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What's Your American Dream? (With Videos)

Introducing a new series for our Patch Readers: "Dispatches: The Changing American Dream."

We're excited to inaugurate a new series for our Patch Readers: "Dispatches: The Changing American Dream."

Every day, the national media is full of stories about how American families, businesses, and neighbors are adjusting to these trying times. There are so many changes happening so fast that it's dizzying: national debates about unemployment, foreclosures, debt, religion, government and private enterprise all touch on fundamental ways in which we see ourselves and our communities.

At Patch, we want to explore that conversation on a daily basis so we can better understand how our neighbors are adjusting to the challenges and opportunities that surround us.

A multitude of American Dreams

We don't think there's one American Dream, but a multitude of American Dreams that a multitude of people are working toward.

Looking out across nearly almost 900 Patch sites, we see businesses holding their breath deciding whether to expand; college graduates returning home because they can't find jobs; and senior citizens bringing boarders into their homes to help pay their bills. We also see bold new volunteer efforts, inspiring stories of local businesses that succeed because they innovated, and locals who've taken these trying times as a signal to engage more, not less, in their government.

At the purely local level, we want to know where we, as neighbors, fit when it comest to pursuing the American Dream.

We want to tell these stories

Patch is already doing these stories simply as part of the way we cover life in Madison. Today, we have a story today about Mern Palmer-Smith who is on her second career, this one as a business owner who recycles clothes. She just opened a shop in downtown Madison. It's her third, but she's not only an entrepreneur, she is a dedicated volunteer who supports a multitude of good causes in her hometown.

Earlier this year, we wrote about who opened their resale/retail boutique in Madion after being laid off from their high-paying corporate jobs. It was scary, they said, but they decided to take the opportunity to start a business that not only helps them provide for their families, but helps other entrepreneurial mothers do the same through a clever strategy of cross-promotion and cooperation.

And, we also have written about serial entrepeneur Ryan Duques who is in many ways the master of the American Dream. He has started more businesses than most people you will ever meet. And he's so passionate about it, he recently wrote a book that helps others do the same.

Helping others realize their dreams

When he's not starting business, helping others do so, or spending time with his family, Duques volunteers his time on a number of Madison boards and commissions, making sure, to the extent that he can, that our town remains a place where people can realize their dreams.

We also provide you with overviews that help you make sense of the patterns, such as the recent story we did on the possibility of a double-dip recession. The bottom line, we're not there yet. And maybe with the help of resourceful entrepreneurs, outstanding citizens, and dedicated volunteers like Palmer-Smith, Moore, Sordo, and Duques we'll continue to have good news to report in Madison.

Sometimes living the American Dream means deciding it's time to move on to something new, as business owners Lee Jamison and Joe Giantonio and his wife, Kim Butun did. When they figure out what their next dream is, and how they plan to pursue it, we hope to tell those stories here.

And we do want your help when it comes to telling these stories: Tell us what issues and what stories in Madison go to the heart of your American Dream.

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