Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month for March, Britney Gannon, considers herself a lifelong volunteer having begun in middle school and high school with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Rhode Island. Growing up in a large family of four siblings, Gannon has always been interested in helping children and young adults who are less fortunate.
“The young adult phase in people’s lives is so important,” says Gannon, “It’s just really amazing seeing them develop their own identity and having (that) confidence that they maybe didn’t have before.” Gannon moved to New York after college and began volunteering extensively once there, joining the New York Junior League and Covenant House of New York.
Junior League started in New York City and has since expanded to internationally and to hundreds of cities in America, including Nashville. Junior League of Nashville focuses its volunteer work on childhood literacy and human trafficking, working with specific community partners to achieve progressive goals and outcomes. Gannon moved to Nashville about five years ago, becoming the Co-Chair of the Provisional Member Education Committee as well as the Chair of the Oasis Center Committee to oversee the partnership between the local nonprofits. The Oasis Center hosts over a dozen programs for at risk youth in Nashville. “In Oasis (Center), we may see kids who are in for a couple weeks at a time or some for a much shorter period,” says Gannon. “The challenge is being able to leave a good impression and leaving them with something positive in whatever time frame that you have available with them.”
Gannon aspires to bring some of the programs and initiatives which were being used during her time at the Covenant House in New York, such as a fundraiser where everyone spent one night on the sidewalk outside of the center with only a sleeping bag and cardboard box. “Every single person who participated woke up (with what little sleep they were able to get) with an incredible appreciation and adoration for the homeless community,” says Gannon. In her position with Junior League of Nashville, she also oversees its year-long membership training program.130 women joined during the past year. “We want to make sure all of our volunteers are properly trained and educated to best help the community,” says Gannon. “This community of like-minded women has really been a source of connection and friendship for me.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought its own set of challenges to volunteering but Gannon still helps every way she can. Regardless of any setback, Gannon realizes what she has gained from her time volunteering is invaluable. “I have gained an understanding of a world outside my own, and admiration for how much small acts of kindness can impact and leave a positive impression on someone.”
Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month celebrates all volunteers. Some serve periodically while others, like Britney, are dedicating their lives to service. All are highlighted by Doing Good which celebrates those who do good. It is the local nonprofit behind Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month. To nominate someone for this or another recognition, email [email protected] or visit www.doinggood.tv.
Doing Good, a 501c3 nonprofit, provides marketing and public relations tools and opportunities to nonprofit and government agencies – www.doinggood.tv