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Dispatches: Patch's New Series on the Altered American Dream

Stories will focus on sluggish economy, who's beating it and who's not.

Patch is inaugurating a new series called "Dispatches: The Changing American Dream."

National media is full of stories of dreary unemployment statistics and sluggish economic recovery, or no recovery at all. And, there are stories about how American families, businesses and neighbors are adjusting to these trying times.

So many changes are happening so fast that it's dizzying. National debates about unemployment, foreclosures, debt, religion, government and private enterprise all are tethered to one common concept: the American Dream, and how it's been appropriated, adapted and transformed by economic turbulence.

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 around us.

We believe everyone is working toward their own version of the American Dream. Looking out across nearly 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 Elmhurst neighbors, fit along these fault lines.

Nationally, there's a debate about a sluggish economy. Locally, we see a going up at the corner of Route 83 and St. Charles Road. We see the "big guys," like Borders in Oak Brook, go out of business, but the family-run has endured—even thrived—for more than 40 years.

Nationally, there's a debate about the education system, which is at the center of our dreams of a better life for our children. Locally, we know District 205 has faced   and for families. We've also seen the community come together for families who can't afford those fees . The idea is that every York High School student should have the same opportunity for growth.

Nationally, we hear the debate about the country's infrastructure. Locally,  has occupied much of the City Council discussion over the past year. 

And, through all the discourse, local volunteers have soldiered on, both and in to make a better life for those less fortunate.

"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 Elmhurst go to the heart of your American Dream.

Renee Gough August 15, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Karen, it's like you read the minds of all we have been discussing around the kitchen table these days. If I had to say one thing that has dominated our conversations within our extended family it's that now, more than ever, less is more. We have spent so many years consuming, buying bigger, assuming it was all better. Even if we haven't over spent ourselves, we are all paying for time spent with hungry eyes too big for our credited stomachs. As we begin to reevaluate things we used to think we wanted we now realize something that is more important. We are actually spending less and having more valuable time coming together as a family to reach for a common goal; to ensure our financial ship doesn't sink. There is something liberating in that. Who needs a holiday home? A McMansion? Designer luggage? It's like that old saying: You can't have everything. Where would you put it?

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