By Juliette Medard
Why a Conversation?
Since I was little, I recognized that I have a gift to speak up and advocate for others, especially when they struggle to speak up for themselves. I’ve witnessed too many situations where people experienced unfair treatment and they didn’t have anyone to advocate for them. I aspire to put my gift into practice, and to do so I worked with students and organizations within our community to host a panel, or “community conversation”. The purpose of this event was to provide an environment for others to be educated on how to support and aid those in situations that they lack companionship and love when they truly need it. I think this event helped provide residents of our community with proper resources they need, and to help build a safer environment where people can turn to one another and support each other the way they need.
Some of the organizations that got to attend the event!
Hosting such an event is not easy. There are a lot that goes into its preparation, such as organizing which organizations are able to attend and their purpose for being there. This was very important to address first before we published the official flyer to display to the public because we wanted to avoid giving out false pretenses. We also wanted to have food for our guests so that they could enjoy themselves while diving into conversations, so we had to contact local grocery stores and see what deals we could work out to fit our budget. It was also difficult working with so many people from different organizations because sometimes we struggled to get everyone on the same page, but in the end it worked out and we had an enriching experience.
Overall, the event was an experience I will never forget. I had the opportunity to work with the Family Crisis Center located in Rexburg, Idaho, who also got to attend the event. It was important to me that they got to join the conversation because they are the main point of inspiration for me with this project. While I interned there I got to help the staff as they worked with law enforcement to help provide resources to the community and get them on their feet when needed. Working with them helped me recognize that there is so much more that I can do to contribute to helping the community and one way to do that is to help residents in the area be aware of the resources provided to them if needed. The Family Crisis Center is a great place to receive aid and support, and this conversation was a wonderful opportunity to help get the word out and build more connections with the people within the area.
The day of the event I couldn’t attend the event due to a family emergency, but I reached out to a number of peers and staff who attended the event and the responses were wonderful! They shared how much they enjoyed the event, and how they felt as though they learned so much. Receiving such responses made me feel like the event was a success because after all, that was the purpose! We wanted to provide a learn opportunity for all who attended and helped them learn to advocate for themselves and others, while also learning about the great number of resources offered to them right in their neighborhoods.