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Youth Involvement in On the Table

The Community Foundation is excited to have residents of Richland and Lexington Counties join virtual or socially distanced gatherings during On the Table the week of Oct. 4-10. These conversations are designed to increase community engagement and foster personal connections. Participation is not limited to just adults — youth are also encouraged to join conversations and share their voices.

Joseph Buchmaier, a senior at Brookland-Cayce High School, helped lead an On the Table conversation in 2019. Joseph described the advantage of having these conversations with his BCHS classmates, saying, “I got to learn more about the issues they care about and their stories, experiences and beliefs. It helped to reshape both my thoughts and my perspectives about the people around me.”

Joseph is planning on participating in this year’s On the Table event and encourages more youth to get involved.

“It’s beneficial for youth because it helps you learn more about the people around you and the situations that they are going through,” says Joseph. “The diversity that you experience helps to break you out of your individual perspective and helps you take stock in the issues that are affecting your community.”

If you are interested in hosting an On the Table conversation, a host toolkit is provided that includes a youth planning guide. This guide provides instructions on how to organize an On the Table conversation, a prep lesson to do prior to the conversation and a facilitation guide and discussion starters. Also included is a follow-up lesson to complete after the On the Table conversation.

Youth can lead their own conversations, but all participating need to have permission from an adult. This parental permission slip can be found in the youth guide portion of the toolkit.

Leading and participating in an On the Table conversation is an excellent youth leadership development opportunity, whether it is in a youth’s community group, in their neighborhood, social network, or among their classmates.

This year’s On the Table conversations are set to take place October 4-10. For more information, or to sign up to host, visit www.OnTheTableCola.org or call 803.254.5601.