It’s time to make your mark

In 2015, Forbesminutematch ranked Memphis as one of the top ten cities where it is easiest to make your mark; however as a city, we continue to fall behind in the ability to retain talented young professionals.  So how do we attract and retain this young talent and ensure that they are investing in 901?  One way is to provide these professionals with quality volunteer opportunities that allow them to make a positive impact in their community.

At Volunteer Odyssey, we want to help these emerging leaders in Memphis to make their mark and discover that perfect volunteer opportunity that makes them want to invest in our great city.

On Wednesday, June 15th, we are hosting VolunCheers Minute Match in order to get more people through Memphis connected with a cause and a organization they are passionate about and will continually want to volunteer with in the future.  This event is a speed dating event designed to help volunteers find their ideal volunteer opportunity in just 60 minutes. After visiting each non-profit, attendees will fill out a survey to determine which non-profit won them over for a second date.This is a great way for people to get to know what kind of opportunities are available to them in Memphis as well as get to know many other young professionals from around the city.  Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 at the door, which includes food and beer from Wiseacre Brewing Co.

Where will you make your mark?

Event Details:
When: Wednesday, June15th
Where: Emerge Memphis | 516 Tennessee St
Time: 5:30-7:30pm


Mix Odyssey 2016 Recap


Thank you so much to the hundreds of you who attended the 3rd annual Mix Odyssey on Saturday, February 27th. The event was a huge success and raised money to help us continue to follow our mission: To connect Memphians with their ideal volunteer opportunities and share those stories.

And speaking of stories, here’s a link to the Mix Odyssey 2016 recap video. If you haven’t seen it, take a look.

The winners of the Mix Odyssey 2016 contest are:

1st place: Aaron Henna from Hog & Hominy for his “Instant Karma.”
2nd place: Cady Smith from Cafe Pontotoc for her “The Can-can Dance.”

If you liked it and want another taste, you can order “Instant Karma” off the menu at Hog & Hominy and “The Can-can Dance” is available for a limited of time at Cafe Pontotoc.

Special thanks to Orion FCU, Bacardi Family Foundation, Whole Foods Market POPLAR, Southland Park Gaming and Racing, Buster’s Liquors, Metro Graphics, Start Co., Wiseacre Brewing Company, HRO Partners, LLC, Rec Room, The Marston Group, PLC and Forever Ready Productions, LLC for the video.

We also want to thank our volunteers who helped make the event possible. From set-up to clean-up and everything in between the event was successful because of your help.

If you’d like to volunteer, don’t forget to visit our opportunity calendar. If you’re looking to connected with a cause, visit Volio.

Thanks again for making Mix Odyssey a success. We look forward to seeing you again soon at one of our upcoming events.

Light a candle, make a difference, pass it on

“The Buddha teaches that ‘a thousand candles can be lighted from a single candle.’ You lit mine. I endeavored to light theirs. I believe in earnest that they will light others and so on.”

Those are the words Stuart Cohen wrote to Volunteer Odyssey after he attended a graduation at Advance Memphis.

Stuart contacted Volunteer Odyssey (via Jeremy Park at Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club) because he wanted to get connected with a cause in Memphis, one that he felt passionate about. We introduced him to Advance Memphis, a non-profit organization that serves the 38126 zip code in Memphis.  They work with people in that community to empower them to change their lives and their community.  They do so with programs that bring hope, knowledge, resources and skills.

Stuart was paired with Johnny, one of three men he mentored for six weeks.  Johnny had been incarcerated through December and he was looking for a way to gain skills and get a job.


Stuart and Johnny at Advance Memphis Graduation

On Friday, February 26th, Johnny graduated from Advance Memphis.  Stuart was there too and got to meet Johnny’s son, wife and sister.  And as he put it, was his ‘champion work-like mentor.’

“His next goal is to complete his GED. He is now guaranteed work and fair pay thanks to Advance Memphis.  The money he earns will go towards cooking school.  His dream is to become a chef at his own restaurant,” Stuart told Volunteer Odyssey. “I promised to be his first customer.”

Stuart went on to say: “Today he completes one huge step towards a better life and good works.  He and all the men and women who completed an intense 6 weeks, plus passing a drug test, are the biggest winners.”

Johnny spoke at graduation.  He told his class that he was full of gratitude, joy, and hope and he specifically thanked Stuart for helping him through the program.

 “I have never in my life been so moved. Tears were shed. They held their certificates high,” Stuart said.

 Stuart began with a question: Where can I volunteer?  And how can I make a difference in the process?

 “Those men know that I am ‘in their pocket.’ What’s more, they surged forward knowing that God is there too. What a wonderful foundation to build upon,” Stuart said.

 This is really only the beginning of Johnny and Stuart’s story.  And we thank Stuart for saying “yes” to Volunteer Odyssey, Advance Memphis and most importantly, Johnny.

 If you have a story like Stuart and Johnny, we want to hear it.  E-mail us at