As November draws to a close, many of us will gather with family and friends around a table laden with turkey and all its trimmings to celebrate Thanksgiving. Most of these will be people we know well, family who share not just our DNA, but also the stories of our past and often our dreams for the future.
Earlier in November, hundreds of people – many meeting each other for the first time – gathered around tables, some filled with food and others with just a cup of coffee and a small sweet, as part of the second annual On The Table initiative, presented by Franklin Tomorrow with support from several other organizations.
On The Table has a simple premise: an opportunity for people to gather in small groups around a table with friends, neighbors, colleagues and maybe even a few people meeting for the first time, to share a meal and have a real conversation about what’s important to us.
While the post-event surveys continue to be completed by those who participated, of those who have responded, more than 60% said their conversation involved mostly people they did not know prior to sitting down to join the conversation.
Just like the first year, survey results are also showing a significant percentage of people who participated don’t necessarily know how to get involved or to take the steps to become engaged in the topic which is the greatest interest to them.
We formed some new alliances, particularly in the independent senior living communities across town. We also fostered a conversation between students at Williamson County Schools Entrepreneur & Innovation Center and current business leaders, as well as conversations in churches, businesses, and homes.
These are just some initial outtakes from the second annual On The Table, which concluded its week of conversations with a new event, Engage Franklin. Fifteen area nonprofits with direct volunteer opportunities braved the cold on Nov. 9 to share with attendees during the event at Columbia State Community College. Animals were adopted, organizations were able to talk to attendees, and people found ways to become engaged with organizations to serve the community.
During the month of December, Franklin Tomorrow will be working to further analyze results and comments with the assistance of a consulting firm with hopes of releasing a report in late January or early February. Haven’t given your feedback yet? It isn’t too late to complete the post-event survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OTT-2019, but please do so by Dec. 3. Have thoughts to share with me? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all who participated in On The Table 2019, our Board of Directors and staff, and particularly, those individuals who served as hosts. Happy holidays!
Mindy Tate, Executive Director, Franklin Tomorrow