What does it mean to be a citizen? To engage in civil discourse? To learn from experiences different from your own, and being open to allowing those perspectives to shape your views?
For Sophia He, rising tenth grader from Newton, MA, Living Room Conversations has allowed her to explore those questions.
As part of our continuing series on amplifying young people involved in this work, we connected with Sophia and asked her to share her experiences in a recent Living Room Conversations blog post.
She believes that while for many teens civic dialog is an abstract concept, it is critical to their future. “Our generation of youth born in the 2000s are the future leaders. The sense of empowerment and connection that we share will help us achieve bigger goals together,” He said.
“Youths may not see the benefits of civic dialog that visibly, which is why it’s so important for youth pioneers to share their experiences and what they have learned participating in [Living Room] conversations.”
Sophia was introduced to Living Room Conversations by her friend Peilin, and was drawn to conversations about racial discrimination and media polarization.
There is so much about the conversation model that appealed to Sophia: deepening human connection, better understanding issues she’s passionate about, and learning from others.
Surprisingly, what was most meaningful to Sophia was how warmly she was embraced by older conversation participants. She shared how valued and respected she felt, and how good it felt to have the older generation truly listen to her experiences.
Using Living Room Conversations as a tool to help weave the generations together is an exciting frontier to this work, and being invited by a trusted friend to participate in conversation makes a tremendous difference. Is there a young person in your life who might find this work meaningful? Would you invite them to join you in conversation?
The Living Room Conversations Youth Council is currently accepting applications. If a high school or college student in your life is interested in hosting, program-building, and creating conversation guides specific to youth, please encourage them to apply here.
We’re hearing that many of you yearn to connect across generations, and we’re thrilled that this conversation model helps you build those relationships.
For those of you who’ve been part of intergenerational conversations, please respond to this note and tell us about your experiences.
With your help, we can grow and learn, together. Always.