Do you sometimes just want to say to someone, “Can we talk?” Building off the success of its inaugural On The Table initiative in 2018, Franklin Tomorrow is recruiting hosts and participants who want to do just that for On The Table 2019, which will kick off on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the nonprofit organization’s free quarterly Breakfast With the Mayors at Rolling Hills Community Church.
“In 2018, we had approximately 1,000 people participate in the more than 50 public and private events held during the On The Table initiative,” said Franklin Tomorrow Executive Director Mindy Tate. “From those conversations, more than 400 people completed a post-event survey identifying priorities and areas of interest and involvement. In this second year, we hope to deepen the connections through renewed conversations, but also invite anyone who lives, works, plays, studies or worships in Franklin to join the conversations. With this expansion, we need individuals to step forward as hosts, and participants, and help us bring a diversity of viewpoints, ideas, and opinions to the tables.”
In 2019, On The Table will be a week-long series of opportunities 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 Franklin. The event will kick off on Tuesday, Nov. 5, and additional events will occur across the City in both public and private events through Saturday, Nov. 9, when Franklin Tomorrow will host a community-wide reflection and engagement fair at Columbia State Community College from 9-11 a.m.
Table hosts are needed and can sign up at www.franklintomorrow.org/onthetable and then click on the “Host a Table” tab. Hosts will gather groups of 8-12 people for a meal and discussion about issues that are important to them. Hosts will receive training, a toolkit, and supporting materials to make the day a success. Training of hosts has already started, but will continue throughout the month of October, with online training opportunities as well.
For those who want to serve as a host but are unable to do so in their home or business, hosts are needed for a variety of events planned throughout the week of Nov. 5-9, much along the same lines of the events On The Table co-chair Mary Lee Bennett witnessed when she visited Lexington, Ky., in 2018 as part of an On The Table scouting mission.
“What we learned from our On The Table in 2018 is that face-to-face conversations are important and many of those who participated intend to keep the conversations going,” she said. “It was an uplifting experience to participate in conversations about Franklin and learn new perspectives from people I just met.”
On The Table conversations are intended to inspire people to take action and seize opportunities in the community. Adding a diversity of voices provides unique discussions around varying issues that matter to the community. After conversations happen, participants will be asked to share their outcomes and provide feedback around topics discussed through a post-event survey.
For more information, visit Franklin Tomorrow’s website at www.franklintomorrow.org/onthetable. Anyone who lives or works in Franklin can be a table host – church groups, neighborhood associations, non-profits, school clubs, business owners, and individuals who wish to be more involved in the community are encouraged to participate. Sponsorship opportunities are also available; for more information please call 615.794.0998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Franklin Tomorrow is an independent, community-visioning nonprofit which celebrated the 15th anniversary of its founding in 2016. Its mission is to engage the community, foster collaboration, and advocate for a shared vision for the future of Franklin. Through research, programs and engagement with citizens, that shared vision is for Franklin to be a city with vibrant neighborhoods, a robust economy, distinct character and great people. As an organization, Franklin Tomorrow develops and presents programs such as the quarterly Breakfast with the Mayors and monthly FrankTalks lecture series which educate and illuminate issues facing the community as a whole.