Archive | Health RSS for this section

June Nashville Volunteer of the Month

anna claire

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

 

Advertisements

Engagement Within the Community

Erik

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.

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.

“All children deserve the same opportunities, regardless of disabilities.”

By: Kingsley East

Families of disabled children and local communities believe this truth, but it takes workers and volunteers like Annah to set this statement into motion. Annah Slayton abides by these words as she works to bring therapy, growth, and hope to disabled children. Working with a nonprofit called Special Kids, Annah’s goal as a volunteer is to give back to the community and support an organization that makes the world a better place.

Special Kids operates out of love to meet the needs not only of disabled or medically fragile kids, but also to treat entire families in Murfreesboro and eighteen surrounding counties.

“I loved going and working with the kids and seeing them smile.”

Annah serves Special Kids to make children’s lives better, and she is inspired every day by their smiles and growth. Annah is passionate about children and artwork. At Special Kids, she gets to fulfill both of these desires through service and creativity. From desk work to artwork, Annah uses her own skills and passions to help Special Kids change hundreds of lives.

Annah never thought she would be a dedicated volunteer, but three years later, her time with Special Kids proves otherwise. Annah now loves working alongside the Special Kids team to invest in children’s futures. Giving a few hours of her time each week to this organization provides Annah with a sense of purpose and joy in seeing a child grow while working with an uplifting team that lives to carry out a mission of service.

Karen Shayne is Transforming a Mood into a Movement

ImageWhen Karen Shayne finished her last chemotherapy treatment for cancer she was declared “in remission” and a “survivor.” She looked in the mirror and asked herself “What next?”  She realized that surviving cancer has more impact on one’s life than simply returning to the way things were. Instead, there are many questions, we feel different and experiences are new again.  There is a “new normal.”

Karen dealt with her questions and her “new normal” by participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life and began volunteering for the American Cancer Society beginning in 1998.  She also formed her first non-profit organization for children, called Billy’s Wish, which created materials for children with cancer in 2001.

But Karen still sensed a need to help other women cancer survivors and envisioned the beginnings of Women Survivors Alliance with an annual convention to be held in Nashville.  She went to work organizing the first-ever National Women’s Survivors Convention held in 2013 – bringing together 846 women from 49 states and 5 countries who had survived cancer with 112 cancer organizations from around the world.

The convention program was anything but conventional. It was designed to help women address issues related to their “new normal” – issues such as lingering or undetected side effects caused by chemotherapy, hot flashes, sexual dysfunction and significant self-image issues etc.  It also provided an environment to empower and give a voice to the survivors who have been given a second chance in life to advocate for themselves and others.

“I volunteer my time with my non-profit – usually 12-16 hours a day – basically all the time – to manage all the working parts with survivors from around the globe. It’s hard work,” Karen says, “but when you realize you’re changing lives, it becomes the drive that keeps you going – even through the tough times.  I volunteer to not just give back, but to honor,” she added.

“I was greatly influenced by my grandmother, Charlotte (Mama) Spivey.  She was a remarkable women and my hero.  Her hard work and philosophy of giving back were my models,” Karen said. “When I volunteer, somehow it makes me feel like I am honoring her life.  My work keeps her alive in my heart.”

Karen is living her life with a new normal and is transforming survivorship from a mood to a movement by empowering, educating and connection women whose lives have been touched by cancer.  And she’s hard at work on the next National Women’s Survivors Convention to be held at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Resort in Nashville July 31-August 2, 2014.  For more information see www.survivorville.org.

Doing Good is proud to recognize Karen Shayne as Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month for February.

Join the Conversation:  What cause has a personal meaning for you?  What are you doing to honor the heroes in your life?  What legacy do you want to leave?

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.

Passion Drives Cancer Survivor Navita Gunter

Navita Gunter Educates & Encourages

Navita Gunter Educates & Encourages

Fifteen years ago Navita Gunter was “attacked” by cervical cancer.  It was a very hard time but she fought the good fight, and today, by the grace of God, she is a survivor.  She thrives by volunteering her time to encourage those who are suffering from the horrific disease, and by educating women and young girls about how they can prevent it.  “My ordeal so changed my life that I did not want ANY woman to have to go through what I had to go through at that time,” Navita says.

Cervical cancer can be triggered by the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease called the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and it’s preventable. “Women of color have a greater chance of DYING from this illness because it is generally found in later stages for us,” Navita exclaims.  “Plus, surprisingly, in 2013 and 2014 there are still women who have not been to a doctor for female health care since they had a baby.  This even applies to those women with insurance.”

By telling her story Navita is able to provide encouragement and education. She believes the solution to eliminating this preventable disease lies in “Helping the Woman from the Inside Out!”  This is the motto of the Cervical Cancer Coalition of Tennessee, the organization she founded following her recovery.  In addition to her own foundation Navita works with the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program in the State of Tennessee’s Department of Health, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and she is a member of Gilda’s Club.

Navita volunteers at health fairs and speaks at churches, civic centers and other places interested in learning more about how to fight cancer.  She passionately delivers the message that HPV and cervical cancer have a good chance of being eliminated with regular health screenings and use of the HPV vaccine in young women and now in young males.

When asked about why she volunteers she says she hopes to show women how they can take their power back by becoming a voice for better health care and education in the communities where they live.  In some cases she’s doing this one woman at a time.

“The volunteer work feeds my spirit!” she exclaims.  “I am a better person because of the opportunity to share my story, knowing that perhaps one life, or maybe more, will be spared or improved by taking my message to heart.”

Doing Good is proud to recognize Navita Gunter as Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month for January.  “Navita’s belief in one person’s ability to help many is inspirational,” says Megan McInnis, founder of Doing Good.  January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

Join the Conversation:  What are you passionate about?  Where do you volunteer?  How does volunteering feed your spirit?  What cause has a personal meaning for you?

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.

Felicia Anchor Volunteers to Eradicate Injustice

Felicia Anchor

Felicia Anchor 

As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Felicia Anchor has come to understand that we live in a world where the random circumstances of our birth, location or class may have a significant influence on the outcome of our lives.  Life isn’t always fair.  As a result, she says, “I volunteer because I have no patience for injustice.  I believe it is the obligation of those who have overcome challenges to work to level the playing field for all.”

Felicia has volunteered with numerous Nashville and national organizations in leadership positions to create a better life for all of us by using her strategic planning and advocacy skills to assess community needs, educate the greater community about the challenge and develop programs to meet those needs.  “I have used my voice and organizational skills to develop networks and advocate for women, children and the memory of those lost in the Holocaust.   My priority has been to help girls and women learn to empower themselves so they make positive, healthy, constructive decisions for themselves,” she says.  “The purpose of my work with the Tennessee Holocaust Commission and the Anne Frank in the World Exhibit has been to give a face to the people who died in the Holocaust and to remember they were real people with real hopes and dreams who were subjected to unthinkable atrocities. We must never forget them.

“It’s easy to not speak up, easy to make excuses and tolerate different standards for ourselves and others,” Felicia added.  “Everyone deserves justice and dignity.  Providing justice and dignity for those who can’t speak for themselves has been my goal ever since I can remember.  I hope that my work has been a catalyst in creating a better life for all of us.”

Local organizations benefiting from Felicia’s leadership include the Nashville Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, President of Crittenton Services, President of Jewish Family Services, Chair of the Metro Human Relations Commission, Chair of the Tennessee Holocaust Commission and Chair of the Anne Frank in the World Exhibit.  She has also served on the Boards of the United Way of Middle Tennessee, National Conference of Community and Justice, Tennessee Women’s Economic Council Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Nashville. She was a founding member of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Nashville and helped create the “Children’s First” license plate for child abuse prevention.   Felicia is also involved in several national and international organizations.

Personal Benefits of Volunteering

Felicia says that she has gained much more from volunteering than she has ever given.  She credits her mentors who trained her with the skills to see herself as a leader, and has accepted that role with determination and humility.  Her husband has even suggested that she has received a free MBA as a result of on-the-job training and experiences.  “I feel that I am a dedicated stakeholder in working for the future success of our community,” Felicia added.

Doing Good is proud to recognize Felicia Anchor as November’s Volunteer of the Month.  Megan McInnis, founder of Doing Good, says “Felicia’s talent and executive leadership skills are as important to the success of a non-profit agency as executive leadership skills are to the success of a large or small corporation.”

Join the Conversation:  What are you doing to eliminate injustice, to add dignity and to make life better in and around Nashville?  Please add your comments.

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.