Is hosting a Dinner Party table right for me?
I've experienced significant death loss, whether a parent, sibling, partner, child, or close friend and was among the first in my peer community to experience that kind of loss (while we understand that loss takes many forms (i.e. break ups, divorce) we do not currently have the capacity to meet needs outside of death or physical loss)
I understand that I'm joining a community of mostly 20- and 30-somethings because this is an age group that is typically underserved by the traditional grief community -- too old for youth grief support and too young for traditional grief support groups.
I’m passionate about a different approach to life after loss. I recognize that the way we culturally avoid loss is counter-productive to living great lives. And I want to play a part in changing that.
I have access to a space to host! It doesn’t need to be a fancy apartment with a big dining room table and candles everywhere (though if that’s your hosting style, please don’t let us stop you!). Sitting casually around couches and coffee tables? That’s a Dinner Party. Eating ice cream and drinking wine? That’s a Dinner Party. If you don’t have a private space to host, we ask that you find another cozy and semi-private spot to bring people together -- a corner of a coffee shop, friend’s backyard, yoga studio you have access to -- where people will feel comfortable talking about issues that don't often see the light of day.
I have time to host and am willing to commit to hosting for at least 6 months minimum. All of our tables meet at least quarterly (4x a year) and often monthly or bimonthly. Sometimes Dinner Parties sound great but our plates are full with that new job or bumping social calendar. You’ll need to be able to dedicate about 1 hour for organizing each dinner (sending out invites, coordinating dates) and then however much time it’ll take you the day of to tidy up, cook a dish, host the dinner, and clean up after - typically 4-6 hours total.
I understand that being authentic in who I am and how grief shows up in my life -- not being an expert facilitator or grief expert -- is the #1 quality that “makes a good host.” Attended facilitation trainings your whole life? Awesome. Have a career that seems to overlap with the Dinner Party’s mission? Cool. Your role as host is not to heavily facilitate a group conversation but to be present, thoughtful, self-aware, an active listener, and able to hold space for your story and the stories of others.
I prioritize my own self-care. The Dinner Party is not a replacement for therapy or other forms of healing, and when you’re hosting the conversation, it’s important that you can hold space both for yourself and others. Obviously, we’re all works in progress, but it’s important that TDP hosts have their own toolkit in place for how to move through stress and emotional vulnerability.
I understand that the Dinner Party will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, antisemitism, Islamophobia or any other form of discrimination at the table -- and that it is part of my responsibility as host to uphold inclusive space for all.
HOST A TABLE: DINNER PARTY HOST APPLICATION
Thank you so much for applying to host with the Dinner Party! Please know that our staff (all of whom have experienced significant loss themselves) read every single host application with care, and appreciate and honor the vulnerability it takes to fill out a form.
Although we’re attending to applications as swiftly as possible, our commitment to thoughtfully preparing each host, including a 1. one-on-one introductory call and 2. group webinar with other incoming hosts, makes this an inherently slow process. Due to a high volume of applications, our response can take up to 4-6 weeks.
Please note that depending on your location, we may not be able to offer you the opportunity to host a Dinner Party table at this time. One thing we’ve learned over the last few years is that trying to make a table work when there aren’t enough people invested in a location can leave people feeling more isolated after loss rather than less (which kinda defeats the purpose of Dinner Party-ing, no?).
There may also not be a need to onboard a new host in your area at this time. If this is the case, you'll have an opportunity in your application to let us know if you would like to wait to host or join an existing table. If you share with us that you'd like to join an existing table, you'll receive an email from us during an upcoming Matching Week (see schedule here) connecting you with your host(s) and/or offering a status update and additional resources.
Biggest thank you for your patience and understanding -- and for applying to be a host with the Dinner Party!
1. This will be seen by human eyes. In submitting this, you're agreeing to share this with our core Community Management team. We take confidentiality seriously, and will not share it elsewhere.
2. Please note that, depending on demand in your location, we may not be able to train and onboard you as a TDP host at this time (see map on homepage for current TDP cities, though these are always expanding!). One thing we’ve learned over the last few years is onboarding hosts in places where there’s not enough interest in building a table community can sometimes make people feel more isolated in life after loss rather than less. Either way, we will communicate openly with you about what your status as a host is and if you haven’t heard from us right away, don't worry! We’ll be in touch and couldn’t forget about you if we tried**