On The Table MKE 2018: Building Community at MYAC

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"On The Table was an amazing experience! My eyes were opened to so many new possibilities to build community that I never would have thought of it if it weren’t for the conversations we had at On The Table. I really enjoyed sharing my ideas and listening to the ideas of others. Most importantly, I felt that the adults sitting at the table valued and respected me and my input as a young person with a different perspective." ~ Rachel Young, First Stage Board Member, Student Advisory Board President, Academy Intern, Academy Student.

How do we continue to build a more inclusive and diverse community for youth and families?
Around forty community members, including MYSO and First Stage students and parents, teaching artists, and community leaders gathered for dinner and conversation for the 2018 On the Table MKE at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (MYAC) on Tuesday, October 9. On the Table MKE was introduced by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation in 2017 as a forum for building relationships, generating ideas through respectful dialogue, and putting those ideas into motion for the benefit of the community.

The event was co-hosted by MYAC, First Stage and Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO). Steve Zimmerman, Principal of Spectrum Nonprofit, moderated the overall event.

He guided the discussions around the following questions:
• What attributes of MYAC do you see building community?
• What are we missing for MYAC to have even greater sense of community?
• How can all of us proactively continue to nurture the building of community?
• Who’s missing at the table?

When the conversation shifted to the four tables, individual moderators guided those discussions. Adults joined the students at each table. At closing, each of the tables shared their primary ideas and suggestions for more intentionally building community.

The ideas generated at On The Table will be considered with an eye toward implementing at least one or more of the recommendations. MYAC, MYSO and First Stage are looking forward to the challenge!

"On The Table was a wonderful experience for myself and MYAC as a whole. We were pleased to host many diverse members of the community and hear their ideas for how to build and better our community. The conversations we had at On The Table reinforced that MYAC is currently a place of inclusion and a unique access point for the arts. After listening to students and community partners, we learned of key areas where we can strengthen community among those we serve." Del Wilson, MYAC Executive director 

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