For Ken Barry, Executive Director of City Life Center, his 2017 On the Table conversation provided him the opportunity to engage the parents of youth served by the organization.
“Sitting at the table, I wanted to see if there was anything City Life Center was missing in serving our community.”
"Most organizations come into a city or community with all the answers, but they haven’t asked any questions... How are you solving problems when you have not come to me and asked: What are the challenges you face?”
Barry seeks to meet the needs of the community, and for him the best way to know the needs is to listen and have conversations with the people served by his organization.
According to the 2017 On the Table survey, the #1 concern of Gary respondents is education and youth development. This was reflected in Barry’s conversation with the parents he invited.
Barry enjoyed that the conversations had during On the Table were solution driven, and the participants had many ideas on how to solve some of the problems they discussed.
His On The Table conversation was so successful that he has turned it into a regular service of the City Life Center, and Barry now meets with parents monthly for a “Snack and Chat”.
“Our hope was that these parents who came to the table would start forming relationships with one another and become a community of support for one another, and thankfully that’s what happened."
Barry encourages anyone interested to host or participate in the 2018 #OnTheTable219 conversation, and his advice is to “keep it simple”, and “you are going to get more than you asked for” if you’re willing to open a conversation.