PROGRAM: NY Community Conversations

Presented by:
New York Council for the Humanities
Subject: Cross-Cultural Understanding, History, Varies Audience: Colleges and Universities, K-12, Rural Communities, Young Adult, Youth/Teen

Humanities NY’s Community Conversations bring people together for short, thoughtful discussions on themes central to American life.

The council provides “everything you need to run your own town-hall event, and a micro-grant to help fund it. A facilitator, chosen by your group, leads a conversation for 8-20 participants using the training and materials supplied by Humanities NY. The program toolkit contains a short text focused on a hot topic or occasion in American life such as immigration, MLK Jr. Day of Service, the environment, or democracy.”

Anyone may host a community conversation with tax-exempt organizations and schools in New York State eligible to receive a $200 micro-grant to defray the cost of hosting the program.

Community Conversations are designed to serve three distinct audiences: Kids (upper elementary to middle school students); Young Adults (high school and college students); and Adults.

Themes currently available, include:

  • Democracy
    • As our nation approaches 250 years of independence and its 58th presidential election, Community Conversations invites New Yorkers to discuss the role democracy plays in their lives as members of local, national, and global communities
  • After Sandy
    • When Superstorm Sandy struck on October 29, 2012, it unleashed catastrophic damage up and down the East Coast. In its wake, New Yorkers came together to clean up, help out, and rebuild. This conversation reflects on how communities were transformed and united by Sandy, and to consider what it means to be fully restored.
  • Building Compassion
    • This toolkit focuses on building compassion in children and the effects of bullying. The text for this conversation is Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. Trisha can paint and draw beautifully, but when she looks at words on a page, all she can see is a jumble. Trisha struggles and begins to feel alienated. With no friends and increasing frustration with herself, she begins hating school until a new teacher arrives. Available in English and Spanish.
  • Other available toolkits, include (click to view full description of all toolkits available):
    • Immigration
    • Leadership
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
    • 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance
    • Courage
    • Environmental Stewardship
    • Friendship