Jena grew up with a mother who lived by the Golden Rule. With her mom as a role model and the love of her family, Jena’s lifelong passion became caring for others. This young professional lives out her passion of serving others through volunteering, so Doing Good celebrates her as this month’s Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month.

Her earliest memory of volunteering is with Key Club in high school. These hands-on and leadership experiences laid the foundation for her to choose a career in service. Soon after college, she served as an AmeriCorps Member – like the Peace Corps, but within the United States. The climax of her experience was serving as a first responder to the catastrophic EF-5-rated tornado which tore apart Joplin, Missouri in May, 2011. The experience revealed her skills and mindset for crisis management.

Her career goals mirrored her personal passion – to serve others. She has now worked in nonprofits over ten years. Notably, each position has involved directly or indirectly managing volunteers. Today she has worked more than three years with Nashville CARES and is the Community Engagement and Volunteer Manager. She passionately says, “Everyone has a cause, something dear to them,” and she views volunteering as “an easy way to translate” that passion into action. Through work, she reminds volunteers they are not simply completing a task, but “also becoming an advocate for the organization!”

In her free time, this all-American makes time to volunteer for Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRCC) where she teaches English online and bakes for bake sales which benefit TIRCC and The Equity Alliance. She also volunteered earlier this year for Hands On Nashville when the EF-2 tornado ripped through the community. Her prior tornado experience and training allowed her to help create organizational systems, processes, and trainings for volunteer leaders to support the Hands On Nashville staff.

Whether it’s the unique skill of leading on the edge of trauma or teaching her native language, “I just want to know I’m being effective and helping out.” This is an understandable desire for most volunteers, and her genuine heart for others is the reason she is celebrated. Everyone has something to offer, and as Jena says, “Everyone has a cause, something dear to them.” Fortunately, sometimes it is as simple as the Golden Rule. Regardless, Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month celebrates those who are able to define the passion and take action through volunteering. To nominate someone for this or another recognition, email [email protected] or visit

Megan McInnis

Doing Good, a 501c3 nonprofit, provides marketing and public relations tools and opportunities to nonprofit and government agencies.

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