About Us

What Is The Journey Institute?

Continuing The Work of The 50 in 52 Journey

In 2009, then Dafna Michaelson, embarked on a year long Journey to visit all 50 of the United States plus Washington D.C. to find community problem solvers and people moving America forward. As she finished her epic travels she had met over 500 amazing people from every walk of life who were simply ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The question quickly became not "Wow, look what we've done?" but "What's next?"

The Journey Institute was born in part out of that question.

Having found a wealth of amazing people all accross America, from 14 to 94, from every socio-economic, religious, environmental, racial, and any other type of background you could think of we became convinced that it is people, as individuals and part of 'communitites' (however you may define that term) who truly make things happen. This may seem like a simple statement, yet so often we look to others to do the work. We look to our neighbors, our bosses, our corporations, our governments, or even other countries when the real treasure trove is right there in front of and beside us.

It is our passion for building community, through individuals and across organizations which drives the work that we do. This is more than simply a new type of change management system or some other hot button business term that people throw about. We are talking about systemic, fundamental, and sustainable change. Change at the core level of who we are as a society. We believe that true change, lasting change, must come from the ground up and unlike most organizations that talk about effecting change, we at The Journey Institute do not believe that we have the answers to the change you need. Instead, we have the questions.

We are not arrogant enough to believe that we somehow know more about what you do, where you live, what your challenges are etc... than you do. You are the only one who knows the answers to these questions. You, and those with you who make up your community are the experts in what you do, the subject matter experts of where you live and what challenges are most needed to overcome. Where we come in is in our ability to help you define your community (believe it of not, most people have no idea what communities they belong to), put specific detail to the challenges you are facing, and help you determine the best course of action necessary to overcome those challenges.
Most important of all, however, is that we will work with you and your community to make sure any solutions are sustainable, globally collaborative, and where appropriate environmentally consious.

Cheer-vs-Leader
One critical lesson from the 50 In 52 Journey that we learned is that it is not always the person who identifies the challenge who finds or implements the solution. Additionally, we learned that every ordinary person who was doing extraordinary things was not doing it alone. Somewhere along the line, sometimes early on, other times later in the process, but at some point someone came along for support. That support was not always monitarily, or labor, or even any type of help except that they became the biggest cheerleader. They believed in the person, the challenge, and the tasks for solutions and they helped spur the problem solver on.

Simply because you have identified a problem or a challenge that you are willing to work towards to overcome doesn't mean you are the one who has to figure everything out. You may, in fact, not be the one to solve it at all, but rather the one to champion those who are solving it. Perhaps they are others in your community, perahps the solution lies with those in another community altogether. You might simply be the link. You might be the person or community which knows the challenge better than anyone else and together, in collaboration with those who are working to solve this hurdle, you become the cheerleading champion to help make the solution possible.
Then again, perhaps you and/or your community might be the leader after all.

Our hope is that by empowering individuals/communitites and elevating them to the role of community problem solvers we can begin to change the mirror we use to reflect who we are as a society. That we can, as Ghandi purported, perhaps change the world by first changing ourselves.

We hope to provide resources on this site to help anyone who is striving to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We certainly welcome the opportunity to discuss with you any challenges you may be facing and to help you overcome those challenges. In the meantime, feel free to look around, drop us a note, or leave a comment.

We are committed to making lasting change in all areas of life, across all georgraphies of the global planet we all call home.

We look forward to seeing along the Journey.

The Journey Institute Team