Eight complete strangers tell their life stories. What happens next is magic.

America appears to be divided right now and we all feel it. The perceived division is so strong and so emotionally charged that we can’t seem to work together or make progress on some of our most pressing problems.

There have to be ways to find common ground and bridge these divides. We must build empathy for each other and focus on solutions.

Narrative 4, a growing network of educators, students, and artists, is one group working to find that common ground. Using the power of storytelling, their vision is not only to create empathy between strangers, but to also turn it into action.

In this video, we see Narrative 4’s story exchange methodology first-hand. Watch as 8 strangers sit down, face-to-face, and share deep emotional life stories. Participants then retell their partners’ stories in the first person, creating a deeper connection and sense of understanding. This method has proven to break down barriers related to faith, identity, immigration, violence and more.

Narrative 4 has become one of the world’s most impactful organizations in the fields of empathy and education. From Port Elizabeth, South Africa to the West Bank in the Middle East, the organization is opening minds and changing narratives across the globe. Thanks to early successes and a bold vision, the project has received funding from Stand Together Foundation, a philanthropic community that also provided Narrative 4 a slot in the Stand Together Catalyst Program, which seeks to unlock the potential of America’s most promising nonprofits.

What if those of us working hard to solve our country’s most pressing problems took this approach? What if the next generation of leaders got more exposed to this? Imagine the difference we could make at bridging divides and solving problems together.