Volunteers transform ‘community centers’ on MLK Day

Volunteers painting the halls at Cleveland Community Center in east Nashville on Saturday, Jan. 17 in celebration of MLK Days of Service with Hands On Nashville.

Volunteers painting the halls at Cleveland Community Center in east Nashville on Saturday, Jan. 17 in celebration of MLK Days of Service with Hands On Nashville.

An estimated 800+ volunteers celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by participating in Hands On Nashville’s ‘MLK Days of Service: Protecting & Serving Our Neighbors.’ During this two-day event, volunteers completed large-scale painting and facility improvement projects at four Metro Parks and Recreation community centers.

“Nashvillians are known for lending a hand to those in need, and this event highlights the work our residents do throughout the year to make our city a great place to live,” said Mayor Karl Dean. “Dr. King’s vision of uniting communities through service lives on in the spirit of these volunteers.”

Coleman Park Community Center Program Coordinator, Angela Booker, welcomes volunteers to Protecting & Serving Our Neighbors, Hands On Nashville’s MLK Days of Service event, on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015.

Coleman Park Community Center Program Coordinator, Angela Booker, welcomes volunteers to Protecting & Serving Our Neighbors, Hands On Nashville’s MLK Days of Service event, on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015.

Protecting & Serving Our Neighbors, presented by Regions, was coordinated in partnership with Dean’s Impact Nashville initiative, Metro Parks and Recreation, and the Nashville Fire Department. In addition to the painting on Jan. 17 and Jan. 19, leaders from the Nashville Fire Department shared lifesaving fire safety and prevention tips with participants. Volunteers were encouraged to continue their service by acting as ambassadors of fire safety for their family and friends.

“We are very appreciative of Hands On Nashville and the work they have done to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities for the community,” said Tommy Lynch, director of Metro Parks. “Their help maintaining our community centers is indispensable. Our centers are more than just buildings. They are the heart and soul of neighborhoods and communities throughout the city, providing safe and welcoming places for recreation, learning and fellowship for all ages and ethnicities. That’s what social equity is all about. This is a great way to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King.”

Leaders from the Nashville Fire Department shared lifesaving fire safety tips at each service project during Hands On Nashville’s Protecting & Serving Our Neighbors event to commemorate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

Leaders from the Nashville Fire Department shared lifesaving fire safety tips at each service project during Hands On Nashville’s Protecting & Serving Our Neighbors event to commemorate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

Leaders from local Regions branches were among the volunteers present at the event.

“Regions and its associates are committed to giving back to the places we call home. Partnerships like this one with Hands On Nashville help bring to life our company’s motto to always ‘Do More,’” said Brian O’Meara, vice president and marketing director for Regions.

PPG Paints acted as another key supporter of the event by providing supplies and volunteers needed to complete the facility improvement projects.

“PPG Paints is honored to be a partner of Hands On Nashville and to help revitalize community centers in the region,” said Justin Williams, store group manage for PPG Paints. “Engaging in the communities where we live and work is part of PPG’s culture and commitment to be a socially responsible neighbor.”

Volunteer Brian O’Meara with Regions Bank painting the gymnasium at Coleman Park Community Center on Monday, Jan. 19,2015. Regions Bank was the presenting sponsor of Hands On Nashville’s Protecting & Serving Our Neighbors.

Volunteer Brian O’Meara with Regions Bank painting the gymnasium at Coleman Park Community Center on Monday, Jan. 19,2015. Regions Bank was the presenting sponsor of Hands On Nashville’s Protecting & Serving Our Neighbors.

This program is a nationally featured MLK Day of Service project and is made possible in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service and HOPE worldwide.

In addition to volunteerism completed through Protecting & Serving Our Neighbors projects, Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corps engaged more than 70 youth in service-learning projects throughout January to emphasize the important of fire safety and education within the Nashville community.

From Jan. 10 through Jan. 19, youth volunteers ages 11 to 18 designed fire safety posters to be distributed in community centers and schools, assembled care kits for pediatric burn victims at Vanderbilt Burn Center, and painted a fire safety mural for McFerrin Park.

Volunteers painting gymnasium benches at Cleveland Community Center in east Nashville on Saturday, Jan. 17 in celebration of the MLK Days of Service with Hands On Nashville.

Volunteers painting gymnasium benches at Cleveland Community Center in east Nashville on Saturday, Jan. 17 in celebration of the MLK Days of Service with Hands On Nashville.