Tag Archives: Strobel Awards 2022

Hands On Nashville announces 2022 Strobel Volunteer Awards recipients

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 13, 2022) – Middle Tennesseans were honored today for their volunteerism during Hands On Nashville’s 36th annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, presented by Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Jackson®). Recipients were announced in an intimate ceremony that was also live-streamed on HON’s social media channels.

The Strobel Awards honor volunteers of all ages and backgrounds for their significant service to their communities, and celebrates the life of Mary Catherine Strobel, a Nashvillian who displayed an outstanding dedication to service. This marks the first in-person Strobel Awards ceremony in two years.

“Last year was a difficult one for Nashville residents as we all navigated flooding, COVID-19 and more; but these individuals recognized a need and filled it through their volunteer work,” said Lori Shinton, president and CEO of Hands On Nashville. “We are honored to join together to celebrate the incredible service exhibited by these volunteers and recognize the impact of their efforts in our community at this year’s Strobel Awards.”

Community members submitted more than 140 nominations for the 2022 Strobel Volunteer Awards, each of whom displayed the spirit of volunteerism. The public was invited to vote for their favorite stories of service and a panel of judges selected the seven award recipients, who will receive a $1,000 gift card to give to the charity of their choice. The other 14 finalists will receive $250 to donate to charity.

“Congratulations to all Strobel Awards recipients,” said Niya Moon, manager of corporate philanthropy at Jackson. “Your heart for service continues to make Nashville a better place to live. We are thrilled to join Hands On Nashville and others in our community in acknowledging the resilience of volunteers during an extremely challenging year.”

The award recipients are as follows:

  • Direct Service – Youth Volunteer: JohnThomas Atema
  • Direct Service – Adult Volunteer: Kimberly Webb
  • Direct Service – Older Adult Volunteer: Vera Coleman
  • Group Volunteer Service Award: Congregation of Alameda Christian Church
  • Capacity-Building Volunteer Award: Susanne Shepherd Post
  • Social Justice Impact Award: Linda McFadyen-Ketchum
  • Disaster Relief Volunteer Award: Hispanic Outreach Task Force

About the Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards

The Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards are named in memory of the late Mary Catherine Strobel, known for her extensive and charitable efforts toward improving the lives of Middle Tennessee’s unhoused, underserved, and disenfranchised communities. The annual awards ceremony celebrates her service and recognizes those who continue her legacy. For more information, visit HON.org/strobel_awards.

About Hands On Nashville

Hands On Nashville (HON) builds capacity for individuals and agencies to meet needs through service. Its programs connect volunteers to opportunities supporting 200-plus nonprofits, schools and other civic organizations; help these partners reimagine volunteer potential; and bring awareness to the challenges facing the people and places in our community. HON also partners with the city to coordinate volunteers whenever there is a disaster. For more information, visit HON.org or call 615-298-1108.

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Improving the community is the heart of Jackson’s commitment to service

At Jackson National Life Insurance Company (Jackson®), volunteerism is an integral part of this company’s mission and culture. Through their corporate philanthropy efforts of prioritizing employee volunteerism, Jackson and Hands On Nashville have a longtime partnership supporting Middle Tennessee’s greatest needs. This is the third consecutive year Jackson is serving as the Presenting Sponsor for the annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards.

Their dedication to the Strobel Awards aligns with one of Jackson’s core values, to positively impact the community. 

“At Jackson, service is an important part of our culture,” says Niya Moon, Corporate Philanthropy Manager at Jackson. “Our employee-engagement program, Jackson in Action, empowers team members to donate their skills and time through volunteerism, and the Strobel volunteer stories of what amazing things can come from a year of service are truly inspiring. We’re honored to be the presenting sponsor for such a wonderful event.”

A group of Jackson team members volunteer at a local park.

In addition to championing volunteerism, both with the Strobel Awards and among their employees, Jackson explored different ways to collaborate with others and help change communities for the better over the past year.

  • In 2021, Jackson invested more than $4.88 million in communities where their associates work and live, with $1.19 million being invested in Tennessee.
  • The company and its associates donated $2.19 million through its matching gifts program.
  • Associates volunteered 11,535 hours nationally last year. (Keeping in mind adjusted volunteer engagement due to covid precautions.)
  • Jackson awarded $100,000 over two years to Conexión Américas to fund and support its financial empowerment programs, as well as supporting Conexión’s commitment to providing direct services to the Latino community throughout the pandemic.

April is Financial Literacy Month, as well as National Volunteer Month, two pillars of Jackson’s strong service commitment. In 2017, the Jackson Charitable Foundation was established with a mission to advance financial education across the United States. They began working with Junior Achievement USA and Discovery Education to encourage financial education at an early age. Jackson engages with students across the country through their signature program, Cha-ChingTM Money Smart Kids

Jackson volunteers sort toys for a local nonprofit.

Entering their five-year anniversary, the Foundation has educated more than 10 million students and continues to sponsor 100 high schools annually to utilize finEDge, an educational initiative developed by the University of Chicago. Read more about the foundation’s work here

“It’s a great privilege for the Foundation to continue our mission, listening, learning and supporting the important work of our partners, advancing financial education across the United States,” says Danielle Robinson, Executive Director at Jackson Charitable Foundation. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to help educate young minds and allow these students to get a head start in planning for a successful financial future.”

Hands On Nashville also thanks Jackson for their support and dedication to meeting our community’s needs. 

For more information about Jackson and their commitment to service, click here.

About Jackson

Jackson National Life Insurance Company is committed to helping clarify the complexity of retirement planning for its customers. Jackson’s range of annuity products, financial know-how, history of award-winning service, and streamlined experiences strive to reduce the confusion that complicates retirement plans. As part of their award-winning Corporate Philanthropy program, Jackson invests nearly $1.2 million annually in nonprofit and community causes in Middle Tennessee.

Announcing the 2022 Strobel Volunteer Awards finalists

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 1, 2022) – Hands On Nashville is pleased to announce the finalists for the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, presented by Jackson National Life Insurance Company. The 2022 Strobel Awards honor volunteers from 2021 – which saw a devastating flood, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, and unprecedented need throughout our most vulnerable communities. Winners will be announced May 13 in a small ceremony that will be live streamed on HON’s social media channels.

“It was difficult to narrow this year’s phenomenal nominees down to just a few finalists,” said Hands On Nashville President and CEO Lori Shinton. “2021 was a challenging year, but the inspiring stories of these finalists show that Middle Tennessee is full of caring people who live out the spirit of the Volunteer State.”

The Strobel Volunteer Awards honor volunteers of all ages and backgrounds for significant community service achievements. This year’s celebration will be held with a small in-person reception, and community members are invited to visit hon.org/strobel2022 to show support and vote for their favorite stories of service between April 1-30.

A screener panel read more than 143 nominations this year and narrowed them down to three finalists in each category.

The finalists are:

Direct Service Volunteer — Youth

  • JohnThomas Atema
  • Maddie McDaniel
  • Riya Narayan

Click here to read the Direct Service — Youth stories of service

Direct Service Volunteer — Adult

  • Greg O’Loughlin
  • Kimberly Webb
  • Lina Londoño Tinsley

Click here to read the Direct Service — Adult stories of service

Direct Service Volunteer — Older Adult

  • Carole Sergent
  • Edward Arnell
  • Vera Coleman

Click here to read the Direct Service — Older Adult stories of service

Capacity-building Volunteer

  • Carole Purkey
  • Sunny Fleming
  • Susanne Shepherd Post

Click here to read the Capacity-building Volunteer stories of service

Group Volunteer Service

  • Congregation of Alameda Christian Church
  • Connect Us Outreach Ministry Volunteers
  • Come to the Table

Click here to read the Group Volunteer Service stories of service

Social Justice Impact Volunteer

  • John Bull
  • Linda McFadyen-Ketchum
  • Veronica Zavaleta

Click here to read the Social Justice Impact Volunteer stories of service

Disaster Relief Volunteer

  • Hispanic Outreach Task Force
  • Joe Gaines
  • Office of Emergency Management Emergency Support Unit

Click here to read the Disaster Relief Volunteer stories of service

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Strobel Finalists 2022: Direct Service — Youth

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

JohnThomas Atema

JohnThomas Atema
Volunteers with Best Buddies 

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

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


Riya Narayan

Riya Narayan
Founder of Treats and Tunes

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

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

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


Maddie McDaniel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strobel Finalists 2022: Direct Service — Adult

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

Greg O’Loughlin

Greg O’Loughlin
Volunteers with the Oasis Center 

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

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

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


Kimberly Webb

Kimberly Webb
Volunteers with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) 

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

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

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


Lina Londoño Tinsley

Lina Londoño Tinsley
Volunteers with Conexión Américas 

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

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

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

Strobel Finalists 2022: Direct Service — Older Adult

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

Carole Sergent

Carole Sergent
Volunteers with Tennessee Resettlement Aid, Nashville International Center for Empowerment, The Branch of Nashville, and individual refugee families

Carole Sergent was one of the few independent volunteers who saw a need and carved her own path to meet it. When the Afghan refugees began to arrive in Nashville, Sergent immediately acted by collecting donations needed for survival. Since then, she has recruited over 200 people who help to donate and deliver items to over 250 Afghan refugees who have arrived in the United States.  

When refugees began arriving in Nashville, official relief agencies were not fully staffed, which is when Sergent jumped in to provide crucial services to those in need. She began working with the Tennessee Resettlement Aid (TRA) to create a network of donors through word-of-mouth and social media to provide clothing, linens, household items, toiletries, toys, and more. The TRA now works alongside the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) to receive necessary information about new Afghan arrivals and volunteers. This system provides emergency boxes of food from The Branch of Nashville food bank to families two or three times per day.  

Through her service, Sergent has served many Afghans and has hundreds of success stories for providing resources and opportunity for refugees. She not only provides refugees with the items they need for survival, but has also helped them find schools for children, jobs, documentation needed for work, and even opened her home to those who need a place to do laundry.  “There are hundreds of success stories from Carole because she has created a huge volunteer network and is managing it to work efficiently and effectively. Every volunteer who has delivered emergency food or clothing or transportation can tell you a story that would make you cry,” shared a colleague of Sergent’s. 


Edward Arnell

Edward Arnell
Volunteers with Preston Taylor Ministries 

Edward Arnell has been a consistent and dependable face to many of the students at Preston Taylor Ministries. Serving the students of Mt. Nebo four days a week, Arnell has become not only a mentor to many of the students, but also a friend, tutor and spiritual adviser.  

Within Preston Taylor Ministries, many of the people who dedicate their time do not reflect the population of the surrounding neighborhood and the culture of the students. Arnell not only lives in the neighborhood but is also a volunteer of color. With Preston Taylor Ministries serving a majority African American population, students can relate and feel more connected to Arnell and his service. “When students see Mr. Edward serving, they can see themselves doing the same. This is what causes change in communities, people being inspired to be the difference,” shared a colleague of Arnell’s.  

He has become a role model and inspirational guide for many of the students at Preston Taylor Ministries by providing them with homework and reading tutoring that has allowed them to exponentially increase their grades in school. Arnell also provides meals to students once a week through his own income. His full-course meals with homemade desserts have become a favorite of the students at Mt. Nebo.  

As a deacon at Mt. Nebo, Arnell also acts as a spiritual adviser for the students at Preston Taylor Ministries. He is known to give truthful and inspiring advice to the students while also providing them with scripture that he encourages them to memorize and live out daily.   


Vera Coleman

Vera Coleman
Volunteers with FiftyForward 

As a National Community Engagement Partner for the All of Us Research Program, Vera Coleman joined the nonprofit organization FiftyForward to help advance precision medicine with the National Institutes of Health. 

As one of the All of Us Research Program’s first ambassadors, Coleman has been volunteering alongside the program since its launch in 2018. The newly founded program’s goal is to recruit 1 million volunteers from historically underrepresented communities in biomedical research to share their health information and transform the current one-size-fits-all health care system. Because of Coleman’s contribution, the All of Us Research Program has enrolled over 450,000 individuals so far, with over 80% of those representing historically underrepresented communities in biomedical research. The All of Us Research Program team helps staff community events and health fairs and speaks at in-person and virtual events. Vera has additionally gone the extra mile to sit on nationwide panel discussions on the need for diversity, including older adults, in medical research. The volunteer role requires a heavy amount of in-person interaction that requires a sense of trust from the potential program enrollees.

Coleman has been known to not only earn the trust of those enrollees, but also become a respected leader in her community as she is quick to address fears and concerns of those she’s created relationships with. She has been known to her team and program enrollees for her wisdom, expertise and compassion in her personal interactions.  

During the pandemic, Coleman continued her dedication and services to the All of Us Research Program as a virtual panelist on discussions of diversity and a podcast guest on FiftyForward’s new podcast, Squeeze the Day, where she discusses overcoming online barriers.   With a strong scientific background as the first African American woman in the field of research at Meharry University and Vanderbilt University, Coleman is a trusted source among many. “I’ve always believed in the merits of research. Now, I have an awesome opportunity to be involved in something that will prove beneficial not only for me, but for my family and community as well. The All of Us Research Program has become my passion,” she shared.


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

Strobel Finalists 2022: Capacity-building Volunteer

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

Carole Purkey

Carole Purkey
Volunteers with WOW Transition House

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

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

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

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

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


Sunny Fleming and her dog, Elise

Sunny Fleming
Volunteers with Friends of Shelby Park & Bottoms

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

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

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

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

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


Susanne Shepherd Post

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

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

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

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

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