22 Aug RESIDENTS SET TO CONNECT AND SPARK COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS DURING MY MIAMI STORY CONVERSATIONS

Life for Miami-Dade County’s 2.7 million residents can be easily categorized by economic indicators — the affordability of homes compared to average salaries, the number of good jobs paying decent wages, and the funding for public schools compared to other major cities. But how do these statistics connect to what residents experience in their daily lives?

The answer is found in this year’s My Miami Story conversations, part of a national initiative to advance greater community connection and problem-solving funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This year’s My Miami Story is slated for Tuesday, October 23, 2018, when small groups of Miamians – led by residents, civic leaders and local organizations – will sit down over lunch, dinner or cafecito breaks to talk about their stories and experiences behind the statistics.  Now in its third year, this open dialogue creates a unified community narrative that illuminates what life is truly like in Greater Miami. Last year, more than 3,000 residents participated in almost 300 conversations across the county.

“It’s a day unlike any other in Miami where we pause to reflect, connect and spark action around the issues that matter to all of us,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “My Miami Story conversations ignite the potential energy each of us has to improve our city, neighborhoods and collective future. When we break bread, talk and listen, we discover that there is much more that unites us as a community than divides us.”

Pictured above: Former Foundation Trustee Marlon Hill, past and current Miami Fellows and other community young leaders hold up fact cards they selected as part of their 2017 My Miami Story conversation.
Pictured above: Former Foundation Trustee Marlon Hill, past and current Miami Fellows and other community young leaders hold up fact cards they selected as part of their 2017 My Miami Story conversation.

All participants will be asked to share their “Miami story”: how they came to Miami, why they stay here, what they care about and, ultimately, what each of us can do to improve life in the county. Experiences, ideas and recommendations will be captured in a post-conversation survey analyzed by the public opinion research team of Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies. The Miami Foundation will share the survey findings, insights and results with local residents, funders, agencies and decision-makers to inform their community-building work in Greater Miami.

The Miami Foundation is one of 10 community foundations across the U.S. participating in a national initiative funded by Knight Foundation following a successful pilot in 2017. My Miami Story replicates an annual civic engagement initiative developed by The Chicago Community Trust in 2014 called “On the Table”. Support for this initiative advances Knight Foundation’s work to help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement. Knight Foundation believes that successful communities are equitable, inclusive and participatory.

“My Miami Story is helping to build a national network of engaged residents and problem solvers who are invested in the future of their communities,” said Lilly Weinberg, program director of Community and National Initiatives at Knight Foundation. “The growing popularity of the event is testament to the desire of Miami residents to connect and drive positive change.”

Anyone can sign up to host a My Miami Story conversation. Hosts will receive a simple toolkit with tips on planning and guiding the discussion.  They can also participate in free information sessions or online webinars highlighting “how to’s” that ensure a successful gathering.  There will also be open conversations throughout Miami-Dade where anyone from the public who wants to participate can attend.

To register as a host and for more information, visit mymiamistory.org.

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