Love is not canceled

As I prepare to write this article, my favorite of the year, my mind is cluttered with the pandemic, politics and football. It is, after all, Thanksgiving weekend. There are traditions to be upheld. But, not this year, things just don’t look the same. It was a family zoom Thanksgiving dinner and this year, there will be no Florida State University vs University of Florida game. Something I’ve enjoyed for more than 40 years. Everything is off.

So, to regain focus, I took a drive north to a place that is filled with love. The Thistle Farms Cafe in Nashville. I sipped a coffee and visited the Thistle Farms store adjacent to the Thistle Farms Cafe. I picked up supplies for my annual Advent Coffee typically shared with a group of the most incredible women a person (me) could have the privilege of knowing. This event too will look different this year. We won’t meet at Pucketts for breakfast during the second week of Advent. The week of HOPE. I soaked up the ambience of a place whose only goal is to support women - women in recovery, women in transition, women who face serious life issues like human trafficking. I spoke with Brenda and Kim, survivors who work in the store. And, I realized I had gotten exactly what I needed. Yes, I picked up wonderful gifts for my friends. But more importantly my soul was nourished and I was back on track. I was reminded that #loveisnotcancelled and a pandemic pivot was just what I needed to get centered.

As for my Thanksgiving, the truth is, we had a great time zooming and one of my favorite local families brought by not one, but three plates, of Thanksgiving dinner. The game was cancelled back in August, but, a group of my college girlfriends resurrected the 1977 FSU vs UF game - and, guess what we won! It was the first time FSU had won the annual game in years. It was so fun to watch Coach (Bobby Bowden) speak in his humble way about the double “quarterback switch” used in his first visit to Gainesville with the Seminoles.

So, as I write about just a handful of the amazing nonprofits in our area, keep in mind #loveisnotcancelled and its okay and even great to pivot this year. From what I can see, every one of these groups has embraced the current situation. During a year where there are new and very urgent needs, these organizations have forged new relationships, thought outside the box, collaborated with other nonprofits and nurtured their current supporters.

One Generation Away

One nonprofit that I’ve seen at work in every arena, corner of the county, surrounding counties and quietly in homes in need is One Generation Away. As they have worked with other nonprofits, such as the 21st District Recovery Court, The Hard Bargain Association, The Davis House, and Graceworks - they have forged relationships with new donors. This year, on more than one occasion, Southall Farms (shown here) was able to donate a refrigerator truckload of fresh vegetables to One Generation Away. This means that in addition to canned goods, One Gen Away was able to provide many families with fresh food.

To support One Generation Away you can collect and donate goods. Porch pick ups like this one with the Downtown Rotary are easy and a good way to handle Covid-19 related issues. Franklin Noon Rotary Club has also been volunteering with One Gen Away at their food distribution sites. Volunteers to distribute food (masks and gloves required) are needed and financial contributions are always accepted. (See the ad in the giving section for how to reach out to them.)

Hard Bargain Association

One of the recipients of the largesse of One Generation Away, is the Hard Bargain Association. The Hard Bargain Association was established in 2004 to support and preserve Hard Bargain, a historic African American neighborhood, by providing high-quality affordable housing, preserving and renovating existing homes and enriching the lives of its neighbors. The HBA has an urgent great need to provide assistance for folks facing eviction or loss of utility service due to the pandemic which has caused lay offs and folks to be furloughed. Special thanks go out to Puckett’s Grocery who provided meals to neighbors in need. Hard Bargain has developed relationships with Franklin Tomorrow and a variety of churches.

Even with the hardship of the current pandemic, the HBA has a new house in the works for 2021. The new home will be located at 502 11th Avenue in the Hard Bargain neighborhood. The home will be adjacent to the historic McLemore House. To contribute financially or to volunteer, please reference the giving ad for details.

The 21st District Recovery Court

Another organization that has developed a relationship with One Generation Away, as well as, Graceworks and Healing Housing is The 21st District Recovery Court. The 21st District Recovery Court, established in 2002, has a mission to provide effective long term treatment for those in our community who suffer from drug and/or alcohol addiction. The focus is to provide resources and training so participants can rejoin the community as active, sober, productive citizens.

Immediate needs for the 21st District Recovery Court are the provision of housing for recently released participants and hands on volunteers. Giftcards for food and supplies for participants are also needed. Longterm housing and financial support of the program itself are primary ongoing needs. Please see their giving ad for contact information.

Williamson County CASA

Williamson County CASA, established in 1993, advocates for the best interest of abused and neglected children. These who have been introduced into the court system as a result of abuse and neglect in the home. CASA works closely with the Juvenile Court, as well as The Davis House and the Department of Children’s Services.

Our CASA, was the first nonprofit organization to take the plunge and host a “virtual fundraiser”. With the help of a small, but, mighty committee the Voices for Children event occurred without a hitch. Wine provided by Harvest Beverage Company and beautiful charcuterie boxes provided by Catering and Events by Suzette were porch delivered by volunteers wearing gloves and masks. The staff and a special speaker provided a great program!

CASA is in critical need for additional volunteers, particularly those willing to become trained advocates. As the effects of Covid-19 lingers, child abuse and neglect is on the rise as families face the effects of the financial and emotional effects of the pandemic.

To donate time, money or talent please reach out to CASA using the details in their giving ad.

Davis House Child Advocacy Center

The Davis House Child Advocacy Center, established in 1999, works closely with other nonprofits including CASA, The Path Project and One Generation Away. The Davis House mission is to provide investigative, advocacy, and therapeutic and family support to children who have experienced sexual or significant physical abuse. Additionally, The Davis House works to educate the public about how to better protect our children.

Right now, the Davis House is looking for funds to use in acquiring a larger space. Space is needed to create a safe space and warm environment for children. Additionally, gifts are requested for the Home for the Holidays Campaign.

Look for news about the 2021 Button Ball to be announced soon. Please check out The Davis House ad on the giving pages for contact information.

High Hopes Development Center

High Hopes Development Center has been around for almost 40 years! The mission is to equip children, youth and their families with the skills needed to achieve success through education, therapeutic services and loving support.

High Hopes is a hands on service model. The pandemic has caused great difficulty in caring for these children, many of whom have compromised immune systems. At several points the building has had to close completely. High Hopes quickly adapted to Telehealth and has reopened in a safe and responsible way. The greatest need is for financial support and the sharing the good work of the organizations.

With four annual fundraising events, High Hopes has had to think creatively to provide ongoing fundraising opportunities. Thus, the High Hopes Supper Club was born. Twice monthly dinner is provided curbside at the Center. High Hopes has collaborated with several restaurants and caterers to provide these meals. (I’ve participated in several and the food has been delicious.) Pandemic pivot for positive action! High Hopes has worked with many nonprofit partners including the United Way, One Generation Away (both in collecting for them and receiving snacks for program participants), A Vintage Affair and Franklin Noon Rotary. For more information about how to take part in the High Hopes Supper Club, donate money, or use the Center’s services, please check out the giving ad.

When the Land Trust for Tennessee realized Covid-19 was going to prevent a large group from safely gathering for their annual “Once in a Blue Moon” event, they immediately began to think of creative ways to include folks in the event. Rather than purchasing a meal, supporters received a Donor Celebration Kit in a beautiful watercolored box. The box included all of the fixings for making s’mores at home, as well as, a “bonfire play list”. Mary Lee Bartlett & Robin Puryear, event co-chairs, did a great job of pivoting and the turn out was outstanding!

Land Trust for Tennessee

The Land Trust for Tennessee, was established in 1999, with its first easement success taking place in Leiper’s Fork. The Land Trust has since protected more than 130,000 + acres of land

in Tennessee, from family farms and historic landscapes, to public parks and forests spanning thousand of acres, the work of The Land Trust has an immeasurable lasting impact on people and places.

The Land Trust typically works directly with families and landowners. Each easement is specific to the property and the family. In this process, they have worked with the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and other nonprofits to access information and local resources (both giving and receiving) related directly to the properties. Most recently, the Land Trust has worked with Williamson County to create the Peacock Hill Nature Park. Upon its opening, the park will be managed by Williamson County.

To find out about how to financially support the Land Trust or if you are interested in placing your property into the Land Trust through an easement, please find the contact information in the Land Trust ad.

Build Her a Bridge

New to these pages is a nonprofit called Build Her a Bridge. Established in 2018, Build Her a Bridge is the brainchild of Samantha DeGrasse who works for the Franklin Special School District.

As she interacted with young women in FSSD schools, Ms. DeGrasse began to notice the need for encouraging teen girls and providing them safe spaces to communicate with other young women, mentors and a therapist when needed.

Build Her a Bridge was established to provide “real, raw and relatable” support for teen girls in Williamson County. The organization has rolled with the pandemic by providing opportunities for zooming, access to podcasts and even providing a fun kickboxing workout session.

New to the nonprofit world, Build Her a Bridge has done a great job of creating relationships. They have already collaborated with Mercy Community Healthcare, Youth Villages, FSSD, and NAMI.

The group is working to install 50 mailboxes throughout our region. These are safe spaces for teens to put their needs in writing. Additionally, Build Her a Bridge has provided self care packages which were distributed through Mercy Community Healthcare.

Build Her a Bridge has a need for volunteer mentors as well as financial contributions which will be used to pay for therapy needs for these teen girls in 2021. For more information on how to give, please review their ad in this issue.

Waves, Inc.

The longest established organization in our list is Waves, Inc., Waves was founded in 1973, to create “waves” in the community for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. What started out with a handful of families has grown to support more than 1000 families in Middle Tennessee. Service is provided through a variety of early learning and adult services programming.

With the advent of Covid-19 many members of this vulnerable population, are unable to get into the community to work, receive healthcare and other services, and have social interaction.

The staff has worked tirelessly to be creative keep persons both engaged and healthy. The Early Learning Team did not miss a single day of developmental therapy.

And in a truly collaborative pandemic pivot, Waves has partnered with Blacklight Productions. With this partnership, Waves has been able provide virtual music and also dance classes. The Waves Adult Program, with Blacklight Productions, has also given new and current virtual classes.

Typically, Waves holds two fundraising events each year. In the absence of these events, Waves has started selling t-shirts. A new design comes online each quarter. Collect all of them as a souvenir of this time period!

To support Waves, please review their ad in this issue of Southern Exposure magazine.

I hope this information has raised your awareness about the many critical opportunities to give of your time, talent, knowledge and money.

#loveisnotcancelled in Williamson County!

Stacey Suzanne Watson has lived in Franklin for more than twenty years. She loves her adopted hometown and enjoys experiencing all of the great stuff our area has to offer.

2020 Partners in Nonprofit Collaboration

21st District Recovery Court

A Vintage Affair

African American Heritage Society

Backlight Productions

Battle of Franklin Trust

Boys and Girls Club


City of Franklin

Davis House Child Advocacy Center

Downtown Franklin Rotary

DUI Court Foundation

Franklin Noon Rotary

Franklin Special School District

Franklin Tomorrow

FrankTown Open Hearts


Hard Bargain Association

Healing Housing

Heritage Foundation of Williamson County

High Hopes Development Center

Juvenile Court

Land Trust for Tennessee

Leadership Franklin

Mercy Community Healthcare

New Hope Academy

One Generation Away

United Way


Williamson County CASA

Williamson County Animal Center

The Shalom Foundation

And many local religious organizations

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