NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - As more and more people are deep in thought on their computers and cell phones, the conversation can become a thing of the past - at least meaningful ones.
That’s why Dr. Steve Cooper, research director at the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Social Work, is hard at work introducing Community Conversation Cafe to Nacogdoches County.
“Conversation Cafes are based on what’s called a World Cafe Model, and it’s a research methodology that’s based on just having a casual, small group conversation," Cooper explained.
The groups gather, but what do they talk about? Anything, but facilitators wanting to find ways to build on community strengths keep participants on task with a list of topics and questions.
Otherwise, “It ends up becoming a gripe session and we don’t want that,” said Cooper. “We want to know what the concerns are, certainly, but also part of this is what are the strengths of the community? What are the things that are here that are assets?”
The first Conversation Cafe in Nacogdoches was hosted by a church. Today, one was held at Oak Hill Plaza, a public housing complex. Eastwood Terrace will host one next week.
Property manager Treasa Sitton supports the idea.
“If it gets people talking about things and things that they would like to see happen, it would be a great thing for Nacogdoches," Sitton said.
Anyone can ask for a Conversation Café.
"It could be a civic group; maybe it’s a neighborhood. Maybe someone says, 'I think my community, I would like to do one, or my subdivision,” Cooper said.
Researchers are particularly interested in having Conversation Cafes in the county.
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health is providing funding to support the collaborative approach to the study of well-being in rural communities.
Lt’s a conversation that could lead to a better community filled with people that don’t mind talking with their neighbor