The Crusader Newspaper Group

On the Table paves a pathway to deeper connections in Lake County

Legacy Foundation released results of the 2018 On the Table survey on Tuesday. More than 2,100 adults and 700 youth attended conversations held in September across Lake County, Indiana. From the adults who participated, 1,212 completed a survey related to issues discussed during their conversations.

“We found that most people had positive feelings about the future and their community, but there were areas where they expressed frustration,” said Legacy Foundation President Carolyn Saxton.

Although 71 percent of survey participants say that the area where they live has a strong sense of community, 51 percent feel that their community does not provide opportunities for everyone. African Americans and those aged 18-34 were among the most likely to say their community does not provide opportunities for all.

Jobs/economic development and crime are the top issues that attendees would like to see addressed in their community, and these are the top issue priorities regardless of race/ethnicity or where they live. Participants under 18 years old who completed a survey identified drug use and addiction as the most important issue facing youth in their community.

“In a county that can seem divided along many lines – geographic, racial, and economic – On the Table brings residents together around food and community. It relies on the simple idea that sharing a meal and conversation can break down some of our barriers and misconceptions,” said Saxton.

More than half of participants say  their On the Table conversation led them to connect with new people, learn more about their community, and understand how to take action. Attendees are optimistic that they can effect positive change in their community themselves. They are most interested in participating in a volunteer service event and joining a small group that regularly meets to discuss issues.

Survey respondents identify nonprofits, community residents, and local government as the most impactful partners for community progress. “People are looking to nonprofits, like Legacy Foundation, and other community groups to be agents of change. That is why we’re putting together a series of facilitated conversations; so, we can work with residents, experts, and community leaders to identify and support solutions to some of our challenges,” said Saxton.

You can see the results of the Table survey and sign-up to take part in a focus group at http://www.legacyfdnorg/onthetable.

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