United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties

Kara Kemp

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$3,500 Goal

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A community can only bloom and thrive when it’s watered by thoughtful individuals consistently and passionately. A community without that is lacking in comradery, art, equality, culture and much more. But lucky for Rutherford and Cannon County communities, we’ve got United Way!

I am Bedford county reared and Rutherford County raised- gifted with strong parents: teachers who toiled their way out of poverty through education...and planted the seeds for creativity, adventure and curiosity in their children. As a kid, my imagination made me richer than the trailer that I was growing up in, and I lived out a lifetime of adventures in the books read to me at bedtime. 

Even my grandmother was a teacher!  She lived to be 99 years young….sharp as a tack and would tell you her motto to a well-lived, long life was to “Stay Active. Read. Do things for others.” My grandmother's teaching career in Bell Buckle was the launching point for this motto. She had students who couldn’t focus because they were hungry, so she brought extra lunch to class and passed the food around so students' minds could focus. There were some students who were lacking in confidence because their clothes were not clean, so she laundered clothes and met them early before school with clean clothes to wear.  One of her students quarantined with typhoid fever was locked in his room to let fate decide if he would live or die.  My grandmother visited that student a couple of times a week after school: sliding books under the door, taking time discussing the books through the door jamb and nurturing his mental growth. That student survived and accredited his recovery to those books and my grandmother’s conversations.  Which I believe goes to show you can’t underestimate the power of words written, your imagination or the gift you give someone when you simply acknowledge their existence. Even the smallest connection can keep someone alive and blooming!

So when I was asked over 10 years ago to put on a fundraiser for United Way, I said YES to creating United We Style- because my grandmother lives in my memories and because United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties touches so many parts of our community which are vital for helping people thrive. Bold Goals for 2030 support our vast community of all ages through programming and campaigns for early childhood development like Imagination Library, through adult stability programming such as Read to Succeed or VITA, and mental health initiatives aimed at bringing an abundance of balance and wellness to people's lives.

The impacts United Way has made in our community is as long as the Tennessee summer is hot. It has planted seeds all over our counties, and waters the community with everything they do. I hope you will consider saying YES and donating to keep Rutherford and Cannon County blooming today!



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