Editor’s Note: At the Table is an international exchange program that connects high school students in Philadelphia and Riga. The program, undertaken by the National Constitution Center in collaboration with the National History Museum of Latvia, is having “Sunday Suppers” in various communities around Philadelphia. These conversations will culminate in a student developed service project and a collaborative documentary film about civic engagement. One student participant, Wells Brown, recaps her experience at the third and final “Sunday Supper.”
Talk about a great ending! Our final Sunday Supper on March 25th was surprisingly our most productive out of the three, and it was a wonderful way to finish. It was held at the International House located in the University of Pennsylvania campus, although our Asia Room wasn’t as “Asian” decorated as we thought it was going to be; however, our menu was felafel cuisine that everyone was excited about trying.
We were only expecting a few guest since at our previous suppers we usual would have a light turn out, only around one or two of our many invites would actually attend. The fact that eight guests arrived at our venue delighted all of us. The variety of people there was astonishing.
Listening to the West Philadelphia stories of born and raised residents, principals, program leaders, and small business owners all added such depth to our conversation. Learning about the lack of grocery stores that attributed to poor nutrition was an unexpected, but interesting topic that arose.
The guests spanned many generations and each spoke fondly about their own memories of West Philly. All of us in At the Table gained knowledge of West Philadelphia that surpassed our highest expectations. We learned about the different neighborhoods, schools, people and issues that resided in West Philly, not to mention the food was delicious.
We are all grateful for our amazing final Sunday supper and we will not forget it. We truly did end it with a bang. Now as we look forward to planning our service project, we are inspired by not only this dinner, but all of them to create a service project to help our Philadelphia community.
At the Table: Connecting Culture, Conversation and Service in Latvia and the U.S. was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with American Association of Museums. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.