My Mi­ami Story con­ver­sa­tions spark di­a­logue and civic so­lu­tions

South Florida Times - - OPINION - Matthew Beatty is direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions at The Mi­ami Foun­da­tion.

and had a sense of how to ad­dress their con­cerns. Build­ing on the mo­men­tum of Con­nect Mi­ami and with ad­di­tional sup­port from Knight Foun­da­tion, the ini­tia­tive is on track to nearly dou­ble res­i­dent par­tic­i­pa­tion this year.

My Mi­ami Story is part of a larger national ini­tia­tive, sup­ported by the Knight Foun­da­tion in 10 cities across the coun­try, which aims to bring res­i­dents to­gether in small meal­time con­ver­sa­tions to talk about ways to make their neigh­bor­hoods stronger, safer and more dy­namic. It is based on the suc­cess of The Chicago Com­mu­nity Trust’s On the Ta­ble ini­tia­tive.

Chris Caines, Knight Foun­da­tion in­terim pro­gram direc­tor for Mi­ami, shared that My Mi­ami Story con­ver­sa­tions high­light the in­cred­i­ble di­ver­sity and pos­si­bil­i­ties present in com­mu­ni­ties. Bringing to­gether Mi­ami­ans of all back­grounds and ex­pe­ri­ences to dis­cuss press­ing is­sues and col­lec­tively de­velop so­lu­tions to chal­lenges is needed now more than ever. At the same time, as part of their national ini­tia­tive, it is a chance to share lessons with cities across the coun­try.

Sev­eral lead­ing Greater Mi­ami or­ga­ni­za­tions and res­i­dents have signed on as con­ver­sa­tion hosts this year, in­clud­ing Cyn­thia Curry, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent at Florida Me­mo­rial Univer­sity; Stephanie Sylvestre, chief pro­grams of­fi­cer at The Chil­dren’s Trust; Mar­lon Hill, at­tor­ney and board mem­ber, Or­ange Bowl Com­mit­tee and Mi­ami Book Fair; and Ja­son Taylor, pro foot­ball hall of famer and Founder, Ja­son Taylor Foun­da­tion.

Any­one can sign up to host a My Mi­ami Story con­ver­sa­tion. Hosts will re­ceive a sim­ple toolkit with tips on plan­ning and guid­ing the dis­cus­sion. The Mi­ami Foun­da­tion also in­vites all con­ver­sa­tion par­tic­i­pants to reg­is­ter as guests to en­sure they re­ceive a post­sur­vey. If a res­i­dent would like to par­tic­i­pate as a con­ver­sa­tion guest but does not al­ready know of one to at­tend, they may reg­is­ter as a guest and the Foun­da­tion will con­nect them with the host of an open con­ver­sa­tion. To reg­is­ter as a host or guest and for more in­for­ma­tion, visit mymi­amis­tory.org.

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