This project, One Small Step - North Idaho, is based on a program launched by StoryCorps in 2018. "In response to growing division in the country, One Small Step is a nationwide initiative that provides two strangers who hold different views with the opportunity to take part in facilitated and recorded conversations--specifically to counteract intensifying political divides and to enable those who disagree to listen to each other with respect", said Luke Russell project co-chair and member of the Coeur d'Alene Rotary.
Project co-chair Barbara Mueller added; "Our cultural conversation climate today is defensive and divisive. We tend to judge first and listen second, if we listen at all. One Small Step is a format to listen, understand and build trust between participants who may hold very different points of view on a particular subject.
The Coeur d'Alene Rotary Club, along with a diverse mix of community organizations serving on an advisory board, recently earned a Project Neighborly grant from the Idaho Community Foundation to fund the initial One Small Step launch in North Idaho.
One Small Step Nationally
Piloted in 2018 and launched in 2021 by NPR's StoryCorps, One Small Step brings strangers together for a conversation about their lives–not about politics. Each conversation is archived at the Library of Congress and a small number of interviews are edited into short audio and animated stories that showcase the impact of One Small Step.
One Small Step is based on contact theory, which states that a meaningful interaction between people with opposing views can help turn “thems” into “us-es.” One Small Step’s scientific and systematic approach is supported by a group of advisors that includes social scientists, researchers, and psychologists.
Since 2003, the non-profit public service organization StoryCorps has perfected a method for helping people feel more connected and less alone, for increasing hope and reminding us of the inherent worth of every life and every story.
To date, 600,000 Americans have participated in StoryCorps interviews, making it the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered.
Interview recordings are preserved for history at the American Folklife Center at the U.S. Library of Congress.