Kind words have the power to move us in the most unexpected ways. Words of affirmation are something we all so desperately crave, but seldom hear. 

Courtesy of Visit Franklin

I stumbled upon the town of Franklin, Tennessee on a rather gloomy day after a two-and-a-half-hour drive with my parents in tow. I was frazzled and a little bit disappointed, thinking the day was a bust because of the heavy rain. But my mood immediately shifted when I stumbled upon this vibrant yellow box stationed near Franklin City Hall. I’m no stranger to the Little Free Library; in fact, just last year, I would ride my bike down the street and thumb through the book collection curated by my local community. I was enchanted by the idea that this little box of books brought together an entire community. 

But when I turned the corner and stood in front of this yellow box, there was no free library at all; instead, “Cards of Care” was written in cursive across the sunshine-colored surface. As it turned out, the box held free cards filled with words of encouragement and love, all written by compassionate strangers. Some left thoughtful quotes, while others wrote uplifting bible verses. The box was equipped with blank cards and pens too, allowing visitors to take a card and leave a card in return.

Cards of Care launched in May 2019 to promote kindness during Mental Health Awareness month. Brooke Wanser, Carmen Stanek, Chase Harper, and David Kelly—members of Williamson, Inc. Leadership Young Professionals Class of 2019—started this community service project in hopes of spreading encouragement to the town of Franklin.

Rachel Mulcahy

I reached into the box and pulled the first card my hand touched. In true Tennessee fashion, the card showed a picturesque farmland with oak trees dotted alongside a white-picket fence and a red barn in the distance. I flipped open my card to the words, “Don’t be afraid of loving as many things in this life as possible! Find your truth and do it on purpose. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” I still carry this card in my purse and pull it out to read when I need words of encouragement. That card was my little piece of sunshine on a rather dark and rainy day.

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My takeaway after this unexpected, rainy venture? Take the time to spread kind words: You never know what others are going through, and that very card could leave a lasting impact on a complete stranger. 

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