Come DINE With Me
Morgan Gonzalez | Lyman High School
It was during the October chapter officer meeting when I first learned about DINE (Discover differences, Include one another, Navigate new perspectives…EAT). It struck a part of me that lit an internal fire, an internal fire that was lit thanks to Kristian Cosme, our AT&T Community Champion. The DINE project allowed us a space to interact with individuals from different walks of life and share opinions on critical topics, such as religion, community hardships, and future planning.
Two weeks later I hosted my very first DINE event that included five of my peers that played on my team or sat in the same classes as me, but I never made the effort to get to know them outside the classroom or the lacrosse field. This group of DINE peers included people of a wide array of cultural and religious backgrounds, which included Haitian, Mormon, Egyptian, Hindu and Hispanic. We bonded over burritos and chips and guacamole, and it was during this time we not only enjoyed food, but also laughter, tears, and shared experiences and beliefs. Some of the questions discussed included topics about race, religion, future aspirations, hobbies, struggles and much more.
Some of the questions I asked to guide the conversation were:
- “Was there ever a time where your beliefs were challenged”
- “How was the relationship between your parents growing up? And how has it shaped you?”
These questions opened a new window of understanding into a variety of diverse cultures and religions. That day we sat together and learned about each other. I wanted our lunch to be a safe environment and emphasized that they could share as much or as little as they wanted. The participation of my group was one that I could have never imagined, and everyone equally shared. I learned that the home of one of my peers was bombed in Egypt; I learned that another peer felt disassociated with her religion. Because of stories like these I felt closer to a group of people I knew nothing about.
DINE has been one of the highlights of my four years as a DECA member and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have hosted this DINE event. This event was one of five DINE events hosted by my DECA chapter this school year. I’m looking forward to hosting my next one! If it wasn’t for the unconditional support of my chapter advisor, Dr. Levenhagen, and Kristian Cosme, my DINE wouldn’t have been so fun and full of love.
It is my hope that these five people will remember what we talked about and I will encourage them to host their own DINE event.
For more information about how you can host a DINE event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org