Tag Archives: volunteer leader

Volunteer Spotlight: Alex Lamers

Alex Lamers-2
Hands On Nashville volunteer Alex Lamers planting trees at Meigs Middle Magnet School during the fall 2014.

“Don’t be afraid to try something new.”

These are the words Alex Lamers recalls using as encouragement when getting involved with Hands On Nashville more than a year ago. He says they still ring true today. Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Alex Lamers

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Introducing our 2014-15 Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) Interns!

From August through May, these 10 outstanding teens will serve as a leadership team that works with Hands On Nashville staff to develop and lead youth projects that impact the community. Each has chosen a concentration – Arts, Fitness and Nutrition, or Technology – and will design and facilitate educational and skill-building lessons for youth served by area nonprofits.

This group is #hypedonhelp and we’re hyped to introduce them to you! Please meet out 2014-15 Youth Volunteer Corp Interns…

YVC Intern Alex Alexcee
“I serve because somebody served me.” – YVC Intern Alex Alexcee

Sarah Alexcee is a senior at Glencliff High School where she is proud to be “the voice of Glencliff High School in Newspaper Club.”  Sarah says if there is an issue or topic that needs to be addressed at her school, she is the one who authors the story. Sarah’s goal is to help the community while further enhancing her leadership skills in working with other students and adults who are committed to helping others.

Fun Fact: If Sarah could only listen to one CD/album forever, she would listen to Artpop by Lady Gaga.

Internship Concentration: Fitness/Nutrition

 

YVC Intern Anagha Ashokan
“I serve because I want to make a difference.” – YVC Intern Anagha Ashokan

Anagha Ashokan, a sophomore at Hume-Fogg Academic High School, has served as a delegate at Model United Nations, a Volunteer Mentor for the 2014 PACE (Pencil Academic & Career Enrichment) Summer Camp for Middle School students, and is the class officer in her school’s Student Government Association. Angagha says she is excited to take on this new leadership role by giving back to the community.

Fun Fact: If Anagha could have any superpower, it would be the ability to travel through time.

Internship Concentration: Arts

 

YVC Intern Michael Canonico
“I serve because I learn most through service.” – YVC Intern Michael Canonico

Michael Canonico is a senior at Father Ryan High School where he has been an officer on the student council for the past two years and is a student ambassador. As a YVC Intern this school year, Michael hopes to learn from the youth he will be working with and broaden his perspectives. His goal is to improve his leadership skills.

Fun Fact: If Michael could travel to anywhere in the world, he would go to Rome. “Rome is a center of faith, history, art, and culture,” He says.”All that is truly human can be seen in Rome and in her history.”

Internship Concentration: Fitness/Nutrition

 

 YVC Intern Kara Cobb
“I serve because I want to change the world.” – YVC Intern Kara Cobb

Kara Cobb, a senior at Hume-Fogg Academic High School, is excited to be returning for a second consecutive year as a YVC Intern. During this internship, Kara says she wishes to learn how to better enrich service projects and to become a better leader.

Fun Fact: If Kara could travel anywhere in the world, she would pick the Maldives. “It seems like a perfect paradise,” she says.

Internship Concentration: Fitness/Nutrition

 

 

 

YVC intern Angelica Flores
“I serve because it makes me and other people happy.” – YVC intern Angelica Flores

Angelica Flores is a junior at Father Ryan High School where she organizes shows and fundraising opportunities for the Theater Club, is a member of the Relay For Life committee, and also serves on the Veteran’s 5k Leadership committee. Angelica has also attended a national Youth Leadership Conference, and her goal for this internship is to learn how to organize intriguing service events for her peers.

Fun Fact: If Angelica could eat only one food forever, she would choose smoothies – “I’m more than a little obsessed with them, and they’re good for you,” she says.

Internship Concentration: Arts

 

YVC Intern Hannah Levy
“I serve because I love helping the community.” – YVC Intern Hannah Levy

Hannah Levy, a sophomore at Brentwood High School, hopes to achieve a greater connection with her community through this internship. Hannah is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, where she tutors other students in math, and is also a member of her school’s student council and Peer Leadership Team.

Fun Fact: If Hannah could do anything, she would travel. “I would love to observe culture in different regions, as well as visit many of the iconic sites spread across the world,” she says.

Internship Concentration: Arts

 

 

 YVC Intern Camryn Magsby
“I serve because I love to give back.” – YVC Intern Camryn Magsby

Camryn Magsby is a sophomore at Hume-Fogg Academic High School. Last summer, Camryn  taught youth about nutrition and health while serving as an Urban Agriculture Intern. Through the YVC internship, Camry hopes to gain knowledge and skills that she can apply to a future career in community organization.

Fun Fact: If Camryn could travel anywhere, she would go to Spain, Costa Rica, and Dominican Republic. “I am very fascinated with Spanish language, so traveling to different countries and learning more about their rich culture [would be] a very fun way to meet new people and experience new opportunities,” she says.

Internship Concentration: Fitness/Nutrition

YVC Intern Karthik Pradeep
“I serve because it is fun and rewarding.” – YVC Intern Karthik Pradeep

Karthik Pradeep is a sophomore at Centennial High School. Last summer, he helped teachers lead summer encore programs at Lipscomb Elementary and Clovercroft Elementary schools. As a YVC Intern, Karthik says he hope to spread as much of his knowledge in the realm of computer science to others as he can, and in the process, learn something new through the enrichment of others.

Fun Fact: If Karthik could only listen to one song forever, it would be
“A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay.

Internship Concentration: Technology

 

YVC Intern Caroline Rivers
“I serve because it make me feel alive.” – YVC Intern Caroline Rivers

Caroline Rivers is a senior at Hume-Fogg Academic High school. She says she hopes to learn the best ways to work with children in our community through her YVC Internship. Last year, Caroline started her own tutoring business last year, and she is a member of the senior dance company at Bellevue Dance Center.

Fun Fact: If Caroline could travel anywhere, she would go to India. “I want to be immersed in the beautiful culture,” she says.

Internship Concentration: Arts

 

 

YVC Intern Raffi Yang
“I serve because I enjoy helping others.” – YVC Intern Raffi Yang

Raffi Yang is a senior at Hume-Fogg Academic High School where he is a senior member and building coordinator of the school’s Science Olympiad team. Besides having fun, Raffi says he hopes to meet a diverse group of people through his involvement in this internship.

Fun Fact: If Raffi could have one superpower, it would to be able to predict the future. “I like knowing what comes in the future,” he says.

Internship Concentration: Technology

Introducing Hands On Nashville’s 2014 Urban Agriculture Teaching Interns!

This week, Hands On Nashville is kicking off Crop City, a six-week camp where community youth will learn how to grow food and make healthy eating choices! 2014 Crop City participants are youth served by the following organizations: Watkins Park Community Center, Y-CAP, Martha O’Bryan Center, Youth Villages, Sophia’s Heart, and the Nashville International Center for Empowerment.

As we begin, we would like to introduce you to a group of outstanding Hands On Nashville Urban Agriculture Teaching Interns who will lead the farm-to-table, curriculum-based summer youth development program.

Guided by Hands On Nashville staff, these awesome interns will teach Crop City participants – who live in neighborhoods with limited access to fresh produce — how to grow healthy produce to share with their communities and useful leadership skills to foster future growth. Please join us in welcoming these young leaders who are making a difference during their summer break.


 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Grace Bryant

Grace Bryant is a rising junior at Glencliff High School where she is currently preparing for a future in biological engineering. After school, Grace can often be found researching diseases among insects in a biology lab. Grace hopes to share her knowledge of nutritious plants and food with the world this summer, and in the future.

Fun fact: If Grace could be any movie character, she’d be Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – he has a lot of fun but still helps others.

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Maria DartyMariah Darty is a rising junior at Glencliff High School. From joining the garden club and working for the newspaper to tutoring students at two different middle schools, Mariah has taken on many new activities over the last year. She is ready to continue learning and teaching others while adding an Urban Agriculture Internship to the list this summer.

Fun Fact: If Mariah could be any cartoon character, she would be Sponge Bob because he is always happy, and positive.

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Emily DunnEmily Dunn  is a rising senior at Hume-Fogg Academic High School where she’s co-captain of the swim team; co-leads a club that raises money to fight cancer; and helps coordinate the school’s recycling effort. Emily is returning for her second year leading Crop City programming as an Urban Agriculture Intern. She’s driven to play an active role in eliminating food deserts.

Fun Fact: If Emily could be any cartoon character, she would be Phineas, from Phineas and Ferb – because they lived in an endless summer.

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Jon EdwardsJon Edwards is a rising senior at Hume-Fogg Academic High School where he will serve as Student Body Treasurer next fall. As a volunteer, Jon has spent three Christmas holidays working at a school and orphanage in Managua, Nicaragua and has served as a tutor for elementary school students within the local community. This summer, he hopes to positively influence a child’s future out at the Farm.

Fun Fact: If Jon could only listen to one CD/album forever, he’d listen to, The Band by The Band.

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Nikita HolbertNikita Holbert, a rising senior at Hume-Fogg Academic High School, absolutely loves to be outside. Nikita is excited to bring her gardening experience (she has planted tomatoes, squash, and peaches at her grandmother’s garden…yum), passion for helping others, and strong interest in teaching youth to the Urban Farm this summer.

Fun Fact: If Nikita could have superpowers, she would have the abilities to disappear, pause the world, and run fast.

 

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Ameena KhoshnawAmeena Khoshnaw is a rising senior at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet School. As a dedicated volunteer, Ameena regularly serves at local Islamic churches and has assisted in disaster relief efforts as an ICNA Disaster Relief Group volunteer. Ameena strives to be a shining example for her younger family members and help those less fortunate take steps toward success in their lives.

Fun Fact: Photography is Ameena’s favorite hobby – she loves capturing nature’s amazing scenes.

2014 Urban Agriculture Camryn MagsbyCamryn Magsby is a rising sophomore at Hume-Fogg Academic High School. Camryn is a strong advocate of healthy eating, and has helped fight hunger as a volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Nashville Rescue Mission, and Mercy Ministries. Camryn aims to inspire others to see the value of growing their own food this summer.

Fun fact: If Camryn could have any superpower, it would be to read people’s minds, like professor X from X-Men.

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Dina MikaielDina Mikaiel is a rising senior at Antioch High School where she is an essential part of the school’s Leadership Class. Dina helps fellow students through the Adopt a Freshmen program, serves as a Big Sister, and hopes to meet new people and help change lives of community youth through education this summer.

Fun Fact: If Dina could travel anywhere in the world, she would travel to Egypt.

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Leyla Mohamed

Leyla Mohamed is a rising senior at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet School where she is a member of Beta Club, Red-Cross club and the Muslim Student Association. For the past three years, Leyla has volunteered at local mosques teaching children Arabic nearly every weekend. This summer, Lelya hopes to learn more about the agriculture system in Nashville and use her leadership skills to help improve it.

Fun Fact: If Leyla could have any superpower, she would have all of the knowledge in the world.

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Miranda MooreMiranda Moore is a rising sophomore at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet School. She loves working with kids, and has many years of experience as a camp counselor. Miranda is looking forward to sharing her knowledge of healthy foods and nutrition with campers this summer, and is excited to learn more about urban agriculture throughout the process.

Fun Fact: If Miranda could only eat one type of food forever, she would choose Clementines.

 

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Megnot Mulugeta

Megnot Mulugeta is a rising senior at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet School where for the last two school years she has helped organize fundraisers for FEED, an organization that helps feed and clothe children in Haiti. With a newfound interest in gardening, Megnot aims to help others to make healthier choices this summer.

Fun Fact: If Megnot could have any superpower, she would be able to read minds.

 

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Farhiya Omar

Farhiyo Omar, a rising junior at Hillwood High School, is very excited to be spending a second consecutive summer teaching at Crop City this year. Farhiyo says that being able to watch the kids smile and grow last year was a very rewarding experience and is looking forward to again sharing her knowledge of farming with others.

Fun fact: If she could do anything she wanted, Farhiyo would travel the world.

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Rayan OsmanRayan Osman is a rising junior at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet School. Rayan is co-founder of her school’s Muslim-Student Association and regularly tutors elementary and middle school students. After college, Rayan plans to go to Somalia to help residents fight poverty. She hopes to gain knowledge about agriculture this summer.

Fun Fact: Reading is Rayan’s favorite hobby – it’s a really fun activity, she says.

 

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Intern Carson ThomasCarson Thomas is a rising senior at University School of Nashville where she co-leads USN’s Environmental Club, is captain of the Ultimate Frisbee Team and is involved with the Student Sustainability Initiative. Carson has served as a fellow at the Urban Farm for the last year, and is thrilled to be joining us again for her second consecutive summer as an Urban Agriculture Intern at Crop City.

Fun Fact: If Carson could only eat one type of food forever, it would be pasta.

 

2014 Urban Agriculture Chloe VaccaroChloe Vaccaro is a recent graduate of Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet School and will attend UT Knoxville in the fall. As an Urban Farm Fellow and Urban Agriculture Intern for the past two summers, Chloe continues to make an impact at the Urban Farm. Chloe’s long-term goal is to help increase access to healthy food for families located in food deserts and hopes to continue to learn about organic farming this summer.

Fun Fact: If Chloe could only listen to one CD/album forever, it would be Live by Erykah Badu.

Introducing the 2013 YVC Interns

Meet our 2013 Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) interns! These twelve outstanding teens will serve as part of a leadership team that works with Hands On Nashville staff to develop and lead youth projects that impact the community. Each Intern has chosen one of the following three concentrations – Arts, Fitness and Nutrition, and Technology – and will design and facilitate educational and skill-building lessons for youth served by area nonprofits. All of these Interns have proven themselves to be truly kind and hardworking individuals, so without further ado…
ArthurArthur Liu loves to go fishing and set up aquariums. Now in his senior year of high school, he wanted to become a YVC intern because he saw it as an opportunity to make a difference in his community while practicing some teaching skills.
BrittanyBrittany Taylor Paschall, a senior at MNPS Middle College High School, enjoys reading, writing, singing, good football, and spending time with the people she loves. Being part of the YVC will allow Brittany to serve her community while exploring her passion for health and fitness. Brittany is very excited to work with HON, the YVC, and to serve the clients of Preston Taylor Ministries!
Caroline DruryCaroline Drury is a Junior at Hume Fogg High School. She is very excited to be working as a YVC intern. She loves teaching, encouraging, and motivating others!
Esther PhambuEsther Phamabu is a junior at Martin Luther King Magnet school. Her passions include traveling, dancing, and volunteering. Esther wanted to be a YVC intern because she felt it was an opportunity to help out in her community and grow as a person in something that she loves to do. Esther is very excited to be a part of the YVC family this year!
Jenny Head ShotJenny Sai is a senior at Hume-Fogg High School, and this will be her 3rd year as a YVC intern in the arts track. She enjoys sharing her love of music with others and exposing students to new musical varieties, which was her inspiration to start teaching. Community service has been a huge part of her high school career, and Jenny aspires to keep it up during college and beyond!
Julian TurnerJulian Turner is a senior at Mt. Juliet High School. He believes that everyone has a duty to contribute to the betterment of their communities. Julian saw the YVC internship as an opportunity to elevate his involvement in the Nashville community and to make that contribution.
Kara CobbKara Cobb is currently a junior at Hume-Fogg. Kara wanted to be a YVC intern because she wanted a chance to give back to the community and help others.
LaurelLaurel Cunningham is a junior at Harpeth Hall High School. Laurel wanted to be an intern with YVC in order to work with kids and teach them about healthy lifestyles so they are set for the rest of their lives. She also wanted the experience of working with and meeting new people her age to solve issues in our community.
LaurenLauren Levy is currently a senior at Brentwood High School and is an active member of the Interact club as well as the tennis team. Becoming a YVC intern is more than a leadership opportunity for her. It is also a chance to lead in the community and directly help and impact the lives of youth throughout Nashville.
Rachel WestRachel West attends Brentwood High School. She enjoys running cross country, playing lacrosse, and helping run the Habitat for Humanity chapter at her school! Rachel joined YVC because she really wanted to make a positive impact in the community, and thought it would be a great opportunity to do so!
RuiqiRuiqi Chen (pronounced Ricky) is a sophomore at Hume-Fogg. She really loves anything to do with the arts, and is especially into music. Ruiqi wanted to be a YVC intern because it seemed like a lot of fun and a good way to give back to the community at the same time.
Zach GradyZach Grady wanted to become an intern for Hands On Nashville to help the community and become a more well-rounded leader. He enjoys helping others & making new discoveries. Zach feels that there’s always an opportunity for change if you’re willing to apply yourself.
Learn more about HON’s youth programs here!

A Match Made in Service: A HON Day Love Story

Guest Post by: Lauren Repass

Two years ago I was given the opportunity to volunteer at Hands On Nashville Day. Even though I had other friends volunteering and I knew it would be a good experience for me either way, another motivating factor for me to participate was to hopefully make a connection with a co-worker I had a crush on named Marcus.

I got up two hours before I had to be at the school site so I could do my hair and make-up and pick out the perfect outfit. I arrived at the school at 8 a.m. that Saturday morning. Once I arrived, I met up with all of the other volunteers and we gathered around so we could get instructions. I was assigned to the same team Marcus was (surprise!) We were outside painting the portable classrooms when we made our first connection.

After a day full of painting and some yard work, we continued on to the HON Day afterparty, which was great. We were able to meet some of the people that were volunteering at other schools that day and ask how their projects went. We also got to meet some of the students and teachers. The Hands On Nashville staff was very appreciative of everyone’s efforts and how much we achieved in that one day. They also catered a lunch for us at the afterparty and had raffle prizes. I won a CMT One Country bag with tons of cool stuff in it and Marcus won tickets to the play Holes at the Children’s Theatre.

Marcus and I were the last guests to leave the afterparty because we were having such a good time talking. As we were leaving, Marcus asked if I would like to see the play with him soon. Of course I said yes! We ended up having our first date together before we made plans to see the play. That was almost two years ago and now we have a little boy named Lincoln who is seven months old and we are getting married in October in Florida!

Hands On Nashville Day not only gave me the opportunity to do some good work in my community, it helped start my wonderful family as well. I have no doubts that we were meant for each other and that things would have worked out for us no matter what. But the fact that our first encounter was at HON Day really helped make our connection strong right from the beginning. We were able to see each other’s charitable side immediately, and that is something that helped us grow together as a couple and will help our new family grow in the future. Marcus and I continue to volunteer and promote this great opportunity.

A true HON Day family: Lauren, Marcus, and baby  Lincoln.
A true HON Day family: Lauren, Marcus, and baby Lincoln.

Hands On Nashville Day 2013, the community’s largest day of service to public schools, will take place Saturday, September 21 from 8 a.m. to 12 Noon. More than 1,500 volunteers will take part in done-in-a-day improvement projects such as painting and landscaping at 50-plus Metro Nashville Public Schools, greatly enhancing learning environments for both students and teachers alike. Following the school projects, all HON volunteers are invited to attend the CMT One Country Celebration at The Listening Room Café for a complimentary lunch, free entertainment, and door prizes. Learn more about HON Day 2013 and how you can participate at: www.HON.org/honday.

Serving as a Volunteer Leader at Backfield In Motion

JaxSeniorGuest Post by Jackson Oglesby
HON Youth Volunteer

Jackson Oglesby, a recent MLK Magnet High School graduate, has been a youth volunteer leader for the past year, leading a weekly four-hour tutoring project with Backfield In Motion.

The first time I volunteered with Backfield in Motion, a local mentoring program, I was in awe. When I initially signed up to mentor 80-plus middle school-aged boys, I prepared myself for craziness. Reflecting on my own middle school experience, I expected to walk into a chaotic room.

To my surprise, upon my first hour working with the kids, I discovered that these boys were not only incredibly polite, but also extremely eager to learn. Seeing how they acted in a classroom environment, I realized that they were more mature than a lot of my high school classmates!

After three years of dedication to Backfield in Motion, I can say that these are some of the best kids I have ever seen. Every Saturday the boys came in prepared and ready to participate. They cleaned up after themselves and were extremely respectful in the classroom. In the course of the three years I volunteered with Backfield, there were few instances where I witnessed a crazy classroom. For the most part, these kids were the perfect students. In fact, most Saturdays, I was the one who felt unprepared. It was a major challenge to re-learn a lot of the course material I hadn’t studied since my own middle school days.

Inside and outside of the classroom, the kids treated me with as much respect as one of their teachers. Not only did they listen to me when I offered individual help, but they also included me in personal conversations outside of the classroom. Volunteering with Backfield not only gave me a new-found respect for teachers, but also helped me to realize how beneficial and essential programs like Backfield are to making positive changes in the community.

>Click here to learn more about HON volunteer projects for youth and teens!

Introducing the 2013-2014 Urban Agriculture Fellows

This unique service-learning opportunity places ten awesome high school students at nonprofit gardens across Nashville. After a highly competitive application process, ten outstanding teens were selected to serve as the Urban Agriculture Fellows of 2013. Without further ado, here are our new Fellows!
akhila_fellowAkhila Ashakan is a junior at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School. She enjoys volunteering and helping out in her community. Her passion is writing. She looks forward to working at Hands On Nashville this year.
alexAlex Benick is a senior at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School. He enjoys writing and playing music in bands around Nashville as well as reading casually in his leisure time. On most days you can find him sitting in Fido drinking Chai Lattes.
Carson_fellow_2013Carson Thomas is a junior at the University School of Nashville. She interned over the summer at HON’s Urban Farm, leads USN’s environmental club, and is a member of USN’s Student Sustainability Initiative. In addition to writing and listening to music, Carson also enjoys long walks on the beach.
Emma_fellow_2013Emma Fischer is a junior at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School. She enjoys gardening, carpentry, writing and spending time with friends. She spent the past summer as an Apprentice at the Urban Farm, while working lights at the Nashville Children’s Theater. Go Royals!
emily_fellowEmily Kerinuk is a senior at Father Ryan High School. She is the new captain of the Irish bowling team and spent the month of June at Tennessee’s Governors School for the Humanities. Her favorite animal is the sea turtle and she loves hiking.
katherine_fellow_2013Katherine Knowles is a senior at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School and is an event organizer for her Environmental Action Club. She is passionate about music, cooking, books, nature, and helping others. Katherine aspires to be a sustainable systems designer on a city-scale.
maddyMaddy Underwood is a junior at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School. She regularly visits The Nashville Farmers Market and is part of a community supported agriculture program. She loves to volunteer and is eager to use her love of design and interest in urban renewal to help out the community.
Sara_FellowSara Shaghaghi is a senior at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School and was a fellow in the Urban Agriculture Spring Fellowship. She enjoys volunteering and helping others. Sara hopes to one day open an urban farm in a community in Costa Rica in order to give back to the environment and she cannot wait to work with Hands On Nashville this year.
shu_fellowShu Zhang is currently a senior at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School. She loves to read and make crafts, and she is curious about how she can help the community. Shu hopes to own a chicken and a dog one day.
simonSimon Cooper is excited to be starting his sophomore year at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School. He is also ecstatic to be participating in HON’s Urban Agriculture fellowship this year. Simon loves to learn new things and stay as busy as possible, and his interests include swimming, current events, and architecture.

VolunTEEN: My Last Day as a HON Youth Leader

Guest Post by Emily McAndrew
HON VolunTEEN Summer Youth Leader

Emily headshotEmily McAndrew, a rising junior at Merrol Hyde Magnet School, is one of the four inaugural Summer Youth Leaders. During the four summer service weeks this year, Emily led service learning opportunities that address hunger.

On July 18, I led my last project with Hands On Nashville at St. Luke’s Community House. Although bittersweet, it was one of my best projects because it reminded me why I wanted to give my summer to service in the first place.

At St. Luke’s, we helped both senior citizens and preschoolers. My team consisted of a group of three high school boys and they were amazing! They were constantly making jokes and putting smiles on everyone’s faces. Seeing the boys make everyone smile made me realize that service is not always about just getting the job done, but also about making an impact and connecting with others.

Much like my internship, the three hour project went by much too quickly. I wish I had more time to cherish with this organization and the people involved in it, but I have gained immeasurable experience and hope that I have taught Nashville’s youth about the value of service learning too.

Thanks to everyone who has been involved in my amazing summer with Hands on Nashville!

Learn more about HON’s VolunTEEN program here

Emily_blog_3_pic
Emily’s service work at St. Luke’s Community House included plenty of smiles!

VolunTEEN: Not Simply a Chore

ferriss headshot1Guest Post by Ferriss Bailey
HON VolunTEEN Summer Youth Leader

Ferriss Bailey, a rising senior at Montgomery Bell Academy, is one of the four inaugural Summer Youth Leaders. During the four summer service weeks, Ferriss leads service learning opportunities that address the environment.

The BELL Garden at Bellevue Middle School is a large, educational garden that is run by Liz Meeks and sustained with volunteer help. The garden contains more plants than most people even know exist, and it is a wonderful educational tool for students. However, it takes a substantial amount of work to keep it lush and thriving.

In my time as a Summer Youth Leader, I have been fortunate enough to lead four projects at BELL with volunteers of all different ages and backgrounds. Together, the volunteers and I enjoyed weeding, harvesting, and sometimes, even eating in the different beds.

One project particularly stands out in my mind when I think of my time at Bell. I was leading four volunteers, all of whom were around my age. We worked extremely hard, but it seemed like nothing! While we worked, we talked about our different schools and told funny stories, and by the end we had become great friends.

Certain projects like BELL can be extremely hard, especially when you are working in the hot sun. However, BELL and the other challenging projects are not simply a means to an end, but a great way to meet amazing people while doing important and impactful work.

Learn more about HON’s youth leader programs here!

Liz Meeks teaches volunteers how to properly water plants at the BELL Garden.
Liz Meeks teaches volunteers how to properly water plants at the BELL Garden.

VolunTEEN: A Meal Ready to Serve

Corey headshotGuest Post by Corey Wu
HON VolunTEEN Summer Youth Leader

Corey Wu, a rising junior at John Overton High School, is one of the four inaugural Summer Youth Leaders. During the four summer service weeks, Corey leads service learning opportunities that address homelessness.

Spending time at The Nashville Food Project (TNFP) has made me really appreciate individuals who devote their time and effort in the name of helping the less fortunate. Their organization is a fairly new one compared to Hands On Nashville. However, TNFP’s presence in the Nashville area is a successful one that I deeply admire.

TNFP is a nonprofit organization that is solely dedicated to feeding the hungry and the needy. The Food Project’s main customers are people who are living in assisted government housing and people who are struggling to make ends meet. They keep their organization running by maintaining a garden full of fresh vegetables and purchasing nearly-expired food items by the pound for discounted prices. They cook their purchased produce as soon as possible, and all of the meals and dishes are created by their dedicated chefs and, of course, our volunteers.

Leading a group of volunteers at their location gives everyone a large range of tasks to do. Whether it is washing collard greens or cutting roasted chicken, every volunteer has something to do during the two hours of work. Many of the volunteers, especially the younger ones, enjoy getting their hands dirty in the garden. Personally speaking, I enjoy baking brownies and cutting the poultry just because it makes me feel like a chef.

Determination and compassion are two adjectives that I think of when describing the folks at TNFP. After a long day of cooking and preparing, their hard work truly pays off when they deliver their homemade goods to grateful individuals.

Learn more about HON’s VolunTEEN program here!

corey.wheelchair ramp
Corey hard at work constructing a wheelchair ramp.