United Nations Day Celebration

How Your Neighbors Contribute to the UN Millennium Development Goals (and how you can, too!) 

Mr. José González, Ms. Pamela Kidd and Rev. Ann Walling

5:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Belmont United Methodist Church
Corner of 21st Ave. S. and Acklen
Nashville, TN
Cost: $25.00 (student scholarships available)

The program includes dinner, an overview of the Millennium Development Goals (by president, Mary Pat Silveira) and the main speakers, Mr. José González, Ms. Pamela Kidd and Rev. Ann Walling.

Mr. José González co-founded Conexión Américas in 2002, and joined the faculty at Belmont University in 2007 as an Instructor of Entrepreneurship and management. While serving as Executive Director of Conexión Américas, he established the Rumba Roast project, a Fair Trade project that pays coffee bean farmers in Latin America a sustainable price for their product, allowing them to support their businesses and families better. José continues to pioneer entrepreneurship projects for economic development, including those working with fair trade coffee and honey farmers in Chajul, Guatemala.

Mr. González serves on the Boards of Directors of a couple of private firms in town, and is on the Community Advisory Board for First Tennessee Bank.  He is actively involved in Nashville’s civic community.   In 2007, he was recognized as one of 50 most influential individuals leading and shaping Nashville’s future, Nashville’s Forward Fifty. The Tennessean named him as one of Nashville’s “Top 40 under [the age of] 40” individuals, for service and commitment to improving the lives of individuals in Middle Tennessee.

Ms. Pamela Kidd is a freelance writer, community activist and coordinator of projects providing homes and other services for those in need, and an affiliate real estate broker at Fridrich & Clark Realty, LLC.  Over the years, she has organized and directed projects to relocate refugees and to build low-income housing for the poor, and she has volunteered extensively in the public school system.

In 1999, Pamela traveled to Zimbabwe to write about the street children. There she met a women, near destitute herself, who was trying to feed homeless children on the streets of Harare.  To help support her efforts, Ms. Kidd and her daughter founded the Children of Zimbabwe Fund and, eventually, with help from private donations, they bought a three-building compound in Harare and established Home of Hope, which distributes food and clothing to homeless children, pays school fees and provides minor medical care, and offers classes for street women.

One project has led to another.  From Home of Hope she and her family helped to create Village Hope  for AIDS orphans in a rural area of the country, a school feeding program, an agricultural project called Seeds to Sadza and, most recently a dental clinic.

The Reverend Ann Walling is a retired Episcopal priest in Nashville.  She served as assistant to the Rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church until 2010.

She wanted to help keep Cambodian women from being drawn into the sex trade.  In 2001, her mother set up a family foundation (Allen Foundation) to address a poverty related issue among the poorest of the poor.  That placed turned into a remote part of Cambodia called Stung Treng where a woman named Nguon Chantha was trying to set up a hospice for HIV/AIDS victims.

In partnership with the Allen Foundation and other NGOs, Ann helped Nguon Chantha establish a small silk weaving business to train and employ the illiterate, desperate young women.  They could stay home and weave silk; they could earn a living wage, support their families and enrich their communities.  That project became the Stung Treng Women’s Development Center, making of Mekong Blue Silk.

More than 400 women and 395 children have been directly supported by the project through education, vocational training and employment, and this number continues to grow.