Voices of the American Next
Access to digital technology and wireless internet is stratified along economic lines.
Tough economic times are changing the face of the traditional American household, and a recent Pew Research Center study found that the number of Americans living in multi-generational households jumped 10.5 percent from 2007 to 2009.
Many teachers said they had at least one student in their classes who is homeless. They also said many of their students would rather go hungry than let their classmates know that they receive free or reduced-price lunches.
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.
Reporter Roxanne Foster reflects on her conversations with young adults and the emphasis they place on avoiding debt and earning the things they want, despite what many older adults think.
Ashley and Stetson Allen's lives center around their 14-month-old son, Jackson. Careful decisions and the willingness to compromise have put them on a track to career advancement and financial security. But it hasn't been a straight or smooth path.
Kristin Ayer, 18, will be “almost the first” in her family to get a college degree. She wants to become a wedding planner because weddings are supposedly the happiest days in people's lives, and she wants to be a part of that.
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.
Jon Parkhurst, 33, is a web developer and owner of CDC Digital in Sedalia. He started working at his family’s steel business when he was a teenager. Although he’s attended college on and off over the years, he doesn’t have a degree. Parkhurst, a single father of three, emphasizes experience rather than formal education and passes these values to his children. This is the story he tells.
Chance Foster, 30, is a husband, father and co-founder of Truescape LLC, a landscaping company based in Fulton. Foster thought he’d stay in Columbia after college, but the opportunity arose to start his own business with longtime friend and fellow landscaper Nathan Real. Both of them received their degrees from the University of Missouri in plant science, landscape design and turf management. After having a daughter, Foster’s lifestyle has changed, and he’s well on target to reach the career, family and lifestyle goals he set out to reach by the age of 35. He tells his story.
Insights into the unforeseen and unpredictable impact of technology on younger generations.
Ryan Stahlschmidt's aspirations don't easily mesh with the concept of the American Dream he grew up with in St. Charles.
Ahmed Abdalla was 14 the first time he slept with a pillow under his head. Born in Somalia and raised in a refugee camp in Kenya, Abdalla, 20, now lives with his family in St. Louis.
Madeline Cummings is 19 and a freshman at Truman State University studying health science pre-med. On sunny days, she can be found walking barefoot on a slackline that's set up between two trees on the Truman campus. But that's for now.
The American Next project is prompting me to get beyond Columbia and meet people who live different lives and have different attitudes and expectations. Here are some of the things I heard during an early trip to Sedalia, where I met three young professionals and asked them to define their American Dream.
Chance Foster, 30, started a landscaping business because he loved the satisfaction of working in the field — loved it ever since he was a kid, even studied landscape design at MU.
Tim Garrett, 18, loves machines, dirt and the outdoors. His hands are scarred from working on heavy machinery at his family's farm just outside of Kirksville, where he's lived for the past eight years with his mother, stepfather and two younger brothers.
Job growth in Missouri, as in much of the nation post-recession, has been slow and painful — and the numbers cited by politicians and the media don't always tell the real story.
Alaina Harrison, 19, of Hannibal, is studying nursing at Moberly Area Community College. She's wanted to be a nurse since third grade, when she saw the difference between nurses who care and ones who don't after her great-grandmother entered a nursing home.
Ashley Hicklin, 27, defines success in two parts: financial security and personal happiness.