Archive | African-American Community RSS for this section

A Celebration of the Community

volunteer-hands small

 

As the middle of the year approaches, Doing Good takes a moment to reflect on this year’s outstanding service-oriented volunteers in the Nashville area. Local Nashville volunteers continue to selflessly give back to their community while volunteering in unique ways that express their passions and philanthropic interests. 

Sheila Habacker has been serving the Nashville community with her expertise in yoga for years. In addition, yoga has had a major impact on Habacker’s recovery process from her previous bone marrow transplant.  She believes that volunteering is her way of giving back to the ones that helped her heal.  Since her recovery, Sheila has been volunteering her time to Small World Yoga, where she teaches yoga to others that might not get the chance to experience it. 

Inspired by her mother’s example, Zarita Fears has been actively volunteering since she was a child.  She currently works as a Diversity and Inclusion Specialist for the Employee Resource Group at Asurion and serves as a board member of the local chapter for the Lupus Foundation of America.  Zarita says her inspiration for volunteering comes from knowing “the differences I have made will affect generations to come.”  Additionally, she has served for over ten organizations in the Nashville area and continues to do so in her free time. 

Camp Oasis and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation are two touchstones where Lauren Bellflower found her support when she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 20.  While she says that Crohn’s disease is a topic that isn’t often talked about, Camp Oasis, where Lauren volunteers as a counselor, allows her to encourage children to feel comfortable in their own skin.  Lauren is also serving as a board member for Tennessee’s Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and continues to serve local organizations in the Nashville area. 

Another hard working volunteer, Kaitlyn Jolley, has a passion for ensuring all students have equal opportunities for future success.  As a middle school teacher, the root of her volunteer efforts is additionally shown through her professional career.  Kaitlyn is diligently working to build bridges among nonprofit organizations, businesses, and the community in order to create a like-minded passion for providing for children in need. 

Leah Kennedy is a young but treasured volunteer in the Nashville community, and especially the Williamson County Fair. Growing up, she raised her own chickens and was involved in 4H. Now she serves as the Secretary and Vice Chairman on the Williamson County Junior Fair Board. She loves to volunteer at the fair, because it affords her the opportunity to spend time with children and teach them about a topic she loves, agriculture. “I love working with little kids and seeing their faces light up. It is the most rewarding thing,” Leah says. 

My Bag My Story, founded and run by Cara Finger, provides bags to children in the foster care system. Cara Finger, a mom of three, has a passion for giving a voice to the children in the foster care system and bringing more awareness to the system in general. She has always lived by the idea that “we can’t make all the difference, but we can make a difference,” and she encourages others to get involved wherever they can. 

This year’s volunteers are celebrated by Doing Good, a local 501c3 nonprofit which celebrates those who do good. For more information or to nominate someone for Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month, visit DoingGood.tv.

Multi-generational good

Zarita.pic 4Written by: Emerson Loudenback

“The good we do always comes back to us,” says Zarita Fears, this month’s Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month. Zarita has been a motivated volunteer since she was a child when she helped supply local shelters and even tutored other children. Just as her mother instilled in her the value of “small acts of kindness,” she has continued her family tradition by raising her daughter in service work around local shelters. Zarita has consistently made it a point to serve others.

She has been lucky, as she says, to turn her passion into her career. She currently works as a Diversity and Inclusion Specialist for the Employee Resource Groups (ERG) at Asurion and volunteers as a board member for the local chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America. In addition, Zarita serves various nonprofits in the Nashville area on her own time. She remarks she is reminded of the work she has done by a remark someone makes or when running into someone she has helped. “Even if no one remembers my name,” she says, “the differences I have made will affect generations to come.”

 

Helping Others Feel Loved Through Music Education

NVOTM.Lauranette.pic 3

Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month: Lauranette Ford 

Maya Angelou once said I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” She has found a way to put a deep truth of life to a poetic tune: no matter what we think we are saying or doing at any given moment, the way people perceive what we do is what they will remember. This quote is a central part of Lauranette Ford’s life as a volunteer in our beautiful city, one that deeply values music education.

Lauranette has found creative and impactful ways to touch people’s lives. She serves with many organizations in town, a highlight of which is the forthcoming National Museum of African American Music, which hasn’t opened its doors yet, but the entire team (of which Lauranette is both on staff in one department and volunteering for others) has been working for months to prepare a pivotal educational experience in the city where the pulse of music never ends. This undertaking requires many hours and work that is multi-faceted in its requirements, and Lauranette works hard to make sure people feel truly heard and loved through it all.

Freed Inner Beauty

Tiffany

Written by Zac Cooper

Nashville’s April Volunteer of the Month is Tiffany Love Harden, a visionary leader and inspiring presence in our community.  One of Tiffany’s favorite quotes underscores her belief in the power of positive intentions: “Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are seeds. You can plant flowers, or you can plant weeds.”

Tiffany was raised in a family environment that included drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and other difficulties. Instead of letting this environment control her life, Tiffany focused on her track and field pursuits. This resulted in a full scholarship to study Social Work at East Tennessee State University. Tiffany’s path eventually led her to becoming the first African American Miss Tennessee in 2008.

After a mentally abusive relationship with a cocaine addict, Tiffany recognized her own mental trappings and understood how she positive thinking could save her life. She went on to create Beauty Behind Bars, which is described as “a life changing movement helping women become responsible role models in their home and communities while being leaders for the next generation.” Tiffany’s life is a “testimony of delivering [herself] through God” and she strives to deliver others into their best selves as well.

Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month is a program of Doing Good, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization which educates and inspires people by celebrating the real stories of real people who volunteer. For additional information about Tiffany, Doing Good, or other volunteers, visit the website www.DoingGood.tv or @DoingGoodTV on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube.

 

 

Walk Into Your Kingdom

200.200Carleigh 1By: Annie Low

Carleigh Frazier, this month’s Nashville Volunteer of the Month, is a senior Biology major at Fisk University. She recently had the pleasure of running for Miss Fisk University and her platform was based on Deuteronomy 1:5-8. This verse reminds her that in the midst of struggle and grief, “that my purpose is promised to me and that all I need to do is persevere.”

Carleigh used her campaign as a way to help others grow closer to God. When she didn’t win the title, she remained happy for the woman who won. She was able to do this by remembering that her plan is not God’s plan.

She is able to incorporate this idea into her work with Project Transformation and the  Nashville Rescue Mission. Carleigh works with children who don’t have the best opportunities and can be frustrated. She reminds them, “You are important, you are royalty. Your plan is already laid out for you, and it is good.”

Advocating for his community

Keith McLeanKeith McLean
Written by: Cole Gray

Keith McLean of Franklin is Doing Good’s Nashville Volunteer of the Month for his work in advocating for the North Nashville community around Jefferson Street.

McLean, a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, is involved with Jefferson Street United Merchants’ Partnership, Elam Mental Health Center at Meharry Medical College and The SONS Organization (Solving Our Negative Stereotypes), all of which focus on different aspects of advocacy around North Nashville, but ultimately relate to community development.

Where does his passion come from? McLean cites his mother as one of his biggest influences. A longtime social worker, she created a school-partnered backpack program for underprivileged children that enabled them to eat on weekends. But after college, he found himself in the for-profit worlds of the music, healthcare and finance industries.

Attending the Temple Church in North Nashville, however, caused McLean to adopt the North Nashville community, particularly Jefferson Street, a hub of minority-owned businesses and predominantly black residents.

“I was looking for something to be involved in in Nashville that spoke to people that looked like myself,” McLean said. “Me, myself, I am black. I wanted to speak to something that spoke to the black community.”

The many facets of McLean’s volunteer work are making him a pillar of his adopted North Nashville community.