“Trust is earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection.” Brene’ Brown
PRESCRIPTION FOR HUMAN CONNECTION
Chase and his dad had noticed the homeless population in their area and wanted to do something to help. How can we help? Well, ask them, his dad responded. This was the first spark, the lightbulb, the brisk wind under his tiny cape that inspired Chase and his dad to begin their quest of becoming humble vigilantes on a mission. The Hansen men didn’t just want to hand out sandwiches or donate money or canned food. They wanted to find a sustainable solution to the problem, not just bandaid. Thus, Project Empathy was born.
The approach was simple; sit down person-to-person over a simple meal and listen. Tap into the mindset of an innocent child and listen without judgment and with only curiosity. It was asking what they need.
As it turns out, what most of them needed was a person to listen to them and connect with. They discovered in the end, a free meal is always great, but having someone to listen to them and hear them was immeasurable.
Chase and his dad have just begun their journey, as they made very clear. It’s not for glory or news headlines but the future of their community and the improvement of the lives of those most-at-risk. Chase is now 12-years-old and has no plans of slowing down any time soon. His pure motivation and desire to make the world a better place will no doubt make a lasting impact on the world. Chase hopes to grow Project Empathy even more in the future and end homelessness in their city. Kids like Chase have the power to create real change in the world with the right encouragement, environment, and little bit of superhero magic.
They saw a problem that they knew they could solve, even if it was one person at a time out of thousands. They’ve collected data and researched and talked to hundreds of people with a simple mission to serve and foster the community. It’s not as easy as putting on gloves and handing out sandwiches but it is as simple as sitting down with a person in need and listening. — Nugent Magazine
We are recruiting volunteers and interested community stakeholders who are willing to invest in others with their time and their attention over a meal or dessert.
Participants should have great listening skills, be curious, brave, kind, open minded, compassionate, and positive.
We are developing a prototype, a process that is simple. Being present, connecting, hearing about each other’s life, will have a positive impact on all involved. In this way we, as a community can develop meaningful relationships that are authentic, develop trust, gain insight from those we seek to serve about their gaps, and connect others to services that are needed, and have a good, friendly conversation that is sure to enlighten and leave you feeling gratitude.
John and Chase Hansen
“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.” — Oprah Winfrey
PROJECT EMPATHY IN THE NEWS
JANUARY 23, 2020 | GOOD MORNING AMERICA
JANUARY 9, 2020 | WASHINGTON POST
DECEMBER 29, 2019 | THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
WHAT IS EMPATHY?
Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective.
“Our brains are wired to run from pain — including emotional pain — whether it is ours or someone else’s. Sharing a listening, caring ear is something most people can do. When we feel heard, cared about, and understood, we also feel loved, accepted, and as if we belong”. — Brene’ Brown
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” — Steve Jobs
WHAT INSPIRED PROJECT EMPATHY
- Those we sought to serve became our friends, our brothers and sisters. Their honest dialogue, radical candor, bravery, and desire to be part of our community taught us so much and opened our hearts.
- Every movie and story about heroes, especially the ones about every day citizens that seek to make a difference.
- The Opioid Crisis |The White House | Office of The President of the United States of America
- The research on empathy, shame, and vulnerability by Brene’ Brown. Dare to Lead.
- The social experiment, the Human Library facilitating connection and enlightenment through engineered conversation.
- The research on early childhood trauma and addiction by Gabor Mate.
- The work of Abraham Maslow in hierarchy of human needs, peak experiences, and positive psychology.
- The research and application of the “World Cafe” model and conversational leadership by Juanita Brown.
- The work of Kelly Brogan on the vital mind, and how food and well-being influence depression, anxiety, bi-polar and other mood disorders.
- Strength Based Recovery Research.
- The Adverse Childhood Experiences study (A.C.E.).
HUMAN CENTERED DESIGN
Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs.
Design thinking is a powerful process for problem-solving that begins with understanding unmet customer needs. From that insight emerges a process for innovation that encompasses concept development, applied creativity, prototyping, and experimentation. When design thinking approaches are applied to business, the success rate for innovation improves substantially.
Design Thinking for Social Innovation: Stanford Social Innovation Review
SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH
Conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. These conditions are known as social determinants of health (SDOH).
We know that poverty limits access to healthy foods and safe neighborhoods and that more education is a predictor of better health. We also know that differences in health are striking in communities with poor SDOH such as unstable housing, low income, unsafe neighborhoods, or substandard education. By applying what we know about SDOH, we can not only improve individual and population health but also advance health equity.
A framework for prevention focuses not only on identifying protective factors but also on better understanding how those factors may contribute to or explain positive outcomes for children, families, and communities.
BUILD MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS: Spend time together | Learn about them | Communicate with caring | Appreciate differences as well as commonalities | Serve them
The concept of collective impact hinges on the idea that in order for organizations to create lasting solutions to social problems on a large-scale, they need to coordinate their efforts and work together around a clearly defined goal. The approach of collective impact is placed in contrast to “isolated impact,” where organizations primarily work alone to solve social problems and draws on earlier works on collaborative leadership, focused on collective goals, strategic partnerships, collective and independent action aligned with those goals, shared accountability, and a backbone “institutional worrier”. Collective impact is based on organizations forming cross-sector coalitions to make meaningful and sustainable progress on social issues.
- Empathy is a technical skill by infoq
- Six habits of highly empathetic people
- In Our Connected World, What If Empathy Is Learning?
- Testimony before the US Senate about health effects of connection — BYU Professor Julianne Holt-Luntad, Ph.D
- The Best Way to Serve the Poor Is with Human Contact, Says Sister Sharon Eubank
- Our ability to care for others is increased when we have a meaningful relationship with them. The call to “Love our neighbors” through ministry. Ministering Principles
- The Giving State by Cicero
- Utah Priorities Project 2016
- Social Capital Project by Senator Lee’s Office
EMPATHY IN ACTION
EMPATHY as a project was designed alongside community advocates and experts, and 100s of individuals experiencing homelessness and often addiction through a process called human centered design. We asked them what they needed.
THANK YOU to all those allies who sat down with our team, who were brave and open to new ideas.
“The process of learning an art can be divided conveniently into two parts: one, the mastery of the theory; the other, the mastery of the practice.” Erich Fromm