Archive | Preserving African-American History RSS for this section

Volunteering Is In Her Genes

Pam Lewis

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.

Giving through Volunteering Brings Healing and Blessings in Return

Image

Jocelyn McCoy

First her mother died from cancer. Eighteen months later her father died.  Jocelyn McCoy was devastated.  But with time and the sage advice of a wise woman, Jocelyn found her way out of the devastating grief by volunteering.

“I was looking for a way out of the valley I was in following the deaths of my parents when a smart lady suggested that I think about taking on some of the things my mother was passionate about and that would have made her happy. That was the best advice I ever received,” Jocelyn said. “Mother had instilled in all seven of us children the value of giving and the notion of doing something to make others happy.  We were a ‘family of givers’ so it wasn’t hard to get involved.  And giving to others helped me heal.”

Jocelyn volunteers in Davidson and Rutherford Counties, Tennessee.  Her primary focus has been leading and volunteering in ministries at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, a congregation of more than 20,000 members. She is proud to be a core member of the leadership team at Mt. Zion that was the first faith-based organization to hold a Relay For Life event for the American Cancer Society (ACS).  The Congregation is still the largest faith-based Relay For Life organization in the U.S., raising nearly $49,000 in an overnight event held in early June.

Relay For Life events held throughout the country honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost – like Jocelyn’s mother – and help fight back against a disease that has already taken too many.  Jocelyn currently serves on the ACS Tennessee Relay For Life State Leadership Council to provide guidance and input for Relay For Life events across Tennessee, and works with ACS state leadership to ensure Relay events are poised for success each year.

Relay For Life involvement isn’t her only volunteer activity at Mt. Zion.  Jocelyn is also involved as a lead servant, or mentor, in the Congregation’s “Bridge Ministry” – bridging members from membership to discipleship.  “Through the Bridge Ministry program we seek to help each member find her or his passion, purpose and ministry,” Jocelyn says.

When asked about the benefits of all her involvement, Jocelyn humbly says, “I have come to understand that when I’m able to help and bless others, there is always something said or done that blesses me in return.  It’s not about my gaining anything.  Everyone needs attention, and I am drawn to the shy, to the marginalized and to the underdog.  It’s amazing the life lessons I’ve learned just by being serving others,” she says.

Some of the lessons she’s learned include the understanding that all people are different. We must respect each person and accept her or him wherever they are in their lives, she says. She also has come to realize the importance of modeling a positive attitude to those she comes in contact with, in spite of the circumstances she and they are facing.

In addition to her work at Mt. Zion Jocelyn volunteers for community events benefiting her alma mater, Trevecca Nazarene University, where she is employed as an Adult Degree Completion Recruiter. She is also President of the Smyrna Cemetery Organization, dedicated to continuing revitalization efforts of one of the oldest African-American cemeteries in Rutherford County, and has volunteered for the heart walk and other fundraising events.

Doing Good is pleased to recognize Jocelyn McCoy, a resident of Rutherford County, as the Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month for July.

 How are you blessed by volunteering?  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.