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STARS thinks you rock!
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For the first time as an office, STARS participated in Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 9th - 15th). We showed our fellow co-workers and building companions how much they ROCK and how much we appreciate everything they do, by leaving notes of encouragement, love, and appreciation! #STARSRAK

On the blog

We've heard from several guest bloggers including Andee Rudloff, professional artist, consultant, and educator, living and working in Tennessee and Kentucky. She celebrated Youth Art month with us during March by sharing Why Art is Important for Our Youth. 

In acknowledgement of March 21st, Denise Bentley, a Nashville native, who holds a bachelor's degree from Fisk University and a Doctorate from Vanderbilt University School of Law, shared her perspective on the Evolution of Nashville and Race for International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination. We also heard from one of our very own puppets, Salimah, with helpful tips to teach Kids About Accepting and Respecting Diversity.

Student Assitance Program Logo

Student Assistance Program (SAP): added over twenty new employees since the start of the year! Our Student Assistance Program is working closely with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools to implement the Project Prevent grant from the Department of Education to decrease school-based violence and minimize gaps in support services. To learn more about STARS's work with MNPS, you can read about it on our blog

 Kids on the Block (KOB): Throughout the month of March, KOB debuted a pilot program in partnership with the Junior League of Murfreesboro and Murfreesboro City SchoolsThrough this program KOB will visit each city school within 2015. This wouldn't be possible without the help of the Junior League as well as United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties.

With generous support from the Nashville Predators Foundation, our puppets will visit all elementary schools on post at Ft. Campbell. The featured programs will be "Coping with Crisis," which deals with deployment and reintegration for 2nd graders and the "Child Abuse Prevention" program for 3rd graders. 

Services for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing LOGO

Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Students (DHH) will be holding their third annual College and Job Readiness Retreat for high school students, September 11th-13th, 2015, at YMCA Camp Widijiwagen. This 3-day event is open to Deaf and Hard of Hearing students wanting to learn about the college application process and much more! Their parents are welcome to attend the Saturday event. 

DHH is working with several new families, one-on-one, to teach American Sign Language (ASL) and communicate with their Deaf or Hard of Hearing children and siblings.

The students of DHH continue to produce fantastic tutorials to teach basic ASL. Here's the most recent video about Deaf Culture and how to use the word "do!" If you haven't already subscribed to our Youtube channel, do that now!  

Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse Logo

Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse (YODA) is excited to start their newest group, YODA-G. YODA-G is led by one of our amazing counselors, Betsy Moon. The group is tailored to issues surrounding young teen females dealing with substance abuse and addiction. Additionally, the program addresses issues of Trauma and Survival.

YODA, Art Therapy, Youth Art Month

March was Youth Art Month, we featured several guest blog posts sharing why art is important for our youth. Betsy Moon, YODA counselor shared the impact art therapy has had on some of our clients in the YODA program. Read more about that here

MOVE2STAND (M2S): visited Two Rivers Middle School on February 4th, along with special guests from the Nashville Predators, #33 Colin Wilson, and radio play-by-play, Willy Daunic. The MOVE2STAND team and special guests helped encourage the students to take a stand against bullying and change their school climate. 

M2S, MOVE2STAND, Nashville Predators Eric Johnson, Willy Daunic, Colin WIlson

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT SUMMIT (S3): much like M2S, S3 was busy helping youth across the state change their school climates. Over the course of several months, S3 held six summits and visited six different counties. 


The #BigPayback is coming May 5, 2015, and STARS is excited to take part in this event! The Big PayBack, hosted by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, is a community-wide online giving day to celebrate Middle Tennessee's spirit of generosity and support the work of nonprofits. This 24-hour online event will help organizations, like STARS, raise much-needed unrestricted dollars and bring awareness to pressing needs in our communities. Gifts made during The Big Payback will be increased by incentives and awards for participating nonprofits, your gift may help us qualify for special prizes and bonuses. For more information visit The Big Payback

Are you a KROGER rewards member? Make sure STARS is your affiliate non-profit organization! All you have to do is log in to your account & add us at the bottom of your account summary! Just type in "STARS" or enter 95043 to find us. 


Please consider setting up STARS as your “receiving” charity for any Amazon purchases you may make over the year!! 

You can use Amazon Smile rather than the standard Amazon process. If you do, 0.5% of your purchases will be donated back to STARS. Visit this link and type STARS Nashville to make STARS your affiliate charity! 


Make it official. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the lastest news and stay caught up with each of our programs! 

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CEO Rodger Dinwiddie, discusses the importantance of distinguishing between bullying and discriminatory harassment on the blog, read more about that here. 

York & Friends Fine Art celebrated the gallery’s fourth anniversary by pitching a tent and offering a delicious array of complimentary food and beverages with a portion of the day’s art sales benefiting Students Taking A Right Stand (STARS) on Saturday, March 7. We are so proud to have the support of our friend and newest board member, Ron York of York & Friends Fine Art. 

Future puppeteers: Olivia Singley and Lilly Minton! Daughters of Pam Singley and Shannon Minton visited the STARS office, due to snow, on February 26th. They spent the day watching the staff train and even put on their own puppet show about bullying! You girls are the best! 

We were thrilled to have our first inaugural event, Meet a Mentor, hosted by the Junior Board Committee. Local professionals and Nashville's up and coming leaders met for a night of connection and philanthropy at Acme Feed & Seed, one of the hottest venues in town. Mentors from an array of industries including Marketing, Sports & Entertainment, Finance, and Entrepreneurship came out to support the event and network with young professionals. 


We are so thrilled to announce these additions to our STARS family!  

Jasmine Johnson

Jasmine Johnson is a senior at Belmont University. She is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Social Entrepreneurship. She loves spending time with friends and family, dancing, and reading. STARS made an impact early on in her life when she was an intern for team Development. She can still remember the STARS counselor at her Middle School and the first time she saw Kids on the Block at her elementary school.  Now, she has joined our KOB program and is puppeteering! Welcome to the family, Jasmine! 

We would also like to welcome, Linda Long and Andrea Hancock to our Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse program!

Linda has over 20 years of experience in social services. She is currently attending Argosy University, working towards her Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling. 

Andrea is a Nashville native and is a certified Peer Recovery Specialist.  Previously, Andrea worked at the Elam Center. 

Welcome to STARS, Linda and Andrea! 

Our Student Assistance Program is officially fully staffed.

Welcome our most recent counselors! 

  • Brandon Bass
  • Sarah Cody
  • Megan Hodge
  • Megan McGuire
  • Regina McNeil
  • Christal Pennic
  • James Parrish Smith
  • Chatiqua Vaughn
  • Morgan Wallace
  • Lauren Wright

Welcome to the STARS family!


2015 is a great year to keep up with us on social media. With special guest posts on the blog, tweeting daily, and sharing pictures from the year's events on our Facebook page, you won't want to miss out! 

Keep up with us!! 

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STARS (Students Taking A Right Stand)
Youth Opportunity Center | 1704 Charlotte Avenue, Suite 200 | Nashville, TN 37203
615-279-0058 - phone | 615-279-0056 - fax |
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