The Hooray Cafe Story

Hooray Cafe EaselOne day a couple of years ago, I walked into our home where my nine-year old twin daughters and 12-year old son had created a diner. They invited me in to enjoy good eats and treats, plus some great company. It lifted my spirits. The sign on the easel for their establishment read, “Welcome to the Hooray Cafe!”

Flash forward to today. Could there be a better place than somewhere you can go to get, give, and feel good, like good news, good ideas, good stories, and a chance to hear about and do good deeds? We aren’t talking about pollyanna fluff that you can see right through, but actual stories of people like you and your friends–decent and compassionate members of communities around the world.

Much of what I hKen Mud Faceave learned about individual and the collective good comes from a blessed life as an international river guide and adventure travel company owner, author, and global social good entrepreneur. I have studied and engaged in cultures in dozens of countries, amid the deltas of Botswana, in small villages of Siberia, along the streets of China, on muddy Bolivian rivers, and through deep conversations with luminaries and everyday heroes. With these travels, I have seen both the most uplifted and the most demoralized communities on earth. The uplifted ones have trust and goodness in common and the haunting ones are filled with fear and despair.

In addition to this, as a partner in a commercial real estate firm working with wealthy investors and Wall Street corporations, I have seen how power and greed too often get in the way of doing right. I realized that heart-driven rather than head- or ego-driven cultures are infinitely better for anyone and any group, be it a town, company or organization.

The time I spend as a facilitator and board member for Opportunity Knocks further illustrates how organizations with a pure mission can change a community for the better. Opportunity Knocks–just such an organization–provides teams of supportive entrepreneurs with opportunities and direction to share their concerns and desires as it relates to their respective businesses. In coaching dozens of business and community leaders over the past twenty years, I recognized that programs that utilize collaboration, candor, accountability, and camaraderie empower communities to grow.

For a couple of years, ideas bounced around in my head (including some just too wacky to implement–for now) as I ruminated on ways to combine my experiences with my desire to help communities everywhere to help themselves. Within a couple of weeks of actually starting the project, Hollie Jenkins, Hooray Cafe Editor, and I serendipitously found each other. Hollie and I have divergent political beliefs, different spiritual practices, and opposite upbringings. I was born and raised in a crowded and smoggy Southern California city and she lived much of her young life on a windswept northern plains Native American reservation. She is hip and I am not. And, she talks fast and I talk slow. We realized how cool it was to live what we longed for: making our world more compassionate and connected because of our differences. Hollie and I and you and they are living proof that ultimately we are more alike than not and that we can do good together no matter how different we may be.

Urban Community GardenIn addition to being a source of good news, we decided to build a platform that inspires and helps communities to be and do more–to make their own good news. Our Goodness’ Sake Project provides resources to towns across the country to grow better, as each town defines this growth for themselves. From our “Do Good Now” program to the “Good Deeds Director” handbook, we offer tools to help your local world flourish.

With this philosophy and life experiences that uniquely qualify us to help make places better, we set off on a mission:

  • To reinvent media by revealing all that is good in the world. Our goal is to help you balance your life with stories of human kindness and news that represents the world as it is rather than worse than you could possibly imagine.
  • To facilitate beneficial community change as a purveyor of good deeds. We aspire to build better places by creating more generous and compassionate communities. Our Goodness Sake Project is doing this.
  • To provide opportunities here and now to sit back, relax, and marvel at goodness. We wish you time and space to just take a deep breath, feel lighter, experience awe, and say ahhhhh. We share moving music, funny moments, and serene natural scenes in effort to highlight all of the beauty that surrounds us.

We hope to quiet the consequential blather of the mass media peddling fear. We want you to find or rekindle the belief that we are good for and to each other by sharing tools to do just that. We long to expand your mind and nourish your soul with good news reads, good video feeds, and good community deeds. We give you occasion to just take a deep breath and relax. We encourage you to reflect on, support, celebrate and provide goodness.

So, come on in for a bit. Please meet our crew. Pull up a chair and take part in the conversation. Make yourself at home and find good company. Join us in feeling better and doing good. Enjoy Hooray Cafe, for goodness’ sake.

We are glad and grateful you are here.
Ken Sig Smaller
Ken Streater, Founder