Our Tomorrows: Sharing Your Story to Help Build a Better Tomorrow

Lately, stories have been top of mind here at the University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research (CPPR).  Every day, we hear stories of resilient families that have bounced back from great challenges. Stories of hope…and stories of struggle. Through these stories we are gathering nuggets of wisdom about the ways in which things could, and should, be going better to improve lives.

Every family’s story is different. The experiences that we share with those closest to us become our own story, but can also resonate for generations to come. Stories are powerful. They shape the way we view the world and how we view our role in making the world a better place for all of us.

So we wondered…what can we do to bring the stories we hear every day to the forefront of conversations that help inform public policy and programming for children, youth, and families across Kansas, and beyond?

Our Tomorrows Project

This summer, CPPR set a goal of gathering 1,000 stories about families. These can be stories of families that are truly thriving…or merely just surviving. There’s much to be learned from all kinds of stories with all kinds of outcomes. The stories we collect may be used to shape policy and programming decisions in your community and across the country.

We are using an innovative technology called SenseMaker to gather stories from families. SenseMaker asks the user to submit an anonymous story, in paragraph form, through a simple online tool. SenseMaker also asks several follow-up questions about the story you shared and how you perceive it.  It takes between 10 and 15 minutes to complete the process, depending on the length of your story.

Sharing a story is easy, and we’d love for you to contribute!

Think back to a time when you remember things really going well for you and your family, or a family you’re close to. . . That time could be right now, or it could be 50 years ago.  What do you remember about that time in your life? Why were things going so well? What did that look like?

What about a time when your family, or a family you know was just barely surviving or was really struggling?  How was that different? Who were the people who helped the family get through that difficult period? Were there any community programs that really helped the family pull through?

And, by the way, you don’t need to be a parent, or have young children to participate.  We want to hear from families of all kinds, so please join us in our quest to build better tomorrows for families by submitting your story today at http://bit.ly/OurTomorrows!

Thank you Keil & Amanda for contributing to Ideas in Motion!

Keil earned his Master’s degree in Peace Studies from the UN-Mandated University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. He is an Assistant Researcher at the Center for Public Partnerships and Research at the University of Kansas. You can find Keil’s other writings on conflict resolution, peace, and politics on his blog, Octaguante or on Twitter.

Amanda earned her Master’s degree in Digital Content Strategy at the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, KS. She works primarily on the Institute for the Advancement of Family Support Professionals project along with communications across the Center. You can find her writing on travel, food, photography, and other interests on her website at AmandaNWoodward.com and follow her on Twitter