80-in-80: Using Relationship Power to Build Community and Strengthen Impact

In some ways We Stories is about the very small. The intimate moments like bedtime stories, memories from childhood, private hopes for the future, the starting of new habits, the subtle but significant changes in language and conversation that shape a family.

And in many ways We Stories is about the very big. Interrupting systemic racism, enga ging a critical mass, building towards a tipping point, disrupting the status quo, embracing the unconventional, pushing everyday in every way towards transformation.

As an organization it is part of our work to bridge these two spheres: the small and the big. To mobilize these personal shifts and shape them into waves of lasting change.

That bridging takes a tremendous amount of relationship power. Our ability to make impact, to help transform is directly related to our connectedness...to our members’ sense of belonging and being known, and our overall community cohesion.

This is a fundamental challenge for an organization that has grown as explosively as we have. In the last three years more than 750 FAMILIES have become a part of our community. And in the same amount of time more than 400 others have joined in to fund and lend support to our mission. All together that is a LOT of people. People who are motivated to make a difference and to be part of something.

At the start of last year, as we planned for the addition of 200+ families, we also set some goals around cultivating stronger community cohesion. Over the course of the spring, We Stories families developed our skills in relationship building and storytelling. By summer we were recruiting and training an ad-hoc cohesion team. And on August 6th, sixteen of us began the “80-in-80 campaign”, committing to reaching 80 members of our community in 80 days.

Across these 80 days, we have had some really amazing connections. Conversations with those who felt connected but not necessarily known to us, those whose We Stories journeys have created far-reaching ripple effects in their homes, families and communities, those who continue to experience a multiplying effect the longer they are in our community and the more activated and connected they become!

Many of these folks wouldn’t use the words remarkable or inspiring to describe their own story, but they do use these words to describe the experience of being a part of our community, especially when they can see how far-reaching and impactful our work can be. And that’s what is truly awesome about doing this together. #ItAddsUp! We get to serve as motivation and inspiration for one another, while continuing to learn and draw inspiration from those around us.

Our community is powerful because it is purposeful and makes space for many to be a part. Thank you for playing the part you do in making us what we are. Whether you’re a joiner, reader, listener, commenter, liker, follower, caller, volunteer, leader, or giver...you are a part of our whole. And when we work together, change is possible.

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