A program of the Colorado Springs Diversity Forum, Food for Thought is a short series of conversations among people from a variety of backgrounds and experience shared over dinner! Topics which tend to generate a variety of opinions are discussed with the support of ground rules and a neutral facilitator.
Civil discourse is the goal. There will be other outcomes such as delicious food, new insights, and friendship, but respectful, curious, non-judgemental conversation is the goal.
Twice a year several groups start and commit to meeting 5 times in the following 6 months to engage in respectful dialog. At the end of the 6-month commitment groups can continue meeting without assigned facilitators or they can disband or join a new group.
Yes, in 1992 in response to the passage of Amendment 2, Dialog Dinners were introduced by Citizens Project. This successful program lasted over 10 years. Several groups continued meeting and there is at least one group that meets every month still – 22 years later.
Food for Thought is a program of the Diversity Forum whose mission is: Connect, Include, Engage. The Diversity Forum serves as a clearing house for diversity activities, and as a communication and education resource.
Anyone and everyone who is genuinely interested in other people's opinions, beliefs, experiences, and stories. Food for Thought is a forum for understanding with an emphasis on learning and listening. The objective is to know each other, rather than to change each other.
Applications are submitted and groups of approximately 15 are formed using the survey data with the aim of creating diversity and a creative mix of ideas in the group. Couples or friends can elect to be in the same group.
Trained facilitators are key to the success of small group dialogues. The facilitator guides the discussion, does not share his or her opinions (remains neutral), and sets a relaxed and welcoming tone where people feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions.
• Everyone gets a fair hearing.
• Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
• Share “air time.”
• If you are offended or uncomfortable, say so, and say why.
• It’s OK to disagree, but don’t personalize it; stick to the issue.
• Speak for yourself, not for others.
• One person speaks at a time.
• Personal stories stay in the group, unless we all agree that we can share them.
• We share responsibility for making the conversation productive
If you choose to participate in the program, you agree to meet for a meal with your group 5 times in the following 6 months. Each group decides when they will meet. Typically the meals are pot luck and usually occur in the homes of group members who volunteer to host, but these details are decided by the group. You agree to follow the ground rules and to engage in the experience.
Each group chooses their topics. There will be topic suggestions such as poverty/homelessness, immigration, healthcare/mental health, prejudice/discrimination, religion, gun control, etc.
While we cannot guarantee placement for every applicant for each dialogue session, we will make every effort to place you in the following session.
Questions? Contact: FoodForThoughtCS@gmail.com or 719-213-7375