The Junior League of Nashville received 17 partnership requests from 16 community agencies this year, with 13 from existing partners and 4 from new agencies. Each request was reviewed and evaluated by the Grants Committee on the following criteria: 1) alignment with Junior Leagues focus areas and outcomes, and 2) utilization of Junior League volunteers through meaningful and mutually beneﬁcial volunteer opportunities.
The community partnership recommendation of the 2021-2022 Grants Committee, presented to and approved by the Junior League of Nashville Board of Directors is as follows and totals $122,100:
1. Increase access to literary materials for at-risk children and their families.
2. Increase access to educational support programs for at-risk children and their families.
3. Identify and minimize the achievement gaps that exist for at-risk children in order to increase public support for initiatives that close those gaps.
McNeilly Center for Children: $22,000*
McNeilly Center for Children provides high quality, aﬀordable early care and education for low-income and at-risk children ages 6 weeks – 5 years whose parents are working, in job training or in school, and further provides parenting education and social services for the families of enrolled children. McNeilly oﬀers high quality, literacy focused early education programs for children living in poverty – giving low-income and at-risk children access to educational support programs that are not otherwise available to them. Proposed funding would be used to support McNeilly’s mission in the following ways: Literacy Activities and Celebrations (minimum 6), Take-Home Books and Writing Materials, Classroom Libraries/Reading Centers , and Kindergarten Readiness Workbook and Supplies. McNeilly can accommodate up to 15 Junior League volunteers who help plan and execute literacy celebrations, take-home book distributions, and family engagement activities in addition to spending time in assigned classrooms either reading with large groups or helping individual children who need extra attention.
Book Em: $14,000
Reading is Fundamental (RIF): Volunteers visit their assigned elementary classroom to read aloud and engage with the students, then help each student select a new book to become their very own. The students also receive a reading tip sheet to give to their parents after each visit. Currently, these volunteers go ﬁve times a year. Under pandemic-related circumstances, these “visits” could be done as live zoom calls with the class or pre-recorded readings. The RIF program is the only one in Davidson County that provides both books for ownership and exposure to adult reading role models throughout the school year for economically disadvantaged elementary students. The proposed funding would pay for 4,000 books at $2.50 each, background checks for volunteers, and the materials needed to provide parent tip sheets after each session. This placement could accommodate up to 20 volunteers.
Books for Nashville Kids: We would like to continue building on the book drive’s success by having the Book Drive Committee work with Book’em on the project as they have done the past three years. Books for Nashville Kids (BFNK) provides books to more than 150 diﬀerent groups in the community – e.g., Habitat for Humanity, schools at all grade levels, Juvenile Court, after-school programs, JLN partner agencies, summer programs, and more for the youth they work with. Volunteers will be able to support BFNK in the following ways: coordinating the JLN book drive, assisting with other book drives being held by companies and organizations, developing virtual book drive materials, assisting with virtual book drives, picking up and/or dropping oﬀ books and materials, making sure that JLN agency partners are getting books they need, helping with volunteer groups who sort books (following health guidelines), sorting donated and purchased books (some can be done at home), ﬁlling book requests, conducting book research – prices, books that showcase diversity, appropriate grade levels, etc., raising awareness about how people can donate children’s books, ﬁnding partners who can use speciﬁc titles that we have a diﬃcult time distributing, assisting with book drop oﬀs and purchases with credit at McKay’s Used Books. The proposed funding would allow BFNK to purchase bilingual books and more culturally diverse books than are received through book drives. This placement could accommodate up to 20 volunteers.
Safe Haven Family Shelter: $8,000
Safe Haven Family Shelter (SHFS), for 37 years, has served as the premier shelter-to-housing program in Middle Tennessee that keeps families together while facing and experiencing homelessness. SHFS outcomes span all three of the literacy outcomes: increased access to literacy materials; increased access to educational support programs, and raising awareness of the achievement gaps that exist for at-risk, low income children in order to increase public support for initiatives that close those gaps. Safe Haven’s programs support at-risk, low to no-income families with children in Nashville who are housing unstable or homeless. Proposed funding would be utilized in the following ways: 1) literacy toolkits, 2) little learners enrichment and learning sets, 3) tools for enrichment that encourageself-expression and creativity, and 4) Usborne Books for Safe Haven library. Volunteers will serve in the following ways: Deliveries to housing and shelter clients, creating ﬂash cards/putting together activities, sorting books and creating literacy boxes and food boxes, creating activities for Friday Family Fun Nights for families to complete at the hotel, holiday activities, and helping with weekend deliveries for our quarterly Books and Breakfast initiative. This placement can accommodate 8-12 volunteers.
Youth Villages: $7,500
Youth Villages’ programs focus on delivering essential needs ﬁrst, but – for example – we also provide our youth with necessary free educational services including tutoring, mentoring, college support, and other wrap-around services. We request a $7,500 grant from the Junior League of Nashville to fund 80 tutoring sessions (8 sessions for 10 youth) for disadvantaged young women, the Wallace home book club, and various monthly volunteer opportunities for the Junior League committee. Speciﬁc volunteer activities can include: organizing monthly group home activities that promote literacy and other life skills (e.g. job prep, health and wellness, independent living skills, etc.), establishing a book club for the fall and spring semester of the 2022-2023 school year, organizing a book and game drive (e.g., age-appropriate books, games, DVDs, puzzles), and mentoring a young woman living at the Wallace group home. This placement can accommodate 8-12 volunteers.
Preston Taylor Ministries: $2,000
PTM aims to provide systematic, small-group reading instruction; frequent exposure to and engagement in literacy activities; and books in the home to a total of 135 kindergarten-5th grade students. PTM is requesting $2,000 to support literacy and reading programming for K-5th grade students. The additional funds are requested to expand literacy opportunities for students attending PTM programs to go beyond the after-school time, but to oﬀer weekend and summer activities that help instill a love for reading. Junior League volunteers will serve PTM in the following capacities: helping children with homework and/or reading development in after-school programming during the school year (an English tutor is also needed at our McGruder afterschool site for middle and high school students), leading enrichment activities on Friday afternoons during the school year, meeting one-on-one with students for Breakfast and Bible Study on a weekly basis, taking students to work for 3 hours during the week of Metro Nashville Public Schools’ spring break to expose a student to positive career options and positive experiences with an adult, providing meals for students, and accompanying PTM students on ﬁeld trips or special events. This placement can accommodate 8-12 volunteers.
Aventura Community School: New partner – not funded in first year
Aventura Community School provides a unique educational opportunity for Nashville families and our school model was developed with input from over 300 parents, leaders of community organizations, and other stakeholders. Aventura has strategically chosen its location in the most diverse community of Nashville, and students will develop biliteracy in English and Spanish during the critical early years when the brain has the greatest plasticity and potential for acquiring language. Aventura will open in the 2022-2023 school year with grades K-1 and will add one grade each year to eventually serve grades K-8. The following JLN Literacy Outcomes will be addressed by Aventura: L1) Increase access to literary materials for at-risk children and their families, and L2) Increase access to educational support programs for at-risk children and their families. Junior League volunteers would support Aventura’s mission through the following proposed volunteer opportunities: one-on-one student tutoring in the areas of literacy and math during after-school hours, one-on-one tutoring for parents of students in the areas of literacy or English as a Second Language during after-school hours, maintaining the school garden that will be used as part of Aventura’s lesson plans, revitalizing the building purchased for the school to prepare for growth in the next school year, and helping Aventura spread the word and enroll new students for the next school year. This placement could accommodate up to 40 volunteers.
1. Provide educational opportunities and informational materials to key influencers to raise awareness of the issue and promote the ways in which human trafficking can be prevented.
2. Increase access to programs that can prevent an increase in the number of human trafficking victims.
3. Increase access to programs that assist survivors of human trafficking to begin recovery.
Renewal House: $ 22,000*
Renewal House is the only Middle Tennessee agency that provides long-term, comprehensive treatment and recovery support services for both the mother and her children. Most of the mothers Renewal House serves are survivors of human traﬃcking or have been forced into prostitution for access to substances, money for basic needs or simply a place to stay. The proposed funding for Renewal House would cover the following: nine dinners and a small family gift at each dinner for 50 women and children, hosting a Fall Festival and Spring Fling for women and children served by the agency, and background checks, drug screening, and TB tests for the committee’s volunteers. Volunteer opportunities would be directly related to the programming that funding supports. This placement can accommodate up to 8 volunteers.
Oasis Center: $ 22,000*
Oasis Center’s Crisis to Housing Services seek to improve the lives of young people who have experienced or are vulnerable to human traﬃcking. The proposed funding would supply approximately three months of meals for youth in our Shelter, at $3.50 per meal per youth, or cover at least two weeks of Drop-in Center meals. Volunteers will serve Oasis Center in the following ways: assembling Welcome Home Packets, Street Outreach Backpacks, and Shelter Bag Lunches. In the event that Oasis Center returns to allowing in-person volunteering during the 2022-23 year, additional volunteer opportunities would be available. This committee can accommodate 8+ volunteers.
End Slavery Tennessee: $ 17,100
End Slavery Tennessee’s mission is to promote the healing of human traﬃcking survivors and strategically confront the crime in our state. We carry out our mission through training, aftercare, advocacy, and prevention services. JLN volunteers will support ESTN in spreading awareness and educating the community on the realities of traﬃcking through representing ESTN at awareness events, providing education materials to the community and interacting with ESTN supporters through events and development opportunities. JLN volunteers will select decorations based on seasons, holidays, or events for the survivor Care Center to create a quality trauma-informed, welcoming environment for human traﬃcking survivors. Funding of $17,086 will cover the costs associated with the ESTN podcast, cost of decorations for volunteers to use in decorating the Care Center, as well as background checks for the volunteers. This placement is expected to require 4-6 volunteers.
Monroe Harding: $7,500
Monroe Harding provides a continuum of services in Middle Tennessee for children, teens, and young adults—from birth to age 26. The young people we serve are from an underrepresented community who are or were in state custody and other vulnerable young adults who are disconnected from work and school, often described as Opportunity Youth. These young people have experienced trauma. They have witnessed or experienced housing and food insecurity, violence, abuse, abandonment, and/or neglect. Some have been the victims of human traﬃcking. Because of past trauma, they are all especially vulnerable to future human traﬃcking. Proposed funding would support the following: meals, snacks and toiletries at the Youth Connections Resource Center, food at The Hub, grocery stipend for VOCA program, and transportation costs. Junior League volunteers will serve Monroe Harding by providing ongoing engagement opportunities like providing meal kits for our virtual cooking classes and serving as virtual tutors for our young people. This placement can accommodate 8+ volunteers.
* indicates a one-time gift of unrestricted funds to partner agencies founded by Junior League of Nashville in celebration of our centennial year