The story of how one community center's needs were heard loud and clear.
Before volunteers installed acoustic paneling in the Kirkpatrick Community Center gym in 2016, the noise level often became so loud it limited the programming and activities in the space.
“There was just a lot noise bouncing off the wall when we were trying to get instructions to kids, “said Channoty Robinson, former director at Kirkpatrick Community Center. “Every Friday we partnered with the school next door for a P.E. skating class… and the roller skates on the floor, plus the music, it was just a lot of noise – you couldn’t make out the words or instructions.”
“We also used to host boy scouts and oratorical contests in the gym, and we couldn’t do that anymore,” Ms. Robinson continued. “Basketball in gym became hard with the parents cheering on their kids, you couldn’t follow the games…I had to turn away M.D.H.A when they wanted to do a community meeting about a local housing development. We had to turn a lot of people away and we had to cut back on the gym activities, which was just heartbreaking to me because the kids always loved going.”
To solve this need, Hands On Nashville partnered with Metro Parks and two groups of volunteers to install sound dampening panels.
Amongst the group was TiAndrea Watkins. As a Kirkpatrick Center coach and someone who grew up visiting the center, she knew all too well how this seemingly small issue made a big difference on programming offered.
“The feeling that I had to support the Center was awesome and this was a project that was much needed within the gym, said TiAndrea. “The Kirkpatrick Center is a home away from home for a lot of children within the community… it’s the children that come there that I care so much for. As a child I too would visit the [Kirkpatrick] community center during the summer. So to help in any way was my pleasure.”
Since the project, more programming and activities have returned to the center and a significant difference has been made for those in the community who now benefit from all it can offer.
“It was a blessing, I can tell you that. We were able to get back in the gym and do more. Even with the gym half done – you could tell the difference,” Ms. Robinson said. “And when volunteers completed it, it made all of the difference in the world..."
"Volunteers are essential," she continued. "Without them a lot of things could not get done.”