Partying for Kids Makes Toby Lemley’s Heart Sing
When Toby Lemley moved to Nashville 17 years ago he saw the generosity of the Nashville community and began to understand the value of giving back. Most recently he used his resources as a local representative of WorldVentures to build a DreamCourt for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee.
Toby rallied his WorldVentures co-workers and his company’s foundation to raise $23,600 to build a DreamCourt for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. Most of the money came from a “Dream Night” party he hosted at the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville.
The sports court opened in October 2013 for at-risk youth who participate in programs at the Andrew Jackson Boys & Girls Club as well as the neighborhood kids. The children can play basketball and other team sports, interact socially and learn valuable life lessons such as teamwork, good sportsmanship and competition.
“The DreamCourt will give our kids an opportunity to develop their basketball, tennis and volleyball skills and learn new ways to keep active and healthy,” says John D. Winnet, chief development & external affairs officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee.
But DreamCourt is only one project that Toby has spearheaded. One year on his birthday he hosted a Hollywood Studio54-themed party with 1000 guests benefiting Big Brothers/Big Sisters programs. For a period of time he owned and operated a music venue on Eighth Avenue in Nashville where he hosted several different parties benefiting children, including a Revenge of the Nerds birthday party, music events and cook-offs for Make-A-Wish Foundation, Toys for Tots, Hands on Nashville and others. He also incorporated an online campaign to add to the proceeds benefiting Hands On Nashville so they could help more people affected by the Nashville flood in 2010.
“I volunteer because it’s so rewarding and fulfilling,” says Toby. “I’ve learned that most nonprofits survive because of volunteers. Without volunteers things wouldn’t get done. And I want to do things where I can see and enjoy the local benefits of doing good. I didn’t realize just how much fulfillment one can get by volunteering,” he said.
The Nashville DreamCourt project was the sixth such project in the country. It was such as success that WorldVentures teams in Denver duplicated the fundraising efforts of Toby and his colleagues to open the seventh DreamCourt. The Foundation is planning five more DreamCourt openings in 2014. “With Toby’s leadership, the Nashville team created the inspiration and momentum for so many other DreamCourt teams across the country!” exclaims Lori Streiff, Fundraising Director at the WorldVentures Foundation.
DreamCourts Nationwide Project is a partnership of the WorldVentures Foundation, Nancy Lieberman Foundation, NBA, NBACares and Connor Sport Court International. WorldVentures Foundation Executive Director Gwyneth Lloyd credits dedicated volunteers like Toby as the the driving force behind the Foundation. They are making a huge impact on lives in communities close to home and around the world.
Doing Good is proud to recognize Toby Lemley as Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month for December.
Join the Conversation: Why do you volunteer? Have you helped build a sports court or a playground? When? Where? Where is your heart? Helping children? Helping the elderly? Advocating for the less fortunate? Supporting a cause that has personal meaning to you such as defeating cancer, ALS, MS, etc?
Blog Written by: Karen E. Williams, a volunteer with Doing Good, an organization dedicated to promoting volunteerism. The website is www.DoingGood.tv. Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month is a free program which educates and inspires others to volunteer by sharing stories of local volunteers through media partners.