Nashville, Tennessee was voted America’s Friendliest City of 2016, and whether it’s our Southern hospitality or the slower pace of life, Nashville is certainly welcoming to visitors. It was no surprise when the Nashville UNICEF Congressional Action Team (CAT) walked into the offices of Senator Bob Corker on December 12th and we were welcomed with warm handshakes and friendly smiles. Our team was in Senator Corker’s office that day to build upon the common desire to protect and save children’s lives around the world. Throughout our meeting with Field Director Kyle Johnson, we found Mr. Johnson to be generous with his time, genuine in his questions, and eager to build a relationship with each of us.
It is through human contact – meeting face-to-face and listening attentively – that we begin to build bridges and grow the relationships that are key to understanding one another. With limited time and countless tasks demanding our attention, we cannot miss the opportunity to appreciate the time someone takes to be there, truly listening as you share what you are deeply passionate about.
The members of the Nashville CAT woke up early on a Monday morning to meet in a small coffee shop and discuss the topics and stories we wanted to share with Mr. Johnson. To our pleasant surprise, Mr. Johnson also had personal stories he wanted to tell. It was through these narratives that we laid the foundation for what we hope will become a lasting relationship.
Throughout our advocacy work with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the Nashville CAT works hard to remember the importance of building bridges in an environment that often seems to be tearing them down. Though our neighbors, colleagues and elected officials hold wide-ranging beliefs and values, we firmly believe that the vision that can connect us all, the vision that can create unshakable common ground, is that of a world where children are put first and not a single one is left behind.
We welcome all, with a warm handshake and smiling faces, to join us in our mission to support UNICEF’s work in protecting and saving children’s lives around the globe.