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Resources for Hosting Community Cafes ( & Robin Cogan


I asked @Robin M Cogan to share some about why and how she has hosted community cafes in New Jersey. I'm sharing this now because there are so many fabulous documentaries available (and more coming out all of the time). Community cafes, based on the world cafe model, are great to have after a shared a movie experience.

Some of us come alive in front of a huge crowd, and some of us find meeting facilitation or group discussions a little daunting. Whatever camp you might be in, these resources may be helpful. 

One thing Robin stresses is that community cafes are not presentations to the community or information delivered at an audience. They are, instead, a place that makes space to listen to, learn from, and brainstorm or dialogues with community members who are sharing with one another and who are also helping organize and run cafes.    

Here is a video about how to do a community cafe. 

Here is a video about the Camden City Community Cafe Project.

Robin writes:

Community cafes are based on the World Café model, a method of community engagement that promotes empowerment by giving families a voice, a chance to address specific topics of concern.  These structured conversations became the impetus to engage our families in community-focused conversations about their over-utilization of the Emergency Department (ED) for primary care.  We wanted to improve communications between the pediatric providers/school nurses and families in order to promote care coordination for our students.

Our Community Café project was an initiative created by participating in the Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Program. We were tasked with bringing an evidence-based initiative to our school community to address a data-informed health concern. In our research, we found that the families in Camden City, New Jersey were over-utilizing the ED for primary care 85% more than Camden County residents. Here is a glimpse into the project:

She also writes:

We chose to introduce Community Cafes, small group gatherings where structured conversations around specific topics are held and community-based solutions are identified.  It is a participant-driven discussion that empowers community members by asking about their experiences or solutions to specific issues.

Our Community Cafe Initiative was so successful that we continue hosting them three years later and the work has spread to other NJ school communities.

More about World Cafe & Community Cafe Events

Here are some excerpts from the cafe to go guide (attached below).



5 ways

More about Robin:

Robin Cogan (MEd, RN, NCSN is a Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN), is currently in her 18th year as a New Jersey school nurse in the Camden City School District. She is the Education Chair for the New Jersey State School Nurses Association. 

She has been recognized in her home state of New Jersey and nationally for her community-based initiative called “The Community Café: A Conversation That Matters.”

Robin Cogan

Robin serves as faculty in the School Nurse Specialty Program at Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing, where she teaches the next generation of school nurses. She was presented the 2018 Rutgers University – Camden Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award for Part-time Faculty. Robin writes a weekly blog called The Relentless School Nurse, you can access it on her website

@Robin M Cogan and others (like @Emily Read Daniels) please add thoughts, suggestions, comments, and lessons learned from Community and World Cafes you've gone to or helped run.  


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Robin M Cogan posted:

Oh, thank you so much, Cissy, for sharing this information. Community Cafes are fun to create, easy to run and give the participants the power to create conversations that matter. 

Thanks so much. It's amazing how many new documentaries are coming out and those, along with the great ones that already exist, are so great when combined with world/community cafes. I'm sure others will appreciate your experience and sharing it and resources. Thank You!

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