American Next Features
As the American Dream proves more elusive, a recent study says Americans have given up on government and other institutions. But there are pockets of hope among groups that look for success on a smaller scale.
In small towns in mid-Missouri, people of different ages and origins sound off about the political and social issues that matter to them.
Missouri state Rep. Stephen Webber and 44th District seat candidate Caleb Rowden are young politicians looking at ways to inspire young voters to become active in their community.
In Small Town, USA, families discuss the election and possibilities for their futures.
About 100 freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors took time in classes to talk about their personal hopes and fears and how their aspirations fit into the broader future of the country.
Costs for college continue to rise which has led to an increase in the number of students borrowing money to pay for their education.
Young Missourians redefine the American Dream.
For all their hard work and planning, Sean and Darline Mabins don't see their good fortune solely as the result of their efforts. They also know that it's a blessing from God.
The close-knit town has drawn in two 20-something women who have opted for a quieter, and quainter, existence. Eschewing the bustle of the city, they're choosing the simple life in this tiny Missouri town as the spot to lead their lives.
Ezana Gebru, 25, has idled in college for seven years and remains a semester away from finishing his degrees. His parents are Ethiopian immigrants, who, through dogged determination, narrowly escaped poverty and persecution to chase the American Dream. Now Ezana is trying to find his footing in his parents' world as well as his own.
For this Springfield couple, the American Dream is about being comfortable. They'll explain what comfort is to them and how they achieved their personal American Dream.
Sarah Johnson, aka Jonesey, explains her life and what events led her to come up with her personalized version of the American Dream.
Ashley Glover dreams big, but she knows that dreams take time and hard work. Glover might have put her dreams on hold for her family, but she hasn't given up and hopes to someday make it as a singer.
Four friends try to make it through school with passing grades, search for decent jobs and hope for better lives than what they've seen in their hometowns. They are sweet and sassy, funny and frustrating, maddening and, at times, tragic.
Jody Paschal bought a shoe store somewhat on a whim. He says he'd never be an owner again — it hasn't worked out quite like he's hoped. Much of his life hasn't either. He wishes he were married with kids, and he says he always pictured he'd be further along in life, though he's not sure what that picture of life is.
Most of the young people I talked to in reporting for the American Next project said they believed in the American Dream theoretically but didn’t think they could live it themselves.
Small business has seen slow recovery in Fulton, Mo., as seen in many small towns across the country.
The American Next, the product of a collaborative effort by Missouri School of Journalism students, explores the attitudes, ideals and lives of a generation of Americans emerging into adulthood.
Jordan Maze, 22, works as a waitress at Main Squeeze and Uprise Bakery in Columbia. A college graduate who came back home for lack of a better plan, Jordan reflects on her work and her future.
Stacy Boling, 19, is a student at Moberly Area Community College through the Missouri A+ program, which pays her tuition at a two-year state college because of her high school GPA, attendance and mentoring hours. She takes elementary education classes online from her hometown of Lentner, Mo., and works part time at the Hannibal Clinic , roughly 45 minutes away. When she finishes her degree, she hopes to work in elementary education in the school district she grew up in. She describes her version of the American Dream.