The Big Payback Today

the big payback

Today, in Nashville, is a big day for non-profits. Non-profits across the middle Tennessee area are plugged into an initiative through the Community Foundation called, “the Big Payback“. Through ‘The Big Payback’ website you can donate to a host of non-profits doing good works in our area. We know that non-profits are always in need of financial support, at least it seems that way. The work they do is critical to our society as they fill in niche gaps that go un-noticed or ignored by government services. Without them we would find ourselves in a much less human world.

I’m supporting a few non-profits that I’d hope you might join in with me in supporting in the Big Payback.

Project Transformation is a summer (soon to be year round, fingers crossed) reading and wellness program for low-income / at-risk children and teenagers. They set up their programs in l0w-income areas and provide reading support for children and teens so that their comprehension and skills do not diminish over the summer months. In many cases they improve. This group also provides nutritious meals and other wellness activities and education for the participants.

Open Table Nashville is a outcropping of some of the work that was done with tent city, before the floods. This group provides advocacy, relational, and step by step support to our city’s homeless population. They know our homeless. Seriously, they know them, know their story and are trusted by our homeless. With that trust and relationship they work with individuals and couples to get them off the streets and into adequate housing where they can begin lives anew. It’s a beautiful thing.

Miriam’s Promise is a adoption group that provides services for adopting families at affordable costs (offset by their fundraising support). As well as working with adopting families, MP will walk with mothers who are considering putting their child up for adoption from start to finish, and even after finish. They will also do a lot of education support around the community.

Nurses for Newborns is one of those great programs that targets families at a most vulnerable stage, pre-natal & birth. Babies have a lot of needs in pre-natal stages in order to set then up for success. After birth those needs continue, they just change a bit. I’ve always felt if we had better, or more accessible pre-natal and early birth care for each mother & child we’d have a ton less societal issues in coming years. But try and get people to buy into pro-active measures versus re-active measures. It’s a chore, luckily these folks are doing this work.

Go Now and Support The Big Payback

Ice Ice Baby

We had some investment friends give us some tickets to ICE at Opry Mills this week. All we had to do was watch a short sales video. ICE is cool, literally & figuratively. Brooks walking around was our highlight and especially the full size parka he had to wear.



Hanging with Disciples


Was invited to come share at a Disciples of Christ General Assembly session here in Nashville. Got to meet up with Brian McLaren again whom I respect a great deal & whose writings have challenged me & my faith immensely. We’ve hung out before but with our collaboration project with him & YouthWorker Circuit it seems we cross paths a lot, even though he’s interacting more with Kevin on that one. He’s always incredibly gracious with people whether presenting or conversing which makes me a huge fanboy.

Open Source Helpfulness #pcn11

One of the best kept secrets in Nashville & probably around the world is the “unconferences” known as BarCamp & PodCamp. Erin & I went to the very first BarCamp back in 2007 at the Exit In. It was a great day of learning for both Erin & myself, from iPhone app development, corporate blogging, twitter, artificial intelligence, marketing, the emergence of Facebook.. wow!

But it is more than that to us!

What was, and is, best of that & the on going experiences of the PodCamp & BarCamp’s here in Nashville is the open source nature of the helpfulness that is embraced by the mass of creative and technical thinkers & practitioners. From sitting in with some great people at these events to having breakfast or drinks on a monthly basis talking shop, family, or events. I have come to love the sharing nature that is embedded within our towns tech community.

I’ve done what I can to give back, sharing some of my different slants on technology & culture in a few speaking gigs, put in time volunteering & show up in supporting by presence. Through this I have made some invaluable friendships and a host of innovators to lean on for guidance and advice. When I had my transition from local church vocation into the larger consumer pool it was my friends of this community that provided some of my greatest tangible support.

How bout you?..

If you come to Podcamp this March 26th at Nashville’s Cadillac Ranch (right on Broadway) you might not have this immediate connection that I have benefited from over the last four / five years. But you will have the opportunity to plug into a community of people that has a ethos of not just being a Source of good knowledge & practice, but also very Open to meeting and sharing with others, and offering Help all along the way.

I’ll be there at all costs!

I will actually be doing a speaking engagement in Memphis the Thursday & Friday beforehand for my youth ministry church leadership type vocation. I am really excited about that. They wanted me to sit in on a number of panels with some very high profile leaders within the church the Saturday of the event (which happens to be Podcamp day), which would have been great exposure for my new transition. But, this community is a part of me that I cannot make any other decision but to be there. So I am driving through the late evening and then getting downtown as early as I can to, 1. get a good parking spot, 2. make sure that I do not miss a thing at this years event.

Evening with the Oak Ridge Boys

When I moved to Nashville there was some knowledge that country music resided here, but coming out of the Philadelphia area of New Jersey there wasn’t much country music in my background. So the run ins with an Alan Jackson, Brooks or Dunn (still not sure it was), and a few others I was told were country stars which was news to me has always been odd to me.

When starting work at Hendersonville First I got to know the Sterban family. Lauren was an older youth and had plugged into the theater happenings more than the youth group, but she was around a bunch & eventually came back as young adult to volunteer in ministry. Tori, the youngest started out in VBS with me. She always gave me this look of “really” and “I can’t believe I’m associating with you” which I always thought was cute. Many times I probably deserved those looks. Turns out their dad is Rich Sterban, the bass voice to the Oak Ridge Boys, who knew.. I certainly didn’t for the longest time.

Anyways, Donna, Rich’s wife, was super generous & invited us to the Christmas tour concert of the Oak Ridge Boys in Nashville. I still don’t know all the ORB’s songs, but I’m learning. A favorite moment was seeing the girls & some of the Sterban grandkids on stage at the end of ‘Thank God for Kids.’

Titans Win!

Pretty stoked to actually brave some of the cold and catch the Titans actually win a game. They’d been on a 9 game loosing streak, which even though it was a win, probably led this game to be Jeff Fisher’s last home game as Titans head coach. I just don’t see him coming back. Now let’s hope my fantasy team falls in line to bring me a win. Otherwise I’m giving the lone team without a win its first win.. Not acceptable.

It has been nice to be able to accept tickets to the Titans games this season. Usually I’ve only been able to take the offers for preseason HOT or late in the season Thursday night games COLD. It has been a good family time for Erin & myself to get away for a few hours. Not something available to us during the weekends prior.

The photo is of Chris Johnson breaking a long run to set up the lone touchdown of the 3rd quarter. More photos on my flickr pages.

Images of : National Youth Workers Convention

This posting originally posted at YouthWorker Movement

I had a really cool blessing at this years National Youth Worker Convention here in Nashville. I was asked to take photos for the convention, specifically the “Big Room” settings. Here’s a review of the National Youth Workers Convention, in Images. –gavin

Beauty in the Hard

On Saturday I had the honor of witnessing a piece of God’s Kingdom. Stacy & Michael (“Bama”) were residents of Tent City that I met sometime last year. When I was introduced to them they said they were each other’s husband/wife. No problem..

Some nine months later a lot has passed. Tent City, where they lived, was wiped out by river waters in the Nashville Flood. The city called the area condemned, which was predictable. They wanted the residents out anyways & it’s easier to keep them out then to run them off.

Moving on…

Many of the residents got a shake of good fortune when FEMA or Metro awarded monies to some residents based on a ‘dwelling’ and many got themselves into entry level housing.

Stacey & Bama recently moved into a new apartment & somewhere in the midst decided to get married. Wow! shocker for me.

They had their wedding service on the grounds in front of the Tent City site. Jeannie who officiated poignantly expressed that it was a place of life, death, beauty & hardship.. it was.. is.. This moment was total beauty. You had a grand mix of our cultures social strata watching on as God shine over these two. It was just fabulous.

You can view my photos from their wedding.. You might even be able to see it on television some time in the future.

Unmarketing in Nashville

Tonight I’m sitting in with many of my Nashville tech community friends as we meet Scott Stratten and his “unmarketing” experiences, theory, and book. The event was organized & hosted by my friend John Morgan.

Posted via email from Pilgrimage of Gavin Richardson

in support of a tent city and homeless #savetentcity

today i ran into Quita, asking her "you have a few papers for me?" and she responded with a sigh and a "yes, you know what these are all about?" myself along with my buddy jason had a nice chat with her about her travels since being displaced from tent city during the flood. she had her housing voucher paperwork and said more than a few times "it's not my permanent solution." we hugged and exchanged our pleasantries and went along our ways.

in the last year and a half God has moved me around some people that brought me in touch with this community of people i was aware of but never knew. note: as a church staff person it is rather interesting that it is hard to be with people who have no home. many times they carry with them little value to the church, except a 'mission' or 'outreach' cause. many times, those are charitable in nature and hurt an eventual goal of getting folks off the streets.

as i have been finding my way these last few months and meeting folks in the homeless community i've given my support; in small acts, prayers, needed resources, and just being to the folks at "tent city."

i've done this for a reason. i believe in a process and a place. there needs to be a place that people can land when all the bottoms fall out. if the world falls out from under me i have back ups and places to go. we are richly blessed in that manner. but many do not have those options. so there is a need for a place to land.

but that place isn't the only need. there needs to be a process and the people to help getting folks back to where they want to be. as i've been around the tent city community i believe and am seeing the people who have gotten involved in bridging relationships and helping folks pick themselves up and get back into the life they dream for themselves.

homelessness is complex and this doesn't address all the needs, but a place for folks to build from is, and needs to be, an option. so that is why i support a tent city