Tag Archive | Museums

Engineering Enthusiasm

Chuck SchlemmNashville’s Volunteer of the Month Chuck Sclemm
Written by: Kingsley East

“I volunteer to help inspire students to pursue science and technology interests which will improve their lives and our culture, and to educate the public about space science and space exploration and the excitement of new possibilities.” This month’s honored volunteer is Chuck Schlemm, an engineer, astronomer, and space enthusiast. Chuck has been an engineer for forty years, astronomer for twenty years, and a volunteer for decades. Chuck volunteers with various space organizations like the Middle Tennessee Space Society, Vanderbilt University’s Dyer Observatory, and the Adventure Science Center. Through each of these groups, Chuck hopes to reach a young generation of students who can shape the world and be a part of new discoveries and technologies.

Chuck hopes that as the space program grows, it will offer more people hope for the future and a positive way to find new energy sources. His volunteer work centers on making space exhibits and talking to kids about their potential and passion for learning and exploration. He said that connecting with kids who are clearly passionate about a specific area of math or science makes volunteering worth it. Chuck encourages others to use their passions to reach children and help shape their futures, as he said, “In general, anyone who wants to share their passions or career fields ought to share that with kids to get them enthused and show them how to use what they’re learning in school.”

Asha, Lori & Ghandi

MTSU Chapter group photo.making cards

 VSA Tennessee Ambassadors

Asha Patel, a junior at MTSU, was encouraged by MTSU Communications Professor Lori Kissinger to look into the collegiate chapter of VSA Tennessee. She is one of many VSA Ambassadors who serve children, teenagers and young adults with disabilities. “This past fall, the group has had more student participants than at any time in the four year history of the group. They have also had more programs and activities to reach out to the community. It has been wonderful to see the group thrive and grow.  Its success is greatly due to Asha,” says Lori Kissinger, Executive Director.

A native of India, Asha is trilingual! She is achieving a double major at MTSU in Political Science and International Relations. Prior to VSA Tennessee, she had not previously volunteered. Yet one person suggested she get look into VSA Tennessee. She did, and she “decided to stay.”

Asha considers Ghandi an educational role model. As he said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”


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.