There are 319 million people living in the United States of America. We face challenges that divide us everyday; however, divisive dialogue does not create meaningful solutions. When we openly listen and understand each other, we can create effective solutions for our communities' challenges. If you could make your voice heard, what would you advocate for? What would you want your community members and leaders to understand about your American story? Your story has the power to help America understand your community's challenges.
On July 4, 2017, Hatch International, a nonprofit social enterprise incubator and community organizer launched the Hatching Voices: Our American Story campaign (Hatching Voices) with the intent of building empathy across individuals and communities, understanding the unique stories and experiences of millions of Americans across the country, and using these data to discover some of our most critical social challenges. Hatch has structured its campaign to follow a human-centered design process in order to create solutions that will address the needs of the American people and their communities.
Hatching Voices encourages every single individual in this world who identifies as an American to share their unique story by answering a few simple questions and digging deeper into what it is they have experienced in their lives. Hatch International has created a platform for Americans to share their stories. The stories shared have the power to help us understand the challenges faced across communities. Hatch has also created a listening tool that has the ability to collect and create data-driven insights from these stories.
With just a few weeks into the campaign, the Hatching Voices team has already started to uncover the nuanced experiences tied to broad social challenges. For example, a University staff member in southern California shared his observation of the challenges faced by his student body on campus including rampant hunger, housing insecurity, and limited resources to address mental health issues. While it is a known issue that there is a problem with food insecurity at colleges across the country with student hunger rates as high as 50% on some campuses, our campaign participant’s story helped us localize the specific issue faced in the southern California region. We are learning that on this particular campus, the issue extends beyond hunger and includes a lack of other critical resources such as affordable housing and mental healthcare services. Hatch is now crowd sourcing ideas via social media from Americans to think through how we might come together as a community and provide these critical resources so that America’s students can live with dignity and experience success in their academic careers.
Hatch is applying its incubation approach and growing network of cross-sector partners to provide critical start-up resources to transform these ideas into sustainable, community-driven solutions. Hatch is also engaging its cross-sector partners to reach specific demographics within our country. For example, Hatch has partnered with Impact Hub’s DC chapter to leverage Hatch’s platform and listening tool to collect stories from their local network around key social challenges such as mass incarceration, and use the data to glean valuable insights. They plan to hold community discussions and ideation sessions around these data to create solutions that will reduce mass incarceration, a critical problem that is affecting thousands of African-Americans in the DC-Maryland-Virginia region.
Hatching Voices hopes to piece together #OurAmericanStory and engage all individuals and organizations to build a cohesive expression for change, inclusive of diverse values, experiences, and opinions. The Hatch team hopes to work with America to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit within our communities and create a movement that will ignite positive social change.
This blog post was written by Shivangi Khargonekar, Executive Director of Hatch International. Her and the Hatching Voices team invites all Americans to join the campaign and share their story at bit.ly/HatchingVoices. To learn more about the campaign or if you are interested in partnering with the campaign, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hatchinternational.org/hatching-voices