Dismas House Honors Volunteers At Annual Volunteer Appreciation Awards

L-R, top to bottom Erik Dunn, Vanessa Kirschke, Patricia Malone Smith, Clifton Harris, Alex Joynes and Dmetria Gibson (photo: Dismas)

Leading reentry program, Dismas House, announced the outstanding volunteers and residents of the year at the 2024 Volunteer Appreciation Awards held on June 13, 2024.

Dismas House staff recognized the contributions and achievements of volunteers, partners, board members, and a resident. More than 75 attendees gathered at a year-end BBQ dinner prepared by Phillip Hill, vice president of operations at Dismas House, to celebrate the honorees.

“Dismas House would not be what it is today without community partners and volunteers who share their time and talents with us and bring needed resources for our residents,” says Kay Kretsch, CEO, Dismas House. “We congratulate each honoree who has gone above and beyond for our organization.”

Dismas House recognized the following individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions during the fiscal year 2023-24:

  • Volunteer Service Award: Alex Joynes, Doctoral Intern, Belmont University, served Dismas House for her final capstone project and revamped the community dinners with an annual calendar and nightly themes. She also created an online database on various topics and templated handouts to sustain the program.
  • Community Partner Service Award: The Urban League of Middle Tennessee, a community partner, led by CEO Clifton Harris, has enhanced the programming at Dismas House to meet the needs of residents. The organization provides many resources to residents including assisting with rent payments, certifications and tuition.
  • Student Service Award: Vanessa Kirschke, Clinical Intern, Austin Peay State University, leads weekly group therapy sessions, provides individualized counseling support and customized treatment plans that have been lifechanging for residents.
  • Board Service Award: Dmetria Gibson, Chief Transition Officer and General Counsel, Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction (TRICOR), serves as a board member at Dismas House and program committee chair. She provides needed support to residents to reduce barriers and promotes access and equity.
  • John Jenkins Jr. Resident Service Award: Erik Dunn serves as a role model for other residents by being engaged in programming, advocating for residents and representing Dismas House by sharing his story with the community at Lunch and Learns and the blog. He has reinstated his driver’s license, improved his physical and mental health, found a job he loves and completed Certified Peer Recovery Specialist training.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at Dismas House at https://dismas.org/volunteer/.

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