“Helping other people is what I enjoy the most at Friends Life,” says Bradley, a participant in Friends Life Community’s Day Program. Each week, Bradley and his peers participate in Friends Life Community’s Service Learning curriculum, where the Friends volunteer for other local nonprofit in the community. During Service Learning activities, the Friends actively serve their community in a way that allows them to learn valuable job skills that can be—and have been—used to secure the Friends employment. At Friends Life Community, the Friends learn to serve others, and by doing so that they increase their independence, forge new friendships in the community, and share their gifts with others.
Meals on Wheels is one of our newest community partners, and the relationship has resulted in tremendous impact on both the community and the Friends. “FiftyForward Meals on Wheels and Friends Life is a wonderful match of caring and community,” says Sharie Loik, Goodman Director at FiftyForward. “Friends Life brings smiles and a sincere desire to make a difference in the lives of our homebound older adults who need a meal delivered to their door step.” This year alone, the Friends have delivered 367 meals to those in need, directly supporting the work of Meals on Wheels, who have been addressing the needs of high risk senior and disabled populations for more than 40 years.
Through the partnerships, the Friends not only deliver meals weekly, they build relationships. One recipient said the Friends are “the favorite faces that I see every week!” And it’s not just the Meals on Wheels recipients who value the work of the Friends. Our own Friend, Katie, also finds the work rewarding. “I love helping people get food that they cannot get on their own,” Katie says.
Patsy Webb, Friends Life Community’s Life Skills Specialist, oversees the Friends at Meals on Wheels each week. “I’ve noticed that they all know how to do the job on their own and take responsibility for putting meals together. The Friends enjoy seeing the people they serve every week.”
The Friends continue to make an impact in our community in a variety of ways. Just this year, they’ve put together 190 traffic lights for Quality Traffic Systems, worked for 32 hours pulling weeds and feeding chickens for the Nashville Food Project, and set up 260 tables for Room In The Inn. In a given week, the Friends can also be found filling communion cups for Christ Presbyterian Church, taking out trash and recycling for Monroe Harding, and cleaning and sanitizing classrooms for Woodmont Baptist Church.
At Friends Life Community, our motto is, “Together, we are extraordinary,” and our Service Learning curriculum truly embodies that belief. One day at a time, the Friends are helping Nashville’s nonprofits build a stronger community for everyone.
The impact the Friends make is endless, and you can be a part of spreading this good work in the community. Friends Life Community is always looking for new Service Learning opportunities and partners. If your organization or business is interested in becoming a Service Learning partner visit https://friendslife.org/ or contact Jim Victor, Program Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.