July Volunteer of the Month: Patricia Leonard
Patricia Leonard is extremely passionate about empowering women. In her corporate, volunteer, and personal life her goal is to “inspire women to break through any glass ceilings through leadership and contribution.” She believes that talk is not enough – we have to act in order to empower. This is played out specifically in her volunteer life through her work with Nashville Women in Film & Television where she serves on the board and Dress for Success where she volunteers as a coach.
A unique characteristic about Patricia is her ability to listen to other people’s desires and to help make those desires a reality. Whether is it giving someone an avenue to perform or by coaching someone through starting her dream business, Patricia is excited and ready to help anyone willing to step up and ask. She inspires people to chase their dreams and to pursue what they want out of life through sharing her talents and life experiences and encouraging others to share theirs.
Written by: Katie Christ
June Volunteer of the Month: Jimmy Pitts
Jimmy Pitts loves sports almost as much as he loves service. Between coaching basketball and serving on the corporate board of the Boys and Girls Club of Rutherford County, Jimmy constantly looks to improve the lives of those around him. The work of every Boys and Girls Club focuses on the underprivileged youth, surrounding them with positive influences in their most formative years.
From an early age, Jimmy remembers playing every sport from soccer to baseball with what was then his local Boys and Girls Club in Florida. He enjoyed the competition, excitement, and teamwork. Later in life the values instilled in him through the sports began shining through his life decisions. In late 2010, he became involved with the sports program at Boys and Girls Club of Rutherford County at the Smyrna location and has been coaching ever since. However, Jimmy’s passion for sports is often shadowed by his love for the children. His volunteerism is not solely focused on sharing his love for sports, but rather is an attempt to surround Smyrna youth with positive values during the years they discover themselves.
Written by: Ryan Wilson
Marilin, Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month, with some of the people she serves at Possibility Place
Marilin Kelley is spreading love in Nashville. A recent Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) mathematics graduate, Marilin is preparing for graduate school at Virginia Tech in the Fall of 2019. In conversation with Marilin, her pursuit of knowledge is apparent, however her love for others shines more clearly than anything else. From nonprofit service with businesses such as Possibility Place and The Experience Community Church, Marilin consistently works to show others love; she is a clear example that volunteerism can give to the volunteer.
In high school, Marilin was a member and then officer of a service club. Working with organizations such as Salvation Army, Feed America First, and the Special Kids Therapy and Nursing Center encouraged her more serious involvement with volunteerism. She now works as a research assistant and substitute teacher at MTSU. Despite her aptitude for more technical studies, the social aspect of volunteering does not discourage Marilin. Rather, the diversity of volunteering inspires Marilin to learn more about her community and herself.
At Possibility Place Marilin helps developmentally disabled adults grow into independence. She also volunteers at The Experience Community Church, leading part of their middle school ministry. Marilin strives to bring love into her community, albeit in the classroom, church, or learning center. Service opens doors to see people and places one might not normally experience, and Marilin is constantly working to bring love into those unreached places.
Written by: Ryan Wilson
Written by: Zac Cooper
Nashville’s March Volunteer of the Month is Erik Lindsey, a man with many passions and engagements around Nashville. Erik started his first business at 18 and is now the founder of Sound Planning Partners, a financial services firm based in Nashville.
Although there are many people who define themselves by their work, it would certainly be dishonest to introduce Erik as a wealth advisor. Erik has a variety of interests in fitness, nutrition, children, and travel, as well as an outrageous number of volunteering engagements around Nashville, including VICC Ambassadors, NeedLink, Friends of Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, NENA, Nashville Classical Charter School, as well as various other one-off volunteer events. For Erik, the “purpose of life is a life of purpose,” and there is no doubt that he embodies this driven lifestyle.
His two main outputs into the greater community are VICC Ambassadors and NeedLink. VICC Ambassadors is a group of young professionals that fundraises for innovative cancer research. Erik serves as a membership committee chair, focusing on building membership and educating new prospective members on the role of the organization. Erik works within multiple roles within NeedLink, an organization that provides emergency financial assistance to those in need. He is the Secretary of the executive committee, chair of the fundraising committee, and engages with the NeedLink community grant distribution process.
“I volunteer because I want to change the world around me by improving the lives of others. It also feels great to spend some of my time impacting the lives of my neighbors.” Erik is now campaigning for the 2018 Man of the Year through The Leukemia & Lymphoma society and you can contribute to his efforts to fight blood cancer.
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 Erik, Doing Good, or other volunteers, visit the website www.DoingGood.tv or @DoingGoodTV on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube.
Written by: Annie Low
Monica Cooley is this month’s honored volunteer because she posses the qualities it takes to be an excellent volunteer. John Wesley once said, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” Not only does Monica love and believe in this quote, she also strives to live by it everyday. Monica is kind, trustworthy, and an upstanding citizen in her community, which are all characteristics Monica believes a good volunteer should have.
Monica grew up with parents who valued loving and serving others and she has carried that into her adult life as well. Not only does she like serving, but she also enjoys being able to see the change she has made and to know she was part of making someone else’s life better.
Whether it is serving at the Global Education Center as a dance instructor or on the Board for the Global Education Center or even as a tour guide and host family for the Sri Ganesha Temple, Monica serves others without thinking of how it benefits her.
By: Kingsley East
“By letting my light shine through volunteer work, I’m able to help others have a better quality of life- no matter where they are in their journey.” Brandi Nunnery lives to make the world a better place by meeting people where they are and serving them. Brandi is involved with a multitude of volunteer work that stems from her church, sorority involvement, and family life. Brandi says, “Whether I’m raising money for juvenile arthritis, serving my church on the board, organizing readers for Read Across America, or building a home for Habitat, I’m able to show enthusiasm and passion for helping others.”
Since 1993, Brandi has worked with her sorority Alpha Omicron Pi to raise support for the Arthritis Foundation. This philanthropy is dear to Brandi’s heart, as is her continued involvement with her sorority. Brandi currently serves as the President of the Nashville Area Alumnae Chapter for Alpha Omicron Pi. As she reflected on supporting arthritis research, Brandi said, “I’ve been able to raise money, organize teams for the Jingle Bell Run, walk in the Walk to Cure and, most importantly, hear the stories and MEET THE PEOPLE that we strive to support.”
At the Unity of Nashville Church, Brandi served as a board member for five years and as the Unity Build Coordinator for four builds. These positions enabled Brandi to play an active role in her church while reaching out to the community. For instance, Unity of Nashville works with Habitat for Humanity to build homes in the community. Some of Brandi’s best volunteering memories are from the work that she did with her daughter Parker at the Unity Build for Habitat for Humanity. Brandi includes her daughter in each of her volunteer efforts in order to instill a servant heart in Parker. She encourages others to let their lights shine because anything that you say or do has an impact on the community, your family, and even yourself. By volunteering, Brandi uses this power to make the lives that she encounters better.
Written by: Kingsley East
“To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). Martin Plumlee says that he is blessed with a selfless wife, healthy and happy children, a growing business, and good health. Additionally, Martin has the honor and privilege of serving his country and wearing the uniform again in the Army Reserves in Nashville. Martin uses each of these blessings to give his time and talents to others. Martin said, “It is my sincerest belief that if more citizens would give back and pour their time and resources into their local communities, the nation would be better.”
Martin puts these words into action as he serves on the board of directors for REBOOT Combat Recovery and Habitat for Humanity. Martin is passionate about the military, and specifically about helping veterans transition from combat to civilian life. REBOOT works to build a community of support around vets while healing them both physically and spiritually. Martin’s other main passion is economic empowerment. Therefore, he serves underprivileged families by working to provide them with homes and opportunities through Habitat. Martin challenges himself and others by saying, “There are 165 hours in a week. How do you use those hours to make your little piece of the world better?”
Justin’s passion of music
Written by: Kingsley East
“I volunteer because it brings joy to my heart to give back. I was always taught to give back because sharing your time and talents can bring life to the world.” Justin Singleton brings joy to himself and others as a co-host for a non-profit radio station. He, along with two others, hosts the radio segment “Noize” on a station called “Radio Free Nashville.” From three to five on Saturday afternoons, Justin teams up with his friends to create an atmosphere full of laughter and independent music.
Justin describes his team like family, which makes volunteering such a joy to each of them. They are always trying to bring smiles to their listeners through their own passion for current events and music. Not only does “Noize” consist of discussions and humor, but it also features independent musicians. Justin explained that the artists really enjoy coming on the show because their music is broadcasted, and it’s not always easy for independent artists to be heard. “Noize” makes great musicians feel appreciated for their talent and accomplishments.
Justin said that his family motto is to give back. He believes that a million smiles is far better than one million dollars. “Noize” offers Justin an outlet to live out these ideas as he gets to help independent artists and bring joy to local listeners. Justin is passionate about making the world a better place, as he says, “I really do enjoy serving the people. Service is the greatest gift you can give back to the people. Doing good feels good!”
Coach Jermarus McInnis (seated, center)
Written by Kingsley East
“Instilling success today for a successful tomorrow.”
This is the slogan under which Coach McInnis operates his AAU basketball team, the Tennessee Panthers. Coach McInnis and his college roommate started the Tennessee Panthers nine years ago as an outlet for middle and high school boys. Because Coach McInnis grew up with mentors who invested in his life, he was able to mature and succeed in college. Therefore, he feels compelled to give back to his community in this same way. He said,
“My mindset is always, I have more to do.”
Coach McInnis sets out every day, on and off the court, with the goal to better the lives of young men. He constantly pushes his team towards championship games and academic success. Through discipline and accountability, Coach McInnis has enabled his players to achieve both of these rewards, but he doesn’t stop there. Coach McInnis’s response to boys who say that they will pay him back one day is simple. He tells them,
“The only thing you owe me is a college degree.”
A college degree is Coach McInnis’s main goal for his boys. To achieve this, Coach McInnis gives his time and money to invest in boys as they grow into men. Through weekly practices, weekend tournaments, and accountability, this team becomes a family. While Coach McInnis gets to be a part of each boy’s road to success, his humility keeps him focused on the future and everything he can do to help his players have a better life.