Community collaboration and storytelling

This morning Jeff and I spoke in a marketing class at Adams State. We got a lot of great feedback, and two more students were immediately interested in interning with us for the summer.

It so encouraging to see how excited they get when we pitch our vision to them.

It reenergizes me and reminds me how important it is to connect with people within your community in order to work together.

Having said that, in discussion with a friend about my previous post, Social media collaboration, he reminded me about the community and welfare system of the Mormons.

In doing some research, I read this article, “A Welfare System that Works,” by Naomi Schaefer Riley.

They provide all of these services for their community such as Food Banks and access to shelters in the area. Many of these things they do are right in line with La Puente’s programs for emergency aid. These emergency programs are wonderful, but one thing that is vastly needed across all boards are programs that educate and empower individuals into self-sufficiency. Without a program like this, there is a constant cycle of poverty and homelessness.

La Puente’s Adelante uses case managers to educate and empower clients towards self-sufficiency, but what if there aren’t jobs in the area available for them?

That’s where seed me comes into play…to provide an opportunity for people in this isolated Valley to utilize their skills and passions and create micro-businesses.

One interesting aspect of the Mormon community mentioned in the above article is the concept of tithing, or paying 10% of your wages towards charity.

“…tithing has not been a struggle for them at all. They have tithed since childhood—income from their allowances, from summer jobs, from internship stipends, from birthday gifts. By the time they get their first real jobs, they are already in the habit of giving to charity.

Those habits, bred early and practiced widely, are what make possible this beehive of generosity. And they are showing the world one model for building a large, effective, and private social welfare system—a model that works.” ~Naomi Schaefer Riley

I find it really fascinating to think about how our communities and cultures have evolved over the last several hundred years. No longer are the days where people live and work together in small groups. What happened to helping thy neighbor, or taking care of your aging parents?

I am so anxious and eager to make positive changes in the world—but right now, locally in my own community. There are so many individuals with talents and the need to collaborate and support each other’s well-being is crucial. The opportunity is there, it’s up to us to seize hold of it…

On another note, my sister just sent me this video of a toy she got from work: a “Noggin Bop” called Max.  Each toy has a name and a story along with it.

Max’s story, for example, is this: “Check me out. I spend my time in the nightclub districts in most major European towns. They say I’m one cool cat on and off the dance floor. I love all types of music, and nothing throws me off the beat.”

At first I just laughed at the video of this crazy windup toy she sent me, but as I read over the descriptions it hit me. Regardless of how silly they are, the marketing and branding seems to be successful. Why? Because the story makes you feel connected and drawn to the toy…

It brings me back to speaking with the students at Adams State the last two weeks: They’ll ask us how we plan to reach out to a market beyond the 48,000 living in the San Luis Valley and I keep going back to storytelling.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have as human beings. The more personal you get and the more you can build a relationship, the more people you will attract to your product, service or cause—even down to a little windup toy named Max…


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