or 8 with an adult
When: Saturday, Dec. 7

Before the Arthritis Foundation’s signature race, help organizers set up, register runners, and, afterward, assist with cleanup. The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run is a festive race for charity where participants can strut their stuff in their favorite holiday costume and feel good about doing good.

Act as an Angel Tree liaison at local malls with the Salvation Army
Salvation Army
Minimum age: 15, certain opportunities 12 with an adult
When: Ongoing though Dec. 20

Give out and document Angels and who they are assigned to, process gifts as donors return their gift bags filled with presents, and locate and distribute gifts to Angel Tree families before the holidays begin. The Salvation Army has opportunities to serve with the Angel Tree program at multiple locations this holiday season, with flexible hours available.

Deliver hot meals on Christmas Day
Nashville CARES
Minimum age: 18
When: Wednesday, Dec. 25

Spend two hours of Christmas Day delivering meals to those who need them. Delivery drivers will be picking up routes and hot meals to deliver to client homes all in a similar area. Nashville CARES is the premier caregiver in the region for treating clients living with, or at risk for, HIV/AIDS.

Be a Holiday Hero with Youth Villages
Youth Villages
Minimum age: 18, or 5 with an adult
When: Ongoing

Youth Villages has individually scheduled opportunities to spread holiday cheer through a gift drive, collecting donated presents, decorating porches for kids in foster care, stuffing holiday stockings, and more.

2019 Holiday In-Kind Needs

Many of Hands On Nashville’s Community Partners accept donated items. Here’s a holiday wishlist for several of our partners. To donate items, contact the agency directly and please let the agencies know that Hands On Nashville sent you.

American Red Cross
Contact:
Tonya Glasgow, Tonya.glasgow@redcross.org, 615-393-2500
Needs: Blank holiday cards and envelopes that deployed service members can send back home.
How to donate: Please send sets of blank cards/envelopes to:
American Red Cross
Tonya Glasgow
2201 Charlotte Ave., Nashville TN, 37203

Book’em
Contact:
Stacey Vanyo, stacey@bookem-kids.org, 615-255-1820
Website: bookem-kids.org/donate/
Needs: Book donations of new and like-new books through book drives or their charity list on Amazon.
How to donate: Please call 615-255-1820 to schedule a drop-off time. Donations can be brought to the office at 161 Rains Avenue, Nashville TN, 37203. Book’em is located inside the Nashville Public Television building.

FiftyForward
Contact:
Robin Johnson, rjohnson@fiftyforward.org, 615-743-3424
Needs: FiftyForward is looking for holiday gifts for older adults served by Supportive Care programs. Donors will be provided with an individualized wish list and asked to purchase items valued at approximately $100.

Additionally, FiftyForward appreciates:

• Commercially available, boxed snack cakes for distribution with Thanksgiving and Christmas day meal deliveries.

• Single-serve canned goods with pop-tops for seniors’ emergency food needs via the Fresh/Meals on Wheels program.

• Donations to fill the daily needs closet, which the organization uses to distribute items to low-income seniors it serves: Toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and basic toiletries.

How to donate: Please call or e-mail in advance to confirm quantities needed and to arrange for dropoff of items. Items may generally be delivered to the FiftyForward Patricia Hart Building at 174 Rains Ave., Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Heimerdinger Foundation
Contact: volunteer@hfmeals.org or (615) 730-5632
Needs: three vegetable peelers, two box graters, two zesters, two spiralizers, latex gloves of all sizes, gallon size ziplock bags, sharpies, colored pens, four full-size hotel pans, brazier with lid, stock pot with lid.
How to donate: Contact The Heimerdinger Foundation for more information.

Preston Taylor Ministries
Contact:
Bethany Jones, bethany@prestontaylorministries.org, 615-963-3996
Needs: Items ($5-10) to stock the stores for Wrapping Parties, including:

• Gifts for mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc.: jewelry, body sprays, lotions, soaps, hair accessories, frames, trinkets, holiday decorations, scarves, nail polish, candles, etc.

• Gifts for fathers, grandfathers, uncles, etc.: neckties, bowties, hats, baseball caps, sports paraphernalia (Titans, Predators, Grizzlies, Sounds), watches, wallets, cologne, tools, flash lights.

• Gifts for children: toys, baby toys, cars, action figures, baby dolls, stuffed animals, bouncy balls, party favors, bubbles, coloring books, sports equipment, games (traditional and electronic), puzzles, movies, etc.

• Additional ideas: books, coffee cups, mugs, gloves, mittens, beanies, sunglasses, socks, slippers, umbrellas.

How to donate: Please contact Bethany at bethany@prestontaylorministries.org before dropping off. Deliveries should be brought to 4014 Indiana Ave., Nashville TN, 37209.

Youth Villages
Contact:
Julie Abbott, julie.abbott@youthvillages.org, 615-250-7266
Needs: Holiday stockings filled with hygiene items; new toys, games, books, journals/pens for teens; nonperishable food and grocery gift cards for holiday food baskets.
How to donate: Please drop all items off by Dec. 6 at 3310 Perimeter Hill Dr., Nashville TN, 37211.

Nashville’s Fall 2019 College Service Fairs

It’s (almost) back-to-school time! College service fairs are a great chance for your nonprofit to connect with students and share your volunteer and intern opportunities. Please email the contact listed for each school in order to register your agency.  

August 14: Fisk Volunteer Fair
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Contact: Tashaye Woods (twoods@fisk.edu)

August 28: Vanderbilt Service Organization Fair
1-3 p.m.
Contact: Meagan Smith (meagan.smith@vanderbilt.edu)

August 28: Tigers Day Out at Tennessee State University
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Contact: Shirley Nix-Davis (snixdavi@tnstate.edu)

September 3: Trevecca Volunteer Fair
9:30-10:30 a.m.
Contact: Daniel Neiderhiser (dlneiderhiser@trevecca.edu)

September 4: Lipscomb Volunteer Fair
9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Contact: Christin Schatzer (Christin.shatzer@lipscomb.edu)

September 12: Nashville State Resource Awareness and Volunteer Day
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Contact: Evelyn Hadley (evelyn.hadley@nscc.edu)

September 30: Belmont Community Connections Fair
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Contact: Tim Stewart (tim.stewart@belmont.edu)

Does your Middle Tennessee college or university have a service fair you’d like us to include in this roundup? Let us know!

Announcing the 2019 Strobel Award finalists

Congratulations to the amazing volunteers nominated for the 2019 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards. Read on for a list of nominees. Finalist names are bold.

Save the date for the award ceremony: Join Hands On Nashville on Tuesday, April 30, to celebrate volunteerism in our community.

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.

  • Bruce Skidmore
  • Carol McCrary
  • Claressa Ham
  • Dr. Vincent Couden
  • Falon Ecker
  • Jan Routon
  • Janet Kuhn
  • John Algee
  • Joseph Nault
  • Kay Kretsch
  • Kristie Young
  • Laneisha Coburn
  • Laura Musgrave
  • Lily Hensiek
  • Lisa Booker
  • Mostly Tomatos
  • Rita Pirkl
  • Rose Pink
  • Sally Wright
  • Timothy and Riley Dilks

Civic Volunteer Group

Honors volunteer teams that unite in support of a specific issue or cause.

  • Academy for G.O.D.
  • Baila Studio Moms
  • Belmont University, College of Pharmacy
  • Cross Point Church
  • Episcopal School of Nashville
  • Friends of MACC
  • Joy in Learning
  • Musicians on Call
  • Rotary Club of Nashville
  • Shipwreck Cove Restaurant
  • St. Ann’s Church, Knights of Columbus Chapter
  • Team Emma
  • Tennessee School for the Blind
  • The Contributor, Inc., Volunteer Team
  • The General Sessions Music City Community Court
  • The Physical and Mental Health Committee, Minerva Foundation, Inc.
  • Top Ladies of Distinction, Nashville Capitol City Chapter
  • Women of Covenant Baptist Church

Corporate Volunteerism

Commends group or individual corporate volunteers who exhibit robust
commitments to service as part of their company’s community service program.

  • Apex Moving and Storage
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Bridgestone Americas
  • Change Healthcare
  • Cigna-HealthSpring
  • Covance Inc.
  • Crain Construction
  • Golden Rule Construction
  • Hawkins Partners, Inc.
  • LifePoint Health
  • Magpies
  • naviHealth
  • Postmates
  • Uncle Classic Barbershop

Direct Service

Applauds volunteers of all ages who participate in hands-on, direct service with a nonprofit agency, faith-based ministry, or community organization.

Ages 5 to 20

  • Anne Slosky
  • Davis Blankenship
  • Ella Delevante
  • Joe Stevens
  • Katie Schmidt
  • Madison Everett
  • Melissa Farrow
  • Nashville Youth For Christ
  • Prim Wiphatphumiprates
  • Raul Solis
  • Saiche Stefanski
  • Sarah Matthews
  • Shannon Flahaven
  • Stephanie McDaniel
  • Sydnee Floyd

Ages 21 to 49

  • Amanda Castle
  • Ashley Leaphart
  • Caitlin Thorsen
  • Corrie Anderson
  • Dawn Warner
  • Emi Canahuati
  • Estella Pan
  • Gina Strickland
  • Henry Rothenberg
  • Jeni Bradley
  • Jennifer Morrison
  • Josh Renner
  • Jurrell Casey
  • Laneisha Coburn
  • Linda Copeland
  • Lindsay Bryant
  • Lindsay Voigt
  • Marc Pearson
  • Meredith Beck
  • Neal Carpenter
  • Shaunte Dozier
  • Talisha Birdsong
  • Tiffany Hodge

Ages 50+

  • Andy Albright
  • Ann Strebler
  • Becky Waldrop
  • Bernice Karnett
  • Beverly Waldrep
  • Charles Black
  • Donice Kaufman Stewart
  • Eileen Wollam
  • Ethel Hollis
  • Frances Casey
  • Gwen Neal
  • Heidi Garber
  • Janelle Wilson
  • Jo Ann Hendrix
  • Joe Manners
  • John Baroni
  • John Bull
  • Judy Bayer
  • Karen Connolly
  • Karen Lyons
  • Kate Ezell
  • Keith Loftis
  • Kim France
  • Marilyn Bagford
  • Mark Patterson
  • Marva Southall
  • Mary Lee Thompson
  • Michael Gray
  • Monty Thomas
  • Pat McDonald
  • Rich Moore
  • Robert Ramsey
  • Susan Gardner
  • Tony Washington
  • Trish McGarty
  • Wanda Smith

 

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Resolve to Serve Stories: Senior Ride Nashville

A couple of times a week, Sara Stewart drives to the home of an elderly man named Richard. She helps him into the car, then takes him to doctors’ appointments or to the grocery store. Also on their list of stops: Coffee.

“There for a while we were trying to figure out what the best coffee was. He’s decided it’s McDonald’s,” Stewart says with a laugh.

Stewart, a volunteer for Senior Ride Nashville, says that what started out as a four-hour-a-month commitment has, over 120 trips, turned into a friendship. Volunteers for SRN use an online portal to select rides that work with their schedule, location, or interest.

“It’s become such an experience for both of us,” she says. Stewart supports Richard in ways big and small — from helping him with his grocery list to reaching out to his city council member to advocate for improved sidewalks near his home.

“I’m always there for Richard, no matter what he needs,” Stewart says.

That doesn’t surprise Carrie Brumfield, SRN’s executive director.

“We often hear the phrase, ‘It’s more than just a ride’ from our volunteer drivers,” she says.

Brumfield says reduced mobility can put a person at higher risk of poor health, isolation, loneliness, and depression, and that Nashville’s lack of public transportation options means many seniors may experience reduced life expectancy as a result.

Stewart, who’s been driving for the organization since its inception, says that she initially was drawn to act when she realized how isolating it would be to not have access to transportation. She said once it dawned on her that she might someday be in that same situation, she knew she had to do something.

“Pay it forward,” Stewart says. “It’s not even really a payment, because you get it back immediately.”

To find out more about volunteering as a driver, or to learn about other ways to help Senior Ride Nashville, click here.

Photos provided by Senior Ride Nashville

The geeks have landed!

GeekCause, which matches Nashville’s most talented techies with community partners in need of their services, has a new home at Hands On Nashville! GeekCause provides a low-cost platform for agencies to solve tech-based challenges through the support of skilled volunteers. 

Monica Weiss-Sharp, HON’s GeekCause project manager, took some time to answer questions about the program.  

What’s your background and how did you get involved in GeekCause? 

monica mugFor the past five years, I was the Practice Manager at a veterinary hospital in Franklin. I oversaw all areas of daily functioning (patient care, customer service, staff support), and helped guide the practice through tremendous growth, from two to six full-time veterinarians. At the practice, I had the opportunity to learn about and troubleshoot all sorts of tech solutions, from digital X-ray systems to practice-management software.

For four of my five years at the veterinary practice, I was also pursuing a master’s in social work with a focus on Organizational Leadership. During the final year of my degree program, I had the opportunity to intern with Hands On Nashville. I worked on many different projects, including some initial research and planning around how to bolster skills-based volunteerism.

My strengths definitely lie in the realm of guiding ideas toward becoming a concrete realities, and I’m looking forward to applying those strengths to support the successful completion of GeekCause projects. 

How does GeekCause work? 

GeekCause connects talented tech volunteers with nonprofits who need their support. Then I serve as a guide for both throughout the process. It is super easy both for volunteers to sign up and complete their skills profile and for nonprofit organizations to submit projects to us. From there, I review the project to make sure it’s a good fit for a volunteer to work on, and make a match with a volunteer whose skills line up with the project’s needs. I remain connected with the project from kickoff to close-out to help ensure success. In the end, the nonprofit gains a new capability and the volunteer has the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped strengthen their community.

Continue reading The geeks have landed!