Written by: Meg Provenzale
Anna Claire Bowen has been named Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month. Anna Claire owns her own private practice and works as a Marriage and Family Therapist. On top of her career, she has dedicated much of her time to organizations such as the Junior League of Nashville (JLN), Sexual Assault Center, Youth M.O.V.E. National, LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.
From an early age Anna Claire has always had a passion for helping her community. Recollecting on the first time she volunteered at her small town’s local food pantry, she explained the moment she realized she loved giving back. “I just remember that feeling I got when I [volunteered], that warm fuzzy feeling. Ever since then I’ve been trying to catch that feeling. That’s how I got involved and something that is innate to me now.”
Residing in Nashville for almost 14 years, Anna Claire emphasized the city’s need for volunteers, “There are over 750 non-profit organizations just in Nashville; that doesn’t include Metro Nashville. It’s difficult not to get involved and do volunteer work.” With a schedule as busy as hers, Anna Claire advises people wanting to volunteer to reach out to non-profits even if their contributions are as simple as stuffing and mailing envelopes or helping with behind the scenes projects.
Anna Claire explains that helping others, enables her to grow individually as well as professionally, “I can honestly say it has never been a tiring endeavor to follow my passions of giving of myself, it ends up being some type of personal or professional development.”
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 Anna Claire, Doing Good, or other volunteers, visit the website www.DoingGood.tv or @DoingGoodTV on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube
Doing Good is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides marketing and public relations tools, resources, and opportunities to nonprofit and government agencies to celebrate their volunteers. www.DoingGood.tv
Pam Lewis says that volunteering and giving back was instilled in her as a kid by both of her parents, especially her dad who, as one of eleven children, had a compassionate heart for the common guy. “Both he and mom gave back to their church and community, various charities over the years, and always tithed,” she said. “I was taught to be frugal, work hard, set goals and succeed, but not to be obsessed with possessions. My mom, now 77, still volunteers at her local hospital, so I guess it’s just in my DNA.”
She related a story about how her father drilled home the message that every person is worthy. “After visiting an amazing exhibit of Vincent Van Gogh paintings in New York City,” she said, “my dad intentionally drove us through the Bowery, only a few blocks away from the art museum to show us the Bowery bums and to remind us that ‘there but by the Grace of God go I.’ I’ve never forgotten that trip.”
In addition to running her Music Row media company in Nashville, Pam is involved in a number of local charities and public service organizations. She served as Alderman for the City of Franklin and sat on the Planning Commission, Historic Zoning Commission and numerous other committees while in office. She currently serves on the Battlefield Commission and the Housing Commission in Williamson County. She also serves on the Tennessee Preservation Trust and First Lady Andrea Conte’s You Have the Power Boards of Directors, and her office does pro-bono work for various charities and causes like Crossroad Campus and Emmylou Harris’ Bonaparte’s Retreat and her upcoming concert, Woofstock.
But Pam’s favorite volunteer work is with the BRIDGES Domestic Violence Center of Williamson County and the Tennessee State Museum.
BRIDGES is the only domestic violence center in the county. And even though Williamson County is considered a wealthy community, “I’ve seen that domestic violence transcends a family’s economic situation,” Pam said. BRIDGES serves women, men, and their children affected by domestic violence, ensuring a safe transition to successful independent living through education, intervention, and case management.
Pam’s work at the Tennessee State Museum supports her interest in children and in the humanities. “I love working with this organization because it’s free to the public and especially to school children from across the State. The State Museum bridges their classroom work to the real people who created the works of art, to their/our forbearer’s who experienced life in a different era, and to those men and women who fought many different battles for noble causes including the Civil War and for Civil Rights. It brings history and art alive and it creates a sense of community pride!” she says. Pam’s dream is to help build a new State Museum where more of the artifacts owned by the museum can be exhibited.
Another way Pam is working to help children understand their heritage is through her work to restore the Flagg Grove School which was moved to the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tennessee in 2012. The school was an African-American school built at Nutbush, Tennessee in 1889. It began as a subscription school where each student paid $1 per month to attend. The money was used to pay the teacher. Singer Tina Turner attended the school as a child. Since moving to Brownsville, with the generous donations of materials and a lot of volunteer labor, the building has been stabilized and “put in the dry.”
Pam has created a personal foundation and is working with the “Friends of the Delta Heritage Center” to raise $75,000 to restore the inside of Flagg Grove School building to make it presentable as an interpretive center for Early African-American education as well as highlighting the students who attended, such as Tina Turner. She invites you to get more information about the project at http://www.westtnheritage.com/flagggrove.html.
Doing Good is pleased to recognize Pam Lewis, a resident of Williamson County, as the Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month for August.
Is Volunteering in your DNA? Who has influenced you to volunteer? Please join the conversation.
Doing Good is a new organization committed to promoting volunteerism in Metro Nashville by telling the stories of local volunteers through various media, including radio, television, print and the Internet. By educating and inspiring others about volunteerism, Doing Good seeks to increase volunteer involvement.
Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month is a free program produced by Doing Good. Nominations may be submitted to recognize any Nashville area volunteer for the good they do in the community.
Doing Good services are free to non-profit and government agencies.
Volunteer of the Month nominations and donations to Doing Good are accepted at www.DoingGood.tv.