by John Steinberger | September 20, 2018 1:21 pm
Citizens throughout the Lowcountry will be gathering Thursday, October 4 to engage in focus groups discussing the strengths and needs within their communities. The process is patterned after similar community efforts in Chicago and Lexington, Kentucky. The Library Foundation of the Lowcountry initiated the project, naming it Lowcountry On the Table. A trial run was done on May 1, attracting 370 participants at 60 gathering tables. Of the participants who completed surveys, education, affordable housing and traffic and transportation were listed as the most important local issues. The motto for the process is Your Voice Matters.
A promotional material for the October 4 event states, “On the Table is a citizen-driven process to identify issues and suggest solutions. It is a tested and proven way of listening and is as easy as inviting a couple of friends over for coffee and just talking about the Lowcountry. There is no agenda.” Feedback from the May 1 event indicated that participants left the focus groups feeling that their voices were being heard. The survey results from the October focus group participants will be available at area libraries and will be shared with local government leaders and non-profits.
Organizers have generated a form for people willing to serve at hosts or moderators for the focus groups. Groups may gather at homes, offices, restaurants, coffee shops, churches, apartment or HOA clubhouses, or any other suitable locations. The process is open-ended and does not require a large time commitment. It is simply a way for Lowcountry citizens to talk about issues that are important to them and suggest solutions, in a process that is not controlled by consultants or elected officials. Hosts will be provided with moderator packets.
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