Who's Living Next Door

Last year I met a remarkable woman named Rose and she shared her story with me. For years after moving to the United States, she lived in an apartment, but no one knew her story. What a shame. Rose has been named the UN Humanitarian of the Year. She has won the 'Volvo for Life' award. She has stood on the stage with Angelina Jolie. And yet, no one in her apartment community knew her story.

Rose is a Congolese widow who survived sixteen months in a death camp with her ten children and now works to help victims of genocide in her home country. And, she looked just like all the other resident in her community.

Everybody's got a story. Perhaps not as remarkable as Rose's, but we've all got one worth sharing. The Ritz-Carlton is currently embarking on a social media campaign that asks their guests to define their experience at the Ritz in six words. In this case, they are going for the exceptional.

But in your community, everyone's story matters. Have you considered how you might create the space for people to share?

In my city we have a large population of homeless individuals. One group has undertaken the task of listening to the stories of these men and women and writing them down. Many of these individuals have expressed how valuable they feel when they are being listened to. All of us have this need--to be known.

So, what are you doing to help your residents get to know the stories of those around them? What are you doing as a staff to discover the treasures in your midst? We'd love to hear about it!