With the help of volunteers, lives are changed here daily
Spend some time talking with Tom Niedermeyer and you will immediately be amazed by his passion and enthusiasm for working with the men enrolled in the GED classes at the Mission. These are the attributes Tom brings with him five days a week, two hours each day as he volunteers in the Education Department.
The Rewards of Volunteering
“This is so rewarding,” says Tom, who portrays a sense of pride and joy when he talks about the men he’s worked with. “I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see a man work hard and then pass his GED exam.”
Tom spent 25 years in Shamburg, Illinois, where he retired from Motorola before moving to Nashville six years ago. Before that, Tom taught in the public schools of Illinois for six years. After retiring, Tom moved to Nashville to be closer to his daughter and two grandkids that live in Mt. Juliet.
“When I first came to Nashville, I had a difficult time adjusting,” says Tom. “I was used to being busy and having too much free time just wasn’t a good thing for me.” For the next couple of years, Tom did some substitute teaching, as well as teaching at a private learning center, but sensed something was still missing.
Tom Helping Men with GED
“A little over a year ago I walked into the Nashville Rescue Mission where I met Dr. Jay Juday, the Mission’s Director of Education,” says Tom. “It didn’t take long for me to see where I could best put my skills, abilities and passion to work—helping men obtain their GED.”
The rest is history. Since volunteering at the Mission, Tom has seen many of the men he’s worked with study hard and ultimately pass their GED exam.
One thing Tom has learned about a lot of the men he’s worked with, is they lack confidence and have low self-esteem. “Many of these men have spent a good part of their lives being put down and told they’ll never amount to anything,” Tom explains. “But I’ve discovered if you just spend a little time with them, encourage them, reward them, find ways to spark their interest—they really start to come around and believe in themselves.”
The Mission is blessed to have Tom volunteering his time, gifts and talents here on a daily basis. Because of people like Tom lives are being changed. If you’d like to be a part of this valuable ministry and make a difference in the lives of men and women at the Mission, please call our Volunteer Hotline at 615-312-1544.