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Dispatches: The Changing American Dream

New Patch initiative will chronicle both the negative effects of the economic crisis and the creative and innovative ways people all across the country are responding to the challenge.

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.

We don't think there's one American Dream, but a multitude of American Dreams which 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 in Naperville fit along these fault lines.

Nationally businesses across the country are challenged financially. Locally many small businesses continue to open, and some businesses like thrive, while others like are making the best of a difficult situation and praying things get better.

Nationally, unemployment is 9.2 percent and people are waiting in lines just to apply for jobs. Locally, many residents who once had a decent paying job and a roof over their heads now must seek shelter through or food from .

"Dispatches" will be built upon the compelling vignettes and snapshots we unearth across all of our Patch sites.

And, of course, we want your help: Tell us what issues and what stories in Naperville go to the heart of your American Dream.

This is a unique moment in the history of our country, and Patch is uniquely positioned to explore and amplify the stories that capture that moment.

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