The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut is hosting Thriving Communities Conversations, a series of public conversations to engage diverse members of the community in safe, civil discourse that encourages contrasting points of view, requires respectful listening and results in new understanding. These forums seek to specifically bring the voices and perspectives of young people and other under-represented groups into the conversation.

"Thriving Communities: Do the Arts Matter?"
L to R: Rich Hollant, principal of Co:Lab; Maryam Elahi, president of CFECT; John Dankosky, executive editor of NPR's New England News Collaborative; David Jaffe, chair of the Theater Department at Connecticut College; Wendy Bury, executive director of Southeastern CT Cultural Coalition; and Kristina Newman-Scott, director of culture, State of Connecticut.

The first Thriving Communities conversation was held April 20 at Connecticut College around the question, “Do the Arts Matter?” The second, "Are We Hearing the Voices of Our Youth?" on May 17 at Kelly Middle School in Norwich, focused on empowering youth and gave middle and high school students a platform to share both their challenges and their thoughts on how adults can best support them.

"Thriving Communities: Are We Hearing the Voices of Our Young People?"
Facilitators from Hearing Youth Voices, along with Foundation and Norwich Public School staff, participate in the second community conversation.

All are welcome to our upcoming Thriving Communities Conversations, which include:

The Environment - Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 4 pm at the Connecticut Audubon Society at Pomfret Center

Women’s Rights - Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 4 pm at Eastern Connecticut State University

Each forum is followed by a brief reception for more informal discussion and networking. The Community Foundation is offering mini-grants of $500 to nonprofits and affiliated student groups who want to continue the conversation, in the hope that the knowledge gained and the bonds formed will energize us all and lead to great things for eastern Connecticut and beyond.

Contact Jennifer O'Brien to learn more.

Op-Ed published in The Day on the arts by Maryam Elahi. Read Op-Ed