Tag Archives: Skilled volunteerism

NIC Inc. specialists assist Alive Hospice in increasing capacity for health care students

GeekCause matches Nashville’s most talented techies with community partners in need of their services. From tech consultation to solution implementation, GeekCause provides a low-cost platform for agencies to solve tech-based challenges through the support of skilled volunteers. The HON team periodically shares GeekCause project highlights to help show how skilled volunteers are having an impact in the community. 

Alive Hospice is a Middle Tennessee-based nonprofit that provides compassionate end-of-life care, palliative care, bereavement support, and community education. Each year, they engage hundreds of college students studying healthcare to help them learn about end-of-life care and gain real-life work experience.  

Prior to this year, members of the Alive team manually scheduled and tracked students’ progress within their Institute, and spent weeks compiling student data at the end of each semester. 

But they knew there had to be a better way. So they reached out to GeekCause to see if  skilled volunteers could help them find a solution. 

GeekCause paired Alive with volunteers from NIC Inc., the nation’s largest provider of government websites and digital services. NIC volunteers brought expansive knowledge of data storage and management solutions to the table — a great fit for Alive’s needs.  

The team of volunteers worked with the hospice provider to envision a solution for registering students and creating an all-in-one platform for them to enroll and assist with a variety of roles within the company. 

The registration portal feeds into a database that stores students’ data, allowing them to sign agreement forms virtually, sign up for shifts, and log other relevant information in the database. Volunteers were able to build a cloud-based storage system, which Alive can maintain for a low monthly fee. 

“With our complex needs, they were able to deliver an automated student onboarding platform that we’ll start using for fall registrations,” says Debbra Warden, Director of Contracting, Quality and Data Analytics at Alive Hospice. “The GeekCause team was wonderful to work with and accommodated our multiple requests for changes while we worked through our needs. They did everything with a smile every single time.” 

Deb Kilpatrick, a Project Manager with NIC Inc., led the volunteer team through the project. She and her team are proud of what they have been able to accomplish despite this year’s challenging circumstances.  

“We’re really just grateful the MSP (Microservice Platform) team had the opportunity to give back to our community,” Kilpatrick says. “Alive Hospice does so much to support those in unimaginable situations, and they handle themselves with such care and grace. We sincerely hope the effort our team has provided is a benefit and helps to simplify scheduling student experiences so they can focus on what they do best.” 

By tracking students’ progress through the Alive Institute, Alive staff will be able to more easily give educated, informative feedback to students’ professors, and use their data to apply for future funding opportunities. 

More about the Alive Hospice Institute 

Currently, Alive Hospice offers observational experiences for students enrolled in professional health care programs at Belmont University, Lipscomb University, Meharry Medical College, Middle Tennessee State University, Motlow Community College, Vanderbilt University, and University of Tennessee. 

While working with the Institute, students are under the direct supervision of a health care professional at Alive Hospice. This provides students the opportunity to begin understanding how Alive provides care to those with life-threatening illnesses, supporting patients’ families, and how Alive Hospice provides service to the community in a spirit of enriching lives. 

Did you know? Skilled tech volunteers have contributed 1,368 hours of service so far this year and provided the equivalent of $144,000 in services and support to our community partners! 🤯🤯🤯 

Could your nonprofit use some tech help? Does your tech-savvy work team want to give back to the community? Learn more about GeekCause here. 

Disaster Relief Efforts: Resources

Thank you, everyone, for your support and willingness to volunteer following the devastating tornadoes that moved through Nashville on March 3. This post contains information on resources for those in need of help. If you are looking to offer assistance, please click here. Due to information rapidly changing, it is encouraged to reach out to these resources directly to verify information. 

General Disaster Relief Information and Resources

  • If you were affected by the Middle Tennessee tornado and
    still need assistance, call the Tornado Recovery Connection at 
    (615) 270-9255.
  • The City of Nashville releases daily information about the COVID-19 disaster response. For information about state unemployment, CDC guidance, FEMA COVID-19 rumor control, the Federal Trade Commission scams resource website, or applying for a small business administration loan, click here.
  • If you need information or assistance with tornado relief, Metro Social Services can be reached at (615) 862-6432 for services over the phone.
  • The Metro Nashville Office of Emergency Management is also a resource for those affected by the tornado. Their office is located at 2060 15th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212. Contact information is (615) 862-8540 or piodesk@nashville.gov
  • United Way of Greater Nashville offers an inclusive resources service, where those affected can call 2-1-1 for its referral helpline, which can provide up-to-date information on emergency shelters, food pantries and related services. For information, visit unitedwaynashville.org/programs/2-1-1.

Item Distribution Centers

  • Martha O’Bryan Center, 711 S. 7th St., Nashville, TN 37206, is offering food distribution from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Meals to children 18 and younger will be provided from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday at KIPP Kirkpatrick Elementary, 1000 Sevier St, Nashville, TN 37206. For financial assistance, call (615) 254-1791.
  • Project Connect will host a distribution center and serve hot meals from 1 to 3 p.m. daily at 1811 Knowles St., Nashville, TN 37208.
  • Schrader Lane Church of Christ, 1234 Schrader Lane, Nashville, TN 37208, is open to donate food. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Food Banks and Distribution

  • The Nashville Food Project is working with its partners to create “grab and go” style meals. They will be serving meals door-to-door with Gideon’s Army at the Cumberland View Apartments, Cheatham Place, and Andrew Jackson Apartment properties each weekend until April 5. If you know of a shelter or community hub in need of food support, let them know.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank provides food to those who need it. Using our FIND FOOD tool, you can find the nearest food distribution to you. Click here: secondharvestmidtn.org/GET-HELP.
  • The Little Pantry That Could, 2011 24th Ave N., Nashville, TN 37208, offers meals to anyone in need, no questions asked from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. For information, visit thelittlepantrythatcould.org.
  • Metro Nashville Public Schools will be offering free student meals along with food boxes provided by Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee at sites identified throughout Davidson County. For locations, click here.
  • The Nashville Rescue Mission is offering meals across the city daily. For information, click here.

Financial Assistance and Tax Information

  • The American Red Cross has extended the deadline to April 7 to offer financial assistance for people whose homes were destroyed or had major damage due to the March 3 tornado. An application process is available over the phone from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. To apply, call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-27677) and press prompt 4.
  • Beyarata Mobile Disaster Tax Services is offering federal disaster claims for unreimbursed casualty losses. Staff can assist those with an annual income of $65,000 or less, they will determine if victims qualify and file federal disaster claims for free. The deadline to file on current year tax return is July 15, 2020. For more information, call (901) 215-6005.
  • The Boomer Esiason Foundation created a fund that directly assists those families in the cystic fibrosis community affected. To apply for funding through the Cystic Fibrosis Patient Disaster Relief Program, click here.
  • The Donelson Fellowship has set up a disaster relief fund, and its pastor has encouraged people personally affected by the storm to contact office@donelson.org.
  • From Your Father, a local nonprofit, focuses on the social determinants of health. Resources can be supplied to single mothers to provide economic stability, education, health and health care, social and community context, and home-purchasing resources. For information, fromyourfather.org.
  • MusiCares, an organization offering music-industry specific financial assistance, is aiding people in all facets of the music industry with financial support. This includes artists, songwriters, publishers, engineers, tour bus drivers, concert production crew, stagehands, studio musicians, music venue employees and more, nationwide. Those in need do NOT need to be a member to get help. Please reach out to the local office for help applying for financial assistance related to the tornado, gig/tour cancellations, health challenges and other life events. For more information, call (800) 687-4227 or visit musicares.org.
  • The Tennessee Action for Hospitality has begun “A Fund for Us,” to supportindividual hospitality professionals who plan to continue their career in Tennessee. To see application criteria and apply, click here.
  • Tennessee Department of Human Services Emergency Pandemic TANF – Emergency cash assistance program for those impacted by COVID-19. Emergency Pandemic TANF will utilize existing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. TDHS encourages Tennesseans in need to apply online when the application becomes available in order to encourage social distancing. To create an account, click here.

Government Assistance

  • The Tennessee Department of Human Services will be providing its COVID-19 Essential Employee Child Care Payment Assistance program until June 15. It is designed to help support essential workers so they can stay on the job during the state of emergency. Those interested can apply here. After an essential employee is approved for the program, the state will arrange to pay for child care at a TDHS licensed program,  YMCA, or a Boys & Girls Club where the child is currently served.
  • Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (TDOSHS) Driver Services division has waived in-person photo requirements and extended license expiration dates due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information, click here.
  • For those concerned about scams following the March 3 tornado: The Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs can be reached at (615) 741-4737 or online.

Health and Wellness

  • COVID-19
    • HON has compiled information about volunteering amid COVID-19/Coronavirus concerns here.
    • Individuals who are ill and would like to learn more about COVID-19 tests can do so here.
    • To combat the spread of COVID-19, the Metro Public Health Department has issued a Safer at Home Order directing all residents of Nashville and Davidson County to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.” Read more here.
  • Medical Care
    • Dr. Jeffery Sonsino with Optique Nashville is offering free eye care treatment to those injured. Services offered from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday at 2817 West End Avenue Suite #117, Nashville, TN 37203. Call 615-321-4393 for more information.
    • Asbestos & Natural Disasters Guide to cleaning up after a tornado from the Mesothelioma Center.
  • Mental Health
    • The Tennessee Recovery Project is offering supportive resources for those affected by the tornado, with an emphasis on emotional well-being. For assistance, call (615) 460-4004.
    • Trauma specialist Shaine Malek, a Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider, is offering Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy for those impacted to help them navigate emotion following the natural disaster. For information, call (615) 474-9012 or email malek.lpcmhsp@gmail.com.
    • Alive Hospice is offering free counseling and grief support for anyone affected by the tornado. Treatment is available for all ages. Please call (615) 963-4732.
    • Daystar Counseling Ministries is offering support for high school kids needing a safe place to process; free to families impacted by the storm. For information, call (615) 298-5353.
    • Disaster Distress Helpline is a national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. For information, call (1-800) 985-5990.
    • Nashville CARES is offering pro bono, brief intervention for anyone directly affected by the storms; treatment approaches to include brainspotting and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. Business hours are from 8 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For information, (615) 921-0284.
    • Nashville 2020 Tornado Crisis Support is offering pro bono therapy provided by mostly private practice therapists. Click this link to choose a therapist of your choice and see open appointment times.
    • Safe Haven Trauma Services is offering pro bono crisis response; support groups for children and adults; with limited spots available for individual therapy. For information, (615) 241-6130.
    • Onsite Foundation is offering pro bono crisis support and grief counseling services for anyone affected. For information, call (615) 323-3191.
    • Metro Nashville’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Services include a crisis support center and mobile unit. For more information, click here.
    • National Alliance on Mental Illness of Middle Tennessee.
    • YWCA Nashville’s Domestic Violence Crisis and Support text line (available 24/7): 615-983-5170.

Insurance and FEMA claims

  • If you have not registered with FEMA for tornado damage from the March 3 tornado, a 60 day extension is being offered after May 4 to those who are interested in applying late. Reasoning will need to be provided for why you need the extension. Call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.

  • Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance mobile claims units with insurance carriers will be available at the Nashville Centennial Sportsplex, Lebanon: Wilson County EMA, and Putnam County 911 Center.
  • If your home or property was affected by the storms and you live in Davidson, Putnam, and Wilson counties, you can register with FEMA the following ways:
    1. Apply online.
    2. Call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service, call 1-800-621-3362.

Nonprofit and Small Business Resources:

  • Gabbyville Virtual Receptionist Services is a local business founded by Nisha Goyal-Parikh. She has a team of warm and friendly virtual receptionists offering free services to local businesses in need. Their virtual receptionists can answer calls, take messages, schedule appointments, and place outbound calls on your behalf remotely.  If you are a local business owner who would like more information and assistance, please call the Gabbyville customer service line at (800) 903-7141, email nisha.parikh@gabbyville.com, or visit gabbyville.com to live chat with a service representative.
  • The Nashville Camber of Commerce has created a comprehensive list of resources related to preparing and responding to COVID-19. For information, click here.
  • The U.S. Chamber Foundation is offering disaster recovery experts to support to local businesses. Please call (202) 463-5518 for information.
  • Resilience in a Box is a resource guide based on best practices designed to help educate business leaders on disaster preparedness and business resilience.
  • Disaster Recovery Quick Guides and Shell have partnered to provide tailored tips for small businesses looking to prepare and recover.
  • The US Small Business Administration offers four ways to stay updated on SBA COVID-19 resources:

Pet Services

  • The Nashville Humane Association has supplies and resources available including crates, food, blankets, leashes, collars and other basic supplies at their headquarters at 213 Oceola Avenue near the intersection of White Bridge Road and Charlotte Pike.

Shelter and Housing

  • Athena Hospitality Group is offering hotels at a discounted rate in Nashville and Franklin for displaced residents, volunteers, or relief crews in need of hotel rooms. For information, email b.behrens@athenahospitalitygroup.com.
  • Towers at Due West is offering hotel-style bedrooms for short term residents affected by the tornado and those experiencing homelessness. To make reservations, contact Charles Parker at (615) 478-8717 or chazp0719@gmail.com.

Shower and Laundry Services

  • Tide Loads of Hope will be distributing relief supplies throughout affected areas, and will collect laundry from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 8 or until reach capacity at Kroger, 800 Monroe Street Nashville, TN 37208. For the most up-to-date truck info, please visit the website: http://spr.ly/61831qHWU.
  • Shower the People is currently running a limited mobile shower route. For information and scheduling, email info@showerthepeople.net.

Transportation

  • Freebird is partnering with Hands On Nashville to offer $10 cash back on your Uber or Lyft ride to a volunteer site.Download the Freebird app for free here, set up your account and the promo code, HONASHVILLE* will automatically appear in your account. When ready to head to a volunteer site, TAP on your $10 ride voucher card and order your Uber or Lyft through the Freebird app. *Promo code HONASHVILLE is good for new users only. Terms apply. Current Freebird users see below for your code offer.Current users: Using your Freebird app, just tap the menu icon on the top left part of the screen (looks like a hamburger). Next, tap on the Promo Codes section. On this screen, you can enter the code HONASHFB. Terms apply.If you volunteer more than once, you will also receive a second bonus voucher which will allow you to earn 500 points for four additional rides to volunteer sites. Every 5,000 points earned in the Freebird app is worth a $10 reward.

Nashville Tornado: Clean Up Safely After a Disaster

General safety tips:

Get the right safety gear

  • Hard hats
  • Goggles
  • N95 masks (or a respirator with a higher protection level)
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Waterproof boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank)
  • Earplugs or protective headphones (if you’re working with noisy equipment)
  • At least two fire extinguishers (each with a UL rating of at least 10A)

If sewage is involved, make sure to wear the following during your cleanup:

  • Rubber boots
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles

Use teams to move heavy/bulky objects

  • Have teams of at least two people work together to move heavy or bulky objects.
  • Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds (per person).

Pace yourself

Cleaning up your home can be a big job. Be sure to take care of yourself:

  • Rest when you need to.
  • Decide which cleanup tasks are most important, and focus on those first. That way, you’re less likely to be overwhelmed.
  • Get help lifting heavy or bulky objects. If you lift too much on your own, you could hurt yourself.
  • Try to work with other people, so you aren’t alone.
  • Get support from family members, friends, counselors, or therapists.

Take precaution when using a chainsaw

  • When using a chain saw, always follow manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to wear appropriate protective gear, and be sure that bystanders are a safe distance away.
  • Avoid contact with power lines, and take extra care in cutting trees or branches that are bent or caught under something else.
  • Use extreme caution to avoid electrical shock when using an electric chain saw.
  • For tips on safely operating a chain saw, see Preventing Chain Saw Injuries During Tree Removal After a Disaster.

Stay safe in hot weather

  • In hot weather, try to stay cool by staying in air-conditioned buildings, taking breaks in shaded areas or in cool rooms, drinking water and nonalcoholic fluids often, and wearing light and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Do outdoor activities during cooler hours.
  • For more information on protecting yourself against heat-related illness, see the CDC Extreme Heat Web site.

Mold:

Prevent mold growth

8 Tips to Cleanup Mold
  • Clean up and dry your home quickly after the storm or flood ends- within 24 to 48 hours if possible.
  • Air out your house by opening doors and windows. Use fans to dry wet areas. Position fans to blow air out doors or windows.
  • Throw away anything that you can’t clean or dry quickly (such as mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings, and paper products).
  • Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.
  • Thoroughly clean all wet items and surfaces with hot water and laundry or dish detergent. For example, you’ll want to clean any flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures.
  • Fix any leaks in roofs, walls, or plumbing as soon as you can.

Clean up mold with a mix of bleach and water

Hygiene & Preventing Diseases

Disinfect toys

Remember that anything that’s had contact with floodwater could carry germs. To keep your kids safe, make sure their toys are clean:

  • Make a cleaning fluid by mixing 1 cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water.
  • Wash off toys carefully with your cleaner.
  • Let the toys air dry.

You may not be able to kill germs on some toys — like stuffed animals and baby toys. Throw out toys you can’t clean.

Wash up with soap and water

  • Wash up with soap and water once you’re done cleaning.
  • If there is a boil-water advisory in effect:
    • Use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing); or
    • Use water that’s been disinfected for personal hygiene:
      • Use 5%-6% unscented liquid household chlorine bleach – add a little less than 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops or about 0.5 milliliters) per 1 gallon of clear water. Stir well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before using. If the water is cloudy, add a little less than ¼ teaspoon (16 drops or about 1 milliliter) per 1 gallon of water.
  • If you have any open cuts or sores that were exposed to floodwater, wash them with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent an infection.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or sick.
  • Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
  • For more tips on washing your hands, see Clean Hands Save Lives: Emergency Situations.

Be careful with floodwater- it can contain dangerous bacteria

  • Floodwater can contain dangerous bacteria from overflowing sewage and agricultural and industrial waste. While skin contact with floodwater doesn’t pose a serious health risk by itself, eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater can cause diseases.
  • If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. (See also Clean Hands Save Lives: Emergency Situations)
  • To reduce cold–related risks when standing or working in water which is cooler than 75 degrees F (24 degrees C), wear insulated clothes and insulated rubber boots, take frequent breaks out of the water, and change into dry clothing when possible.
  • See also Food, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Information for Use Before and After a Disaster or Emergency and Reentering Your Flooded Home.

Potential Hazards

Be careful when entering damaged buildings

  • Stay away from any damaged buildings or structures until a building inspector or other government authority has had a chance to examine it and certify that it’s safe.
  • Wait until daylight to return to buildings so it’s easier to see and avoid any hazards- especially if the power is out.
  • Leave your home or other building if you hear any shifting or strange noises- this could mean it’s about to fall.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, leave your house/building and contact emergency authorities right away! Don’t turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that can cause a spark. Don’t return to the building until you’re told it’s safe to do so.
  • Keep children and pets away from the affected area until cleanup has been completed.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Never use generators, pressure washers, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage, or camper—or even outside near an open window, door, or vent. Carbon monoxide—an odorless, colorless gas from these sources that can cause sudden illness and death—can build up indoors and poison the people and animals inside.
  • For more information, see Carbon Monoxide Poisoning After a Disaster.

Be aware of any electrical hazards

  • If electrical circuits and electrical equipment have gotten wet or are in or near water, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off.
  • Never turn power on or off or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
  • Do not connect generators to your home’s electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices. If a generator is on line when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard and it may endanger line workers helping to restore power in your area.
  • For more information, see Protect Yourself and Others from Electrical Hazards After a Disaster.

Be careful with dangerous materials

  • Call the fire department to inspect or remove chemicals, propane tanks, and other dangerous materials.
  • Wear protective clothing and gear (for example, a respirator if needed) when handling hazardous materials.
  • Wash skin that may have come in contact with hazardous materials.
  • Wear insulated gloves and use caution if you have to remove a car battery. Avoid any acid that may have leaked from a car battery.
  • For information about possible dangers posed by chemicals, see the Chemical Emergencies page.
  • For information about possible dangers posed by pollution from large farms and agricultural facilities, see the CDC Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) website.

*Information provided via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Nashville Tornado: City announces debris guidelines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 5, 2020) – As thousands of Davidson County citizens begin cleaning up from the March 3 tornado, Metro Public Works has issued the following preliminary guidelines for residents who need to place debris at the curbside for collection:

·         All items and materials MUST be separated into three different piles and placed at the curb or street side for collection.  If the debris is not separated, it will not be collected. The three different classifications for collection are:

1. White goods and metals (appliances, etc.)
2. Construction and demolition debris (lumber, windows, etc.)
3. Vegetation (brush, limbs and all other yard waste)

·         Items should NOT be placed in public alleys.  Alleys need to remain clear for emergency crews and trash collection services.

·     Household trash should be set out with regular weekly curbside garbage pick-up.

While Public Works is still finalizing a comprehensive plan and schedule for debris collection, residents can go ahead and place items out for collection.

All debris and tornado-damaged items should be placed at the curb/street side for collection.  Davidson County residents SHOULD NOT bring these items to Metro Convenience Centers for disposal.  For additional information, residents can use hubNashville by calling 311, downloading the hubNashville app, or visiting hub.nashville.gov.

Nashville Tornado: FEMA Tips to avoid being scammed after a disaster

These are common post-disaster fraud practices survivors should be vigilant of:

Housing inspectors claiming to represent FEMA

  • Be cautious if somebody asks for your nine-digit registration number. FEMA inspectors will never ask for this information. They already have it in their records.
  • FEMA inspectors never require banking or other personal information such as a Social Security number.
  • Ask the inspectors to show you their identification badge. Federal employees and contractors always wear an official government or government contractor badge to identify themselves.
  • Call FEMA at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) if you are suspicious of someone who says they’re a housing inspector sent by FEMA.

Fake offers of local or federal aid

  • Don’t trust someone who asks for money. Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help in filling out applications.
  • Don’t believe anyone who promises a disaster grant and asks for large cash deposits or advance payments in full.
  • Report suspected fraud to the NC Consumer Protection Division at 877-5-NO SCAM (919-716-0058 for Spanish speakers).

Avoiding fraudulent building contractors

  • Use licensed or verified local contractors backed by reliable references.
  • To find licensed certified contractors check the North Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs. The department offers tips on disaster repair here.
  • Don’t pay more than half the costs of repairs in advance.
  • Demand that contractors detail the job to be done with guarantees in writing.

If you suspect fraud, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721

Information provided by The Department of Homeland Security. For more information, visit this link.

Happy birthday, GeekCause!

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It’s been a year since GeekCause joined Hands On Nashville to help address crucial tech needs at local nonprofits. GeekCause is a skilled-volunteerism initiative that matches Nashville’s most talented techies with community partners in need of their services.

In its first year at HON, GeekCause activated 67 volunteers who completed 10 projects for nine nonprofits. As of mid-November, nearly 15 projects are in progress.

“In addition to accomplishing a seemingly daunting goal of setting up a recurring donor program, the GeekCause experience was utterly delightful. I am afraid you have gained a ‘frequent flyer’ for future projects.”
— Alison Gower, Executive Director of Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic 

“It’s been amazing to help nonprofits begin to see how they can leverage technology to make their lives better and easier, to improve their reach, and to better use resources,” says Monica Weiss-Sharp, HON’s Director of Skilled Volunteer Engagement.

The projects completed by GeekCause volunteers in the past year — data funnel/dashboard buildouts, Salesforce trainings, website updates, and more — carry a combined market value of $51,000.

The value proposition is clear: Nonprofits are able to get high-quality tech help for a fraction of the price it would cost them through an IT firm. But it’s not just nonprofits that benefit from the GeekCause model. The initiative also opens up a new path to volunteerism for busy professionals. More than 200 volunteers with a variety of tech skills have signed up and are ready to be paired with a project that matches their interests and skills.

“I love that this idea exists. It’s so great to be able to use a skill to help someone in need of that skill.”
— Blake Crozier, GeekCause volunteer

“GeekCause is redefining what it means to volunteer,” Weiss-Sharp says. “These projects give highly skilled people a way to donate their time and their talents doing something to address issues that are important to them.”

How GeekCause Works

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Engage with GeekCause

Nonprofits: Got a tech challenge? Request a consultation! Our team will talk through your issue and help you get a better idea of the solutions skilled tech volunteers could offer.

Tech-savvy folks: Want to be a GeekCause volunteer? Sign up here! Don’t worry — just because you sign up as a GeekCause volunteer doesn’t mean we’ll automatically assign you projects. We work with our volunteers to find the right project and right timeline for each individual.

For anyone with questions: Drop a note to Monica Weiss-Sharp!

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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!