Tag Archives: volunteer

How to help Kentucky flood survivors

With historic flood damage and brutal heat affecting those in Eastern Kentucky, we know Nashville is looking for ways to help.

YAIPack Outreach, a member of the Nashville VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), is collecting donations for survivors and first responders at 1255 Paradise Hill Road, Clarksville, TN.

Inspiritus, also active in the Nashville VOAD, is looking for volunteers willing to travel to Kentucky to offer aid. Those interested in this opportunity can contact Sherry Buresh at 859-353-2243 or email her at sherry.buresh@weinspirit.org.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (center) met with Inspiritus volunteers at the Volunteer Reception Center in Wayland Floyd County to provide encouragement to responders and survivors alike. (Photo by Inspiritus)

The Inspiritus Disaster Response team is currently on the ground in Eastern Kentucky running the Volunteer Reception Center and coordinating volunteer efforts.

Other local organizations offering relief are The FootPrint Project, Kentucky Red Cross, and the Christian Appalachian Project. They need monetary donations, as well as volunteers.

This is a reminder that disasters can occur without warning. Hands On Nashville and our partners are always preparing for whatever may come our way.

Volunteer to support student success this school year!

Davidson County students are heading back to school next week, and our education partners could use your help! Mentor students, lead field trips, or organize classrooms — there are all kinds of ways to help! Keep scrolling for just a few of our suggestions, and learn how you can help make this school year the best one yet!

Read with preschoolers during a weekly storytime
King’s Daughters Child Development Center

When: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through November

Visit preschoolers at a local child development center and read them stories! This quick volunteer opportunity only takes about 30 minutes. Volunteers can spend a quick visit with the kids, or read for multiple classes.

Create informative videos to educate students virtually
PENCIL
When:
Ongoing through December

Pick a topic surrounding elementary-level reading, middle school STEAM classes, or high school career readiness and preparation, and using your cell phone create a short, informative video for students! Videos can be between five and 15 minutes, and be simple and fun. Help PENCIL keep students engaged through virtual learning.

Educate kids during field study visits to the farm
The Land Trust for Tennessee
When:
9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13

Attend orientation with The Land Trust for Tennessee to begin hosting field trips when kids visit the farm! Volunteers will lead activities stations about trees, the history of the farm, gardening, the animals, and how to compost.

Offer field trip support to school groups visiting the museum
National Museum of African American Music
(NMAAM)
When: Ongoing through December

NMAAM volunteers will assist with chaperoning school-age students during field trips to the museum. Volunteers will engage with students and support logistics, group management, and enforcing safety protocols. Field trip support volunteers may help with facilitating school lunches and providing cleanup after.  

Provide academic and social-emotional support to elementary school students
FiftyForward
When:
Ongoing through December

FiftyForward is looking for adult volunteers age 55 and older to assist with their Friends Learning in Pairs (FLIP) tutoring program. Volunteers will serve as tutors and lunch buddies at partner schools and are an important part of helping students succeed.  FLIP tutors serve once or twice a week for approximately two hours at a time, meeting one-on-one with up to four students. 

Oversee play time and help with children’s homework
Begin Anew
When:
Ongoing through November

Volunteer as a children’s program volunteer and help children with their homework when needed; oversee playtime and facilitate enrichment activities, and lead bible study programming. Volunteers are needed at the Franklin and Nashville locations.

Tutor students through an accelerated scholars program
PENCIL
When:
Ongoing through December

The Accelerating Scholars program is recruiting community volunteers to tutor more than 7,000 MNPS students who need a little extra help and personalized support, especially in elementary reading or middle school and high school math. Volunteers provide support in three, 30-minute-long virtual tutoring sessions every week ​​during the fall semester beginning September 19.

Help with light maintenance and storage organization projects at a local center
YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee
When: Ongoing through January 2023

Help the YWCA with cleaning, maintaining the grounds, storage organization, donation sorting, and more! The YWCA helps families leave abusive households and start new lives. We provide free HiSET education to men and women and mentor middle & high school girls and boys in some of Nashville’s toughest neighborhoods. 

Tutor students to take the GED
Begin Anew
When:
Ongoing through November

Begin Anew is looking for volunteers to commit to a one-hour weekly tutoring session with adult learners preparing to take their GED! Subjects include math, reading, writing, social studies, and science.  Instruction is offered one-on-one or in small groups. 

Work in the gardens at Glencliff High School
Metro Nashville Public Schools
When: 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, and Sept. 24

Learn techniques for growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and other common vegetables, install drip irrigation, sow and harvest the plants, and more at Glencliff High School. All produce is harvested and distributed to local families or marketed and sold by students as part of their school-based enterprise. Proceeds benefit activities and trips for the school’s FFA chapter.

Become a volunteer reading tutor for students grades K-5
Y-CAP YMCA
When:
Ongoing through December

Virtually tutor young readers who are currently reading below their grade level. Volunteers will work with children in kindergarten through fifth grade to improve their literacy and comprehension skills. The YMCA offers a straightforward training process to ensure volunteers are ready to get reading.

Cut out materials for teachers to use in the classroom
PENCIL
When:
Morning and afternoon shifts available on Wednesdays

Use die-cut machines to create flashcards and other resources for teachers to use this coming school year. PENCIL provides a free resource center for teachers to shop and help stock their classrooms for a year of learning.

Encourage and mentor students through multiple learning programs
Begin Anew
When:
Ongoing through November

Work with students on a weekly basis to build relationships and encourage them as they work through HSE (High School Equivalency) programs, learn English, or complete computer and job skills training.
(Mentors also needed in Madison or Franklin!)

Savage volunteers at Shelby Park

Another great volunteer project completed with Friends of Shelby Park! Five hundred #SavageStrong volunteers came out on June 24 to build picnic tables, assemble fences, and help beautify the park! We’re so grateful for all their hard work! Please see the pictures below for an overview of the day.
Photos by Ademola Ogunnaike.

Want to volunteer with your team? Learn more here!

Lori Shinton, the CEO of Hands On Nashville and Board Chair with Nashville VOAD, talks with a volunteer following the March 2020 Tornado.

A word from our CEO: How Nashville’s volunteer group is prepared to support city through any disaster 

When tornadoes ripped through Tennessee in the middle of the night on March 3, 2020, the devastated Nashville community scrambled to respond. Helpers came out in droves with chainsaws, supplies, food, and donations. Hands On Nashville alone saw more than 20,000 volunteers in the week after the tornado.   

Lori Shinton, CEO of Hands On Nashville and Board Chair of Nashville VOAD.

The city relies on me, as the CEO of Hands On Nashville, and my team to lead volunteer efforts after a disaster. It’s what we do.  

Following the tornado, we immediately snapped into action to lead these efforts – our first disaster response effort since 2010. Our 15-person team worked around the clock to connect volunteers with needed resources. We were inundated with emails, phone calls, and walk-ins from folks wanting to or needing help. For a week, we had about 30 – 50 administrative volunteers helping us with all those things, often late into the evening. It was a challenging, heartfelt, and sometimes chaotic effort. 

Since then, we’ve dedicated significant resources to disaster preparation, hiring a full-time Disaster Response Manager, and creating a comprehensive emergency response plan, which relies on Disaster Volunteer Leaders (DVL). If you are interested in supporting the city when the next disaster strikes, please sign up to be a DVL and take our free online training. 

Recognizing that Hands On Nashville is stronger when we are connected with key players in the disaster response realm, I also advocated for the reformation of the Nashville VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), reached out to key community members, and now chair the volunteer-led coalition. The group strengthens area-wide disaster coordination and preparedness by sharing programs, policies and information while engaging in joint planning, education, and training. 

The VOAD’s first activations came after the Christmas Day bombing in 2020 and the South Nashville flood in 2021. Our mighty group of 41 nonprofits now stands ready to respond to whatever comes next. We also recognize that bringing in key neighborhood leaders, including those at religious institutions and neighborhood nonprofits, is critical to the success of disaster recovery. 

Disaster response is exhaustive work, and our community has been stretched thin over the past two years. The sad truth is that it is difficult to convince people to dedicate resources to disaster preparation when there is not a disaster at hand, but disaster prep work is crucial to disaster response, and any support you can give will help us as we continue to do the work.  

Hands on Nashville is so grateful to the amazing volunteers in this city and is up to the challenge of coordinating whatever crisis comes our way. We stand ready to provide services and to support our friends and neighbors when the next disaster hits — whether it is severe weather or, perish the thought, something like a shooting or bombing. We are #nashvillestrong, and we’ll get through it together.  

-Lori 

Lori Shinton is President and CEO of Hands On Nashville and the Chair of Nashville VOAD. For a full list of Nashville VOAD member organizations, visit NashvilleResponds.com. 

Sign up for Weed Wrangle and support our local green spaces!

Join Weed Wrangle’s nation-wide effort to save our native plants. On Saturday, March 5, 10 local parks and nature centers are gathering volunteers to pull weeds and keep the invasive plants at bay.

This important work needs to be done annually so that our native plant communities can keep up their hard work of helping control erosion, moderate floods, filter water, decrease water needed for landscaping, and sequester carbon to combat climate change.
Ready to get started?

Pick a location below and sign up! Interested in learning more? Click here.

Join us next week for the 36th Annual Strobel Volunteer Awards!

After a year of significant challenges, we are SO READY to hear some amazing stories of service. We’re very excited to share that the 36th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards will feature fun prizes and categories that honor the unique service of Nashville volunteers.

Plus, the public will get a chance to vote for their favorite story of service!

ACT FAST! The first 25 nominators will receive a $50 giftcard to Hattie B’s!



Award Categories 

Capacity-building Volunteer 

Disaster Relief Volunteer 

Group Volunteer Service

Social Justice Impact Volunteer

Direct Service Youth (Ages 5-20) 

Direct Service Adult (Ages 21-49)  

Direct Service Older Adult (Ages 50+)

 Learn more about categories and submission criteria.

Make a difference by nominating!

Award recipients will receive a $1,000 gift card from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and finalists will receive a $250 gift card to donate to the charity of their choice. The public will get a chance to vote on their favorite story of service before the recipients are announced May 13.


About the Awards  

The Strobel Volunteer Awards were created to honor the memory of Mary Catherine Strobel, a Nashville volunteer known for her compassion and generosity. The ceremony, now in its 36th year, has grown to become Middle Tennessee’s largest celebration of service. 
Learn more here.


How can you serve your community on MLK Day?

MLK Day is a holiday dedicated to the remembrance and celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Making time to volunteer for this Day of Service is a great way to engage with your community while honoring the legacy of Dr. King. Whether you plan on cleaning up a public space, mentoring a young person, or assisting those who are food insecure, what you do makes a world of difference.

Below we have rounded up a list of MLK Day service projects for the week of Jan. 17-24. To view a full list of HON’s January opportunities, click  here.

If you serve on MLK Day, we want to know! Share your stories on social media using the hashtags #MLKDay and #DayON. 

Collect books for donation with the Safe Haven Black Book Drive 
Safe Haven Family Shelter 
Minimum age: 15+
When: Ongoing until Jan. 31 

Want to support two causes at the same time? Safe Haven Family Shelter is collecting books that feature a civil rights leader and/or about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Volunteer by donating books to children experiencing homelessness and by supporting a Black-owned business!

Pick up debris at the West Nashville Encampment Clean Up 
Shower The People 
Minimum age: 16+
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24

Help Shower the People pick up litter and remove debris from the West Nashville/Brookemeade encampment shelter.  This is an important opportunity to help keep trash out of our local waterways and help our unhoused companions maintain a more suitable living space.

Read books with kids at the McNeilly Book Fair 
McNeilly Center for Children  
Minimum age: 10+
When: 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18

McNeilly Center for Children will need a few volunteers to assist staff during the book fair. Volunteers will help students pick books that interest them, and engage by reading and coloring together.

Remove invasive plants at Shelby Park
Friends of Shelby Park 
Minimum age: 14+
When: 1 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17

Help Friends of Shelby Park eliminate obtrusive plants that are harmful to the environment, human wealth, and/or the economy. Join other volunteers in investing energy and time while removing invasive plants. Snacks, water, and gloves will be provided. 

Maintain trains and keep visitors safe at the ‘Trains!’ exhibit
Adventure Science Center  
Minimum age: 14+
When: Jan. 13 – Jan. 31 

Bring joy to the community by helping the Adventure Science Center with their train exhibit! As a volunteer you will help staff clean and rotate engines, troubleshoot any faulty trains, and monitor the exhibit for safety and cleanliness. No experience necessary!

Beautify the McNeilly Center while learning more about Dr. King
McNeilly Center for Children
Minimum age: 5+
When: 9 a.m. – noon Monday, Jan. 17

Help get the center ready for spring by helping remove graffiti and other markings from the building, and getting the center’s flower planters ready for spring! This event will also include a discussion for volunteers about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s thoughts and teachings about education and childcare with McNeilly Executive Director, Alyssa Dituro. 

Deliver Food to Afghan Refugees
The Branch of Nashville
Minimum age: 12+
When: 5:30-6p.m. on Mondays

Volunteers are needed to pick up pre-made meals from the food bank and deliver them to Afghan families in the Nashville areas. The Branch is partnering with refugee resettlement agencies in Tennessee, and helping provide weekly food support to many of the 400 Afghan allies arriving in the area. 

Virtual Opportunities:

Tutor students through the accelerating scholars program
PENCIL 
Minimum age: 18+
When: Ongoing through Jan. 31

PENCIL is looking for volunteers to assist with reinforcing students’ learning capacities in various subject areas. Since the pandemic progress has slowed for many students, and with this transformative educational tool educators are hoping to get students back on track!

Teach English to adult learners with Conexión Américas!
Conexiόn Amѐricas 
Minimum age: 18+
When: Ongoing through April 20

Conexiόn Amѐricas is enlisting volunteer teachers for the Spring 2022 term for adult English students. Volunteers will provide 1-hour lessons two nights a week for a 12-week term. Educating experience is suggested, but not required for this rewarding experience.  

Want to make a difference this holiday season?

On this giving Tuesday, we have great ways to give back!

  1. In honor of Hands On Nashville’s 30th anniversary, donate $30 today! We also have these limited-edition, commemorative set available for $30
  2. Start a fundraiser on FB or Instagram. Set a goal of raising $300 for Hands On Nashville.
  3. Commit to volunteering by signing up today! We’ll list some great holiday opportunities here, but our calendar extends out into next year if this time of year is hectic.  

Click here to see how to set up your own Facebook fundraiser!

Thank you for all your support. We are so grateful for the Nashville community and your huge collective heart for service! 

Volunteers assist in repairing a flood damaged home in Nashville.

Flood survivors need volunteers like you to help on their path to recovery

HOW YOU CAN HELP

1. Connect with survivors who may still need support: Small groups of volunteers will canvass flood-affected neighborhoods on Nov. 12. We especially need Spanish speakers to ensure we can connect with as many families as possible! 

2. Rebuild homes with Inspiritus: Volunteers will help residents rebuild homes impacted by the flood. Activities range from painting, flooding, installing drywall and insulation. Training is provided with on-site leadership.

3. Use your skills or form a group to help with the rebuilding effort: As recovery and rebuilding continues we need skilled construction volunteers as well as groups of volunteers who can help with demolition, construction, and community outreach.





Volunteer during Fall Break!

With the leaves beginning to change and the smell of fall in the air — it’s time for this year’s fall roundup! Opportunities range between Oct. 8 – 17 and are great for college students home for Fall Break, or a parent looking for wholesome (and free!) ways to spend time with their kiddos.

Reminder: Many of our nonprofit partners have opportunities available all year long. Click the title of each opportunity to learn more and sign up. You can also find opportunities to volunteer all year long by visiting our calendar!

Pick up litter and keep Shelby Park beautiful
Friends of Shelby Park
Minimum age: 18, or 6 with an adult
When: Saturday, Oct. 9

Join the Friends of Shelby Park and your neighbors for a park-wide sweep of Shelby Park. Volunteers will be picking up trash to keep the park beautiful and keep litter out of our streams and rivers.

Share a meal with residents at Dismas House
Dismas House of Nashville
Minimum age: 18, 12 with an adult
When: Monday through Thursday, Oct. 11-14

Prepare dinner as a family (or order something in) and dine with the residents of Dismas House! Volunteers can prepare a meal in the Dismas state-of-the-art kitchen, or attend a Thursday night meal and help prepare dinner with the group.

Help prune and prep Nashville’s first permaculture park space
Grow Enrichment
Minimum age: 18, or 8 with an adult
When: Oct. 11  

Spend time as a family learning more about Nashville’s first permaculture
park. This park explores urban farming and woodlands to maximize food
production and utilizing space. Volunteers will help spread wood chips, mulch,
and transplant trees.

Sort and pack items for relief and hygiene kits
The Community Resource Center
Minimum age: 15, or 8 with an adult
When: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 

Set up production stations, sort materials (like soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste) and compile kits for distribution. These kits are then given to people in need all over the community, from tornado survivors to those currently experiencing homelessness.

Prepare and distribute food bags to guests in need
The Branch of Nashville
Minimum age: 15, or 8 with an adult
When: Mondays through Saturdays

Volunteers and their families will be assisting with guest intake and preparing and distributing food bags for guests, while the little ones can help clean and assemble empty carts.

Help improve the farm at Mill Ridge Park
Friends of Mill Ridge
Minimum age: 18
When: Fridays, Oct. 8 – Oct. 15

Volunteers will help construct improvements to the farmyard and farmhouse, which involves planting, mulching, and pruning trees; removing invasive plants and weeds; debris and trash removal; farmhouse repairs; fence work, and more.

Prepare dinner as a family to share with local hospital guests
Hospital Hospitality House – Nashville
Minimum age: 18, or 10 with an adult
When: Tuesday and Thursday, Oct. 12 and 14

Prepare dinner at home with your family, then bring the meal to the Hospitality House to share with its guests. Dinner guests consist of patients and caregivers that stay at Hospitality House while seeking medical treatment in Nashville. Meals should feed approximately 30 people.

Help deep clean and organize the reuse center
Turnip Green Creative Reuse
Minimum age: 18
When: Monday, Oct. 11

Organize, clean, sort, and find fun ways to display donations at Turnip Green’s Reuse Center! Deep cleans are held on Mondays when the center is closed to the public. This is a great way to keep shoppers safe, and keep the store organized and tidy!

Direct guests and offer assistance at the Fall Craft Fair
Tennessee Craft
Minimum age: 18
When:  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Oct. 8 – 10

Volunteers are needed to direct vendors to their booth locations, bring in artwork and tents, keep traffic flowing, and assist fairgoers as they come to explore.

Tend to the community garden and prepare for the next planting season
Friends of Shelby Park
Minimum age: 18, or 12 with an adult
When: Oct. 16

Spend time as a family in nature helping the Friends of Shelby Park prep the community garden! Volunteers will help plant herbs, weed, and tend to existing plants. This is a great opportunity to teach young minds more about gardening!