Monday, October 15, 2012

Visit our new site and blog!

Hello to all of our faithful readers and many apologies for being gone for so long. I'm writing to you today to let you know we're moving on and up at HandsOn. We've recently launched our new website. Don't worry, the url is still, so you won't miss out on anything. But I thought I should at least warn you that things will be different. Yes, we still have that awesome database that connects you with the billions of service opportunities in Athens (okay, not billions ... but certainly a lot!) and if that's your aim, I apologize for adding just one more click to your process. But if you were ever wondering what HandsOn NEGA really is and what else we really do and how else you can get involved, now's your chance to find out!

Since we've built this website on the platform, we've decided to move our blog over to that site as well. So join us over there, give us your feedback and tell us how you want to get involved next!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Give 5

High Five! HandsOn Northeast Georgia is launching a Give Five campaign for the month of October. We are asking all of our volunteers to "lend a hand" and give $5 to support the work HandsOn does in the community.

Every year, HandsOn coordinates thousands of volunteers for projects to improve our community. Putting helping hands to work is what we do best. To keep putting those hands to work on worthy causes, we need your helping hand. Today, we are launching our Give 5 campaign. We're asking everyone who has volunteered with us to give just $5 to help us continue what we do.

Your donation will support the expense of our volunteer database, which is used by more than 140 area agencies to coordinate volunteers. It also helps us to provide the tools needed to complete projects - like loppers, rakes and shovels. We believe that many hands together make light work. A team of volunteers can accomplish so much together. And we're asking you to please give a little and help a lot. Give 5 to keep the hands helping in Northeast Georgia. Donate here!

You can also help us by:

- Sharing our cause on Facebook
- Tweeting and retweeting about the Give 5 campaign on Twitter
- If you're with an agency, share with your staff and volunteer base in your newsletter
- Blog about the Give 5 campaign on your personal blog
- Issue a challenge to your office to Give 5

Thanks! (High Five)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hello everyone, my name is Cheryl and I am the new social media intern who’ll be captain of this blog for the upcoming months. If you've been following our Twitter and Facebook accounts you’ve probably seen some of my handy work. I look forward to continuing in the awesome steps of my predecessor Anne Marie with her Coffee and Community sessions. Also, I want to take you along with me on our journey of volunteering and social service within the Athens area community. Hopefully, you'll even join me in a couple of them! I look forward to our talks and service together.

Here’s a little background on myself and how I got into volunteering. I was born in Greensboro, Ga (yes, that Greensboro where Carrie Underwood had her wedding this past July. My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail :)). I attended Georgia Southern University where I earned an undergraduate degree in Information Technology. I am currently working for the University of Georgia in their IT department. Honestly, I got started with volunteering by just doing it. One day during lunch I searched for opportunities to volunteer that sounded interesting and here I am working with HandsOn Northeast Georgia!

I was more than a little nervous, considering my social media experience was from a Facebook account that I had neglected upon graduating from college. However, the excitement of being a part of something new and so positive gave me the courage to plunge right in. Now that I am getting into, learning more and more each day, I remember why I was in love with it to begin with. It's a way of connecting and a way of expressing ourselves. What better thing to express than a love and respect of community.

I do hope that you'll follow me on this journey. Bringing comments, advice, and just plain goofiness is welcomed (even encouraged). Stay posted for my next entry and I look forward to our journey together.

"In the desert of life the wise person travels by caravan, while the fool prefers to travel alone." (taken from )

Friday, August 6, 2010

AmeriCorps VISTA!

I hope you all enjoyed hearing from Anne Marie this summer! I think she did a great job of highlighting some of our partner agencies. As she mentioned, Cheryl, our social media intern, will be trying her hand at blogging very soon.

I wanted to share a little bit with all of you before she started. I spent the majority of this week with the HandsOn Network participating in the AmeriCorps VISTA Supervisor training. That's right - it's time for our AmeriCorps VISTA member, Caitlin, to start with us! She'll be here on Monday, so I'm spending the day preparing for her arrival.

While at training, I got to meet representatives from other HandsOn affiliates and partners around the country. It was excellent for networking and gaining a better understanding of how other affiliats do great work in their own communities! We even got to create a few posters. This one shows what my table thought were good qualities for a volunteer leader: a clear idea/interest/passion, ready to take "own"ership of projects (hence the key!), willing to work (with tools like hammers) alongside other volunteers, and understanding when to lead and when to step back and follow.

The best part of training was knowing that the great work Caitlin is about to embark on is starting on Monday! (The picture on the right is of all the HandsOn Network and Habitat for Humanity VISTAs for 2010-2011 being sworn in.)For those of you that don't know, Caitlin will be working in the four middle schools and two high schools in the Clarke County School District developing a structure and system for students to participate in service-learning. Service-learning has been shown to enhance engagement with and commitment to school, which we hope will contribute to greater graduation rates and the pursuit of higher education. Of course, even as amazing as we know Caitlin will be, this cannot happen without your help! So if you know of interested and motivated middle and high school students in any of the Clarke County School District middle and high schools, send them our way! And if you are one of those interested middle or high school students, then email me right away: Also, high schoolers, be on the lookout for the application for the Athens Volunteer Fair, which will be on the UGA campus in September.

As always, don't forget to keep an eye on our facebook and twitter accounts for all news HandsOn!

In service,

Friday, July 30, 2010

Good bye yellow brick road

Well, this concludes my tour of Coffee and Community. Thank you for going along on the ride with me. I hope you all and HandsOn Northeast Georgia continues to do great things! With one closing door, there is always an opening window. Our new social media intern will be taking over the blog and you should be hearing some very interesting things from her very soon.

Thanks again for your time and thanks to all the agencies that participated!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Coffee and Community session 3

Welcome to our third and last installment of Coffee and Community. I set down with Michelle Rabold at Jittery Joe's to discuss what True Love Canine Rescue is up to.

True Love Canine Rescue (TLCR) started in 2008 with Michelle and her husband taking in dogs that were abandoned or abused. As they started to take in more dogs, it began to get expensive to feed, shelter, and provide medical visits for the dogs. Soon after taking on a lot of dogs, TLCR joined the Nonprofit Development Alliance at Community Connections, where they were sponsored by Community Connections under their 501( c)3. A 501 (c )3 are the legal papers that establish a nonprofit. As TLCR has become more developed and established, the organization became our partner for TeamServe, an opportunity for businesses and groups to serve together.

So, what does TLCR do? Exactly what you think they would do. TLCR takes in dogs that have been in shelters for extensive periods or abandoned dogs. The TLCR organization trains special dogs to increase their adoptability and in the long run, ensure a permanent loving home. How do they do this, you may ask? Through a positive reinforcement training of basic skills like creating better reactions to a leash; then, eventually, walking on a leash will increase the social skills and adoptability of these particular dogs.

What the organization really needs, are sponsors. TLCR foots the bill (including a crate and supplies) for the well-being of the dog, but while that special dog is undergoing training he or she needs the comfort of a warm home. Sponsors have to fill out an application and go through a home check to make sure they are the right fit. Additionally, sponsors can help with behavior problems by reinforcing good behavior taught by the trainers.

It has been a busy summer for TLCR as they are going through the process of filing their own 501 (c) 3 –trust me it is no easy task! The TLCR is also having a garage sale on July 24 and all of the proceeds fund the rescue organizations. Donations for things to be sold are still under way and everything that is left over from the yard sale will be donated to the Potter house. This fall the TLCR is adopting a class at Clarke Middle School. The class will develop teamwork around a spay and neuter program. Additionally, Michelle’s next dream is to develop a therapy dog to take to hospitals. Not to mention the annual Pedal for Paws 5k, a doggone good time (I had to do it). TLCR is taking sponsors for the race and individuals can sponsor particular dogs, contact Michelle at or visit the TLCR website at

Ah, the audience participation portion of the evening– well afternoon. We need your help in developing our blog! What are your thoughts of the Coffee and Community sessions? Are there questions unanswered? Perhaps, an over looked organization? Post your answers and one winner will be chosen at random for a surprise gift!

Again, the food featured in the blog can be found on my website ( and the coffee featured is still the Honeysuckle Latte (If it is not broke; don’t fix it).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Coffee and Community session 2

This particular session of coffee and community took place at Butterfly Dreams Farm with Cat Thompson. The farm is the most visually stimulating, prettiest piece of land I have ever seen. The trail leading to the farm itself is decorated with beautiful painted butterflies with names of campers on it. Right away I was moved, I may be a complete sap, but I was very much moved.

Butterfly Dreams farm is a therapeutic ridding and Hippotherapy clinic for children and adolescents with severe physical, mental and emotional disabilities. Hippotherapy is a medical model that assists with teaching children 2 and older how to hold their head up, walking, and other basic life skills, while therapeutic ridding can provide more social skills and basic riding lessons.

I personally feel like this is such a fun agency because, as a volunteer, there are so many opportunities. You can do practically anything from working with kids to caring for the grounds. We did a family serve at Butterfly Dreams by clearing paths and removing branches. However, there is so much more to do than that. For every Hippotherapy session, the farm needs three volunteers to help the therapists: two to help support the child and one to lead the horse. In therapeutic riding, they need volunteers every time children go out in the ring to ride. It really is so varied what you can do as a volunteer. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer the next volunteer training session is September 10th.

The farm currently has seven horses in use for therapy and riding sessions with one more on the way. Butterfly dreams gets most of its horses on loan and a couple were donated. They get tons of offers for horses, which completely surprised me. However, these horses have to be completely gentle and not scared of anything so they only take 1 out of every 20 they get offered. Cat once had a tree fall right next to a riding ring with a child on a horse. The horse did not even blink -pretty amazing right? “It’s not because the farm is picky”, Cat said “It is because these horses have to deal with kids who will scream, stand behind the horse, and do everything a kid is not supposed to do around a horse.” The farm also tries all of these things when a horse is up for a job at Butterfly Dreams. They scream and have a therapist imitate a seizure to see if the horse can handle it around a child who might actually have a seizure. America’s Next Top Model has nothing on this job application!

So, what is new for Butterfly Dreams? A horse show! The Athens Area Hunters and Jumpers Association is another horse nonprofit and are hosting a horse show where all the proceeds provide scholarships for children who don’t have insurance or whose insurance will not cover the farm's treatments. The show will feature some of Butterfly Dreams own riders. Admission is free and there will be a raffle during the show. Some of the organization’s long term goals are to increase the amount of kids they can have at one time and to get a covered arena. “That is something that we would just love to have. So many of our kids are medically fragile and cannot ride in the extreme weather or rain. We lose so many sessions that way”, stated Cat.

The Horse show is July 10th at the Four Seasons Farm at 1350 Plantation Road in Madison, GA at 9 am. If you would like to inquire about receiving services at the farm please call 706-310-1600. Butterfly Dreams farm can also be found on the HandsOn Northeast Georgia website.

The coffee featured in this session was Jittery Joe's Honeysuckle Latte and any food feature on the blog can be found at my personal site: