People's Liberty project grantee, 1Degree of Separation


Kailah Ware was attending a free concert at Washington Park, where she saw a man experiencing homelessness and a man in a suit sitting together on a bench. Although they were in close proximity, they couldn’t have been further apart.
 
That observation got her thinking. She began to brainstorm how to break down those barriers and get people talking to each other.
 
“Everyone has a story or something interesting about them,” Ware said. “Everyone has something to share and something to say.”
 
Ware’s project, 1Degree of Separation, uses community-sourced stories to answer the question: “What do you love about Cincinnati?”
 
When Ware moved back home from college, she knew she wanted to start her own business. She met with 3CDC to pitch her idea for a photography studio and learned about local business accelerators: OCEAN, MORTAR and People’s Liberty. She opted for MORTAR to develop her idea for 1Degree and applied for a People’s Liberty grant, which she received.
 
“I liked the idea of People’s Liberty because so many places only fund nonprofit organizations,” she said.
 
Her interactive project features a touchscreen tablet which plays a story of the viewer's choice. Originally, Ware sought out different types of stories: the overcomer, the success story, the historian, the athlete, the artist, the community leader. She researched organizations comprised of people with similar stories who, in turn, each connected her with another source.
 
1Degree launched at Rhinegeist, and now Ware is in negotiations to display her project at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
 
“Nothing is official yet, but I think it would be cool for people who are maybe moving back to Cincinnati or visiting the city to see why people love it here,” Ware said.
 
1Degree is evolving into something more organic. Ware is still collecting stories, but now there’s a video booth component where people can come and tell their stories. If you want to tell your story, you can email Ware at 1DegreeSep@gmail.com or call her at 513-748-0966.
 
Follow 1Degree on Facebook and on Instagram @1Degree__.

Twice per year, eight grantees are chosen per grant cycle to prototype solutions to civic challenges. Project grantees are supported with $10,000, a launch event and access to People’s Liberty’s workplace and mentorship. Stay tuned to Soapbox for profiles of this year's 15 other grantees.
 

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.  
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