Cultural Conversations, a program that has helped women in the Crossroads neighborhood make connections with each other and the community, is now expanding to South Bellevue.
Women of all ages and backgrounds are invited to a planning meeting at the South Bellevue Community Center, 14509 SE Newport Way, on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
In January 2010, the City of Bellevue introduced Cultural Conversations, inviting women to meet for tea and cookies at the Crossroads Community Center every six weeks. City staff started the program after some women from the Bellevue mosque receiving help at the Crossroads Mini City Hall spoke of feeling disconnected. Since then, more than 50 women have participated.
Regular attendees have included women of many faiths and cultures, all with a common desire to make new friends and to expand their own cultural understanding.
"Cultural Conversations has been a way for me to meet the wise and wonderful women of my community whom I would not have met in any other way," said Karina O’Malley. "Our meetings break down barriers and let us learn from each other in a safe environment. Every meeting is an education and an invigorating boost."
Activities at Cultural Conversations events have included:
- Exploring probing questions about faiths and cultures in a safe environment;
- Personal storytelling -- addressing themes including cultural stereotypes, love and marriage in different cultures, intergenerational relationships and gender roles;
- Ethnic potlucks, sharing of foods and customs;
- Service projects;
- "Difficult Conversations" training; and
- Presentation on the power of global education for girls and women.
The city provides meeting space, facilitation and refreshments, but the group will customize its gatherings to meet the needs of those participating. There is no charge to attend, and women of all ages, faiths, races and cultures are encouraged to participate.
For more information on the new South Bellevue group or the Crossroads/East Bellevue group, or to RSVP for the Sept. 22 meeting, please contact Julie Ellenhorn at 425-452-5372 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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