Texas mother starts movement to connect neighbors

When Kristin Schell realized she didn’t know many of her Austin, Texas, neighbors, she tried an innovative approach to get people talking.

She painted a picnic table bright turquoise and put it in her front yard. Then she sat down and waited for a neighbor to stroll by.

“Within a few hours, she met a neighbor from around the corner. Within a few weeks, a small group of neighbors was gathering to tell stories,” The Epoch Times reported. “Within months, families were gathering on Friday evenings, and more turquoise tables were popping up around town.”

In 2017, she started a podcast, appeared at conferences and even wrote a book about her effort at connecting neighbors with each other.

The turquoise table took on a life of its own as people drew inspiration from it to start their own front-yard communities,” The Epoch Times noted.

Now, there are more than 2,000 turquoise tables around the world—in all 50 states and in 13 countries—in addition to a robust online community through The Turquoise Table website and on various social media platforms.

Ten years ago, Kristin was a stay at home mother of four. As she approached her 50th birthday, she developed a deep-rooted feeling of personal dissatisfaction because she spent more time in her minivan shuttling kids than she did with her family.

Even with four kids and a dog, Kristin was very lonely, but she thought that was normal because her friends were experiencing the same feelings.

“I think the problem of loneliness, or that deep-seated desire for community, is a basic human need that always comes out eventually,” she said. “The table became my solution, and for that I’m grateful.”

A funny thing happened during the COVID havoc — the concept exploded as people craved more human interaction because online video connections weren’t very fulfilling, the paper explained.

“More people were getting tables, more people were sending emails about how they could still meet outside, and how lawn chairs could be moved around the table to be 6 feet apart,” Kristin said.

It appears people are wired for community after all.

This type of neighborhood building can take place in communities of every size. The article outlines five pieces of advice Kristin shares with others who want to build a stronger sense of community in their neighborhoods.

To read the full story about how Kristin’s simple idea is working to connect people around the globe, visit www.theepochtimes.com.

Kristin’s book, “The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard,” is available at Amazon.com. If you buy it from this link, Forward From 50 may earn a small commission.