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CHAIR-ISH THE NIGHT WITH VINCE GILL & FRIENDS – Friday, November 16, 2012 AND the ADAM (Accepting Differences Among Mankind) AWARD.


VInce was joined on stage by some remarkable friends: Natalie Hemby, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, and Keb’ Mo’.

Vince Gill took the stage Friday night with a line-up of surprise guests including Sheryl Crow, Keb’ Mo’ and Natalie Hemby for Chair-ish The Night With Vince Gill & Friends at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum for the fourth year in a row helping Students Taking A Right Stand (STARS) assist mid-state students, schools and families with tough social and emotional barriers to learning.     


Vince Gill (left) and Alva Duke (center) present the 2012 ADAM Award to Annelise Barron on Friday, November 16, 2012 at the CHAIR-ISH THE NIGHT WITH VINCE GILL & FRIENDS event held at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.

During the 9 p.m. sold out concert, Gill presented the ADAM award (Accepting Differences Among Mankind) to Annalise Barron, of Franklin, who has dedicated a year of her life to raise $200,000, the money needed to start the TN Chapter of Best Buddies, an organization that matches people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into a one –to-one friendships with their peers without disabilities.  Her vision to bring Best Buddies to TN was remarkable since her own child with Down syndrome is still too young to participate in the program.

Two popular Nashville area benefits merged into Chair-ish The Night With Vince Gill & Friends. The event is a night of premier art and music benefiting the nationally recognized evidenced-based resource for student assistance, training and professional consultation assisting students, families and schools with prevention, intervention and treatment services addressing bullying, substance abuse, violence, and social and emotional barriers to success. 

The other ADAM Award finalists honored were:

Estelle Condra, of Green Hills, owner of Inclusive Books LLC, publisher books about children with disabilities, award winning author of See the Ocean, actress, board director for VSA and is also a person who is blind.

Lori Kissinger, of Gallatin, is the first Executive Director of VSA and professor in speech and communications at MTSU. While affiliated with the National VSA organization, VSA TN has generally operated in a mostly self-sufficient manner.  On her own, she built the board of directors and has raised the funds.  In her capacity as director she has been exemplary in initiating programs for all disability groups across TN such as the dance program for Down syndrome, playwright competition on disabilities, the dulcimer choir for autistic students’, programs for the blind in storytelling.

The new event combines an evening of great art with incredible entertainment being held for the first time on a Friday evening with Vince Gill bringing another surprise stellar lineup of talented friends according to patron co-chair country music singer/songwriter Chad Warrix.           

“It is an exciting evening as the city’s top artists donate their great works and Vince shares his talents all helping to further the important work of STARS assisting students, families and schools throughout the Middle Tennessee area with tough social and emotional barriers to learning,” Warrix said.

Rodger Dinwiddie, STARS chief executive officer, said they are thrilled Gill, who has been such an amazing friend to the nonprofit agency, is joined this year by Rob Bironas and Chad Warrix as the event patron co-chairs. Previously, Gill has surprised event patrons with guest artists like Amy Grant, Dierks Bentley, Alison Krauss, The Del McCoury Band, Rodney Crowell, Dan Tyminski, Jenny Gill and Richard Marx.

Featured artists for the event were painters Ron York, Michael Bush, Jade Reynolds and jewelry artist Madonna Bush. In addition, the popular silent auction includes an impressive array of items from Predators and Titans tickets and jerseys, autographed stools used by the Gill and guests during the concert to one hour of guest hosting on the hot, new 102.5 The Game.

Chair-ish The Night With Vince Gill & Friends was presented Friday, November 16, with an art auction and cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m. in the Conservatory of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum followed by a 9:00 p.m. concert in the Ford Theatre. 

A nationally recognized and evidenced-based resource for student assistance, training and professional consultation, STARS assists students, families and schools with prevention, intervention and treatment services addressing bullying, substance abuse, violence, and social and emotional barriers to success. Founded in 1984, STARS staff operate in schools and community sites throughout Middle Tennessee via STARS Specialists, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services as well as through Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse (YODA) as a licensed alcohol and drug out-patience treatment facility. Their Kids On The Block puppetry program helps educate kindergarten through sixth grade students about health and social concerns that affect their lives while promoting an understanding and acceptance of all children and adults regardless of their differences.



Our MOVE 2 STAND Iniative in Cheatham County – March 20, 2012


Harpeth High School Katherine “Kat” Page said the recent Move 2 Stand program was life-changing and deeply affirming.

 Harpeth High School Katherine “Kat” Page said the recent Move 2 Stand program was life-changing and deeply affirming. / RANDY MOOMAW/THE TIMES
Written by Randy Moomaw

KINGSTON SPRINGS — Harpeth High School kicked off the new year by hosting Move 2 Stand, a program sponsored through STARS Nashville, to empower leaders to take a positive stand against bullying and harassment.

The program gets students to take a close, objective look at their attitudes and behaviors so that they gain a deeper understanding of how bullying impacts the school culture and social structure.

Bullying often creates power struggles that feed on fears, disrespect, exclusion, lack of open communication and may negate rather than celebrate uniqueness and diversity.

Move 2 Stand presents focused topics that provide students with a balanced bigger picture. These topics are bullying/harassment, conforming/leadership, empowering bystanders, finding the assets in you and building/creating empathy.

Ila McDermott, who is the STARS representative at HHS, was encouraged by the response to the program, which attracted so much interest that students had to be turned away.

“Before the holiday break in December, 30 students had signed up for the program,” McDermott said. “But on the Wednesday before the program on Friday (Jan. 6), we had 122 kids.”

She said the kids were very receptive and noted that several students said the program saved their life.

Positive changes

For HHS senior Katherine “Kat” Page, the program was life-changing and deeply affirming.

“Right after the program people that normally never talked started talking to others,” she said. “It’s like we all became one group of friends.”

The 18-year-old has had to deal with the challenges that come with moving along with emotional issues tied to the family dynamic. So, her sense of feeling safe was taken to task.

She said she has faced bullying at HHS with some students making fun of her, and remembers when a student she didn’t know slammed her face into her locker and called her a name.

Page moved to South Cheatham County from Portland as an eighth-grader.

“I had been cheerleading captain and was on the dance team, but when I moved here I stopped cheering and neglected my studies,” she said. “I felt like I had no identity, no extracurricular activities, and that label began to stick.”

Because of serious personal challenges, along with health issues, she had become depressed and reclusive.

“The program made me want to get better because I had support from others that day, even strangers,” she said. “I got hugs, and people told me how much they care and understand. They shared similar stories of what they’re dealing with. I realized I’m not alone.”

One of the positives to come from Move 2 Stand was reconnecting with a close friend whom she’d lost touch with after eighth-grade.

“It brought the school together for those willing to let it,” she said. “Now, I have more confidence. And I have a purpose. I want to start a program someday that will help kids deal with the issues that I’ve had to face.”

She said she’s received six letters of support for sharing her story.

McDermott had the students make “Prevent Bullying” posters that represent a positive stand against bullying and harassment.

She’s also working on a program for Safe Dates, to deter abusive and unhealthy relationships, while encouraging self-esteem and affirming care and concern for each other.

HHS has also formed a Move 2 Stand club to encourage and affirm positive behaviors.


Nashville Bullying Prevention – A News Channel 5 Story

Open Line – January 24, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- It takes a village to stop bullying in our schools. That’s the message from local experts as people all around the mid-state react to the news of another teen suicide because of bullying.

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Nashville Business Journal – Music City Achievers

Lisa Bell and Laura Lekowicz were both featured,  September 26, 2011


Salute to Excellence Awards

Nashville Renaissance Hotel, September 20, 2011

Each year The Center for Nonprofit Management hosts a dinner and awards presentation that honors area nonprofits for their commitment to management excellence. Ten awards and over $175,000 in grants are awarded. The awards recognize nonprofits for a job well done and reinforce the importance of effective leadership in the nonprofit sector.  The breadth of the awards extends not only to work of organizations, but includes individual honors for deserving executives and board members.

STARS Nashville  was the recipient of the Baptist Healing Trust Access to Care Award!  Congratulations to all!

CNM Winner press release



Wilson taps officer expertise, school counseling

The Tennessean – A Gannett Company
Monday, June 20, 2011

During the past school year, 2010-2011, we enjoyed a reduction in crime in our schools in Wilson County.

I attribute this to several different factors. Our school system implements a number of programs, protocols and policies that promote a safe learning environment. One program in particular is that all of our high schools, junior highs and K-8 schools have school resource officers (SROs) from the Sheriff’s Department permanently assigned to them. The SRO program operates on a “Triad Plus Standard” program. The standard includes law enforcement duties, counseling, teaching and role modeling to promote and encourage positive behaviors. Healthy and positive working relationships with all law enforcement and emergency management agencies, including but not limited to Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, Watertown police departments and the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, help us to have this resource available to our students.

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STARS welcomes and will serve individuals with both mental health and substance use disorders. We believe that every door is the right door to gain access to appropriate services in the integrated system of care.

STARS does not discriminate on the grounds of race, religion, creed, color, sex or national origin. No one shall be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any of STARS programs or activities. STARS is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
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