Chase Hansen is creating Kid Labs
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It's not every day a third-grader reaches out to a newspaper through a LinkedIn message, but that is just how Chase Hansen, 8-year-old Kid Labs founder, rolls.

From his first, “Hi there. Nice to meet you, I’m Chase,” LinkedIn message, it’s easy to see Chase is the impetus behind the vision of Kid Labs — to empower kids to reach out to their community. Chase, a third-grader at Draper Elementary, partners with his father, John Hansen.

“I’m the talker, he’s the ‘I do stuff,’” Chase said, joking about his dad.

John readily agrees.

“Chase would come up with the ideas, and my job is to make it happen. I put the pieces together to make it work,” John said.

They both are speaking of a project that started years ago during Chase’s toddler years. When Chase was 4, John thought it would be great to make a superhero lab. They started out in a garage, but their idea bloomed, so they renovated an industrial warehouse in Salt Lake City, and christened it Kid Labs in 2013.

In that location, kids and families came together to create, connect and contribute to their community. The space focused on science, technology, engineering and arts exploration. The walls were not one color, but many — a fantastic splash of color and movement created by area graffiti artists.





 

John calls that location a “living social experiment,” all with the focus on fulfilling kids’ dreams of being true superheroes inspired by, but not necessarily exactly like the ones they see in the movies — more geared towards empowering them to be effective heroes in society. The lab offered yoga, robotics, art and GoPro classes, in addition to holding family dance parties and kid-and-dad sleepovers.

Unfortunately, Kid Labs had to close less than a year after it opened. John Hansen said a volunteer ran off with the organization’s money, resulting in the loss of Kid Labs’ location. This broke Chase’s heart.

Since then, John and Chase have been working in “stealth mode” to resurrect the vision behind Kid Labs. A physical location will be part of that vision, but John Hansen also has more in the works, as well.

Through some of his own struggles in recent years, John Hansen wants to bring empathetic and empowering programs to homeless and at-risk youth. Chase shares that same hope. Honestly, he has probably seen and interacted with more at-risk and homeless children than most 8-year-olds.

“It’s just sitting down and hearing someone’s story, if you’re not homeless. But hearing their story as homeless,” Chase said.

Chase and his father are working on securing a Kid Labs location in Midvale and targeting these communities there. To do this, John Hansen has been partnering with local nonprofit organizations, and gaining mentorship from their leaders.

Janae Moss is the chair-elect for the United Way of Utah County Board of Directors and founder of the Parent Advocacy Council. She saw the original Kid Labs and its benefit to the community, how it brought together different people through play. Because of the powerful “dad voice” Hansen was for the area, he has been a part of her council for a few years. Moss hopes Hansen’s vision of child-focused innovation education will succeed.

The Hansens are still looking for more partnerships, especially with local technology businesses to “fund unique social experiments and Kid Lab projects,” Hansen said.

By reaching the kids where they are, Hansen hopes to help businesses tap into a future workforce, while raising these children from the poverty levels they were born into. He sees Kid Labs as a unique co-working space that allows local companies hands-on opportunities for philanthropy while teaching children how to be entrepreneurs, to code, and the importance of health and well-being.

It’s a big vision, and one he can’t accomplish without business partnerships.

Of course, Chase, keeps things rooted in reality.

“We’ll need a room for robotics and games, and a hero room. And a big room with room for an epic Nerf battle. I love Nerf wars,” he said.

THIRD GRADER HOPES TO HELP THE HOMELESS THROUGH KID LABS
DAILY HERALD by Karissa Neely | DECEMBER 24, 2017
  

Link






EMPATHY IS THE KEY TO SOLVING HOMELESSNESS FOR KID LABS DUO

DRAPER JOURNAL by Katherine Weinstein | AUGUST 1st, 201



In the movie “Justice League” the Flash hesitates before setting out to rescue some hostages. “I don’t know what to do,” he confesses to Batman. Batman replies, “Go save one and then you’ll know what to do.”

This is a favorite quote for John Hansen and his 9-year-old son Chase as it captures the spirit of their “empathy project,” a “social experiment” devised to actively help homeless and at-risk individuals. Over the past two years, father and son have sat down with over 120 homeless individuals, often over a meal, to learn about the problems and issues they struggle with.

Sometimes these conversations have resulted in John and Chase helping individuals move out of shelters and into housing or stepping in when someone faces difficulty in maintaining family relationships. “They (John and Chase) helped me out for six months picking up my boys for me,” said Mike Campbell, a recipient of their aid. “John also gave me a very nice bike that helps me be more mobile and active.”

In other instances, Chase and John have simply listened and gathered information. “Empathy is the practice of feeling with someone,” said John. The goal is to offer validation and ultimately give people a voice.

In aiming to find out what the homeless really need, they have worked with the Department of Workforce Services to devise questions and will share the data they collect with them. “When you talk to the homeless, you can see patterns in their experiences,” said Chase. John added, “We think that the needs and ideas of the homeless population deserve to be part of the discussion from the beginning and that the data gathered will be of interest to the citizens of Utah.”

Homelessness is a hot-button issue in Utah, and Chase and his dad have met with Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox and other officials to discuss strategies to address it. They believe that a key to changing public perception about the homeless is to involve a lot of people in conversations and build a sense of belonging. To that end, they have been experimenting with ways to build community that transcends social barriers.



Chase and John have been working on fostering community in various ways since founding their social impact company, Kid Labs, in 2013. “Kid Labs is all the good things we’re doing,” said Chase. Kid Labs’ overarching mission is to be a force for good in the world and to empower kids to reach out to others.

By actively assisting those in the community who need help, Chase and John are living Chase’s dream of being real superheroes. When Chase was 4, John Decided to create a “superhero lab” where kids could be empowered to be effective heroes in society. The project started in a garage and later expanded into a renovated industrial warehouse in Salt Lake County.

John has referred to that location as a “living social experiment” in which at-risk kids and families came together to create, connect and contribute to the community.

Classes in yoga, robotics and art were offered. Through community partnerships, Kid Labs was able to offer special events such as make-overs for single moms with stylists with Paul Mitchell Academy.

Sadly, the Kid Labs space closed less than a year after it opened. While John and Chase would like to find another physical base for Kid Labs, they are continuing their mission to make the world a better place through bringing people together. John spoke of a “giant disconnect between what needs to happen and the will to accomplish it” when it comes to solving homelessness. He envisions a grassroots effort to build advocacy groups.

Most recently, Chase and John have been working with the family shelter in Midvale in their community-building experiements. One recent experiment, “Pizza with Purpose,” involved connecting shelter families with community members who are interested in reaching out to the disadvantaged over pizza. Kid Labs found sponsors to help cover the costs and 30 to 40 people attended.

Two months ago, Kid Labs organized a hike and picnic in the mountains for three families from the shelter and two families from Cottonwood Heights. One experiment at a time, Chase and John continue to bridge social divides between individuals. When people ask Chase about how to interact with the homeless he simply says, “Be their friends.”

Chase will start fourth grade at Draper Elementary next month and both he and his father would like Draper residents to step up and get involved in addressing the problem of homelessness. “We need resources and funding for staff. Even more than the money, we need people who want to get involved, said John.






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 10, 2018
WORLD HOMELESS DAY

On October 10th, World Homeless Day, LEESA Sleep is seizing the opportunity to raise awareness for bedlessness in America. Bedlessness affects more than 500,000 Americans who are seeking refuge from homelessness, domestic risk, human trafficking and more. Since LEESA was founded in 2015, the company has donated more than 30,000 mattresses to more than 1,000 charities who support those afflicted. These donations have resulted in more than 3,000,000 nights of better rest.

This World Homeless Day, LEESA is amplifying their commitment to help solve this problem, increasing their giving model from “One-Ten” to “Ten-for-Ten” on October 10. For every mattress LEESA sells on World Homeless Day, they’ll commit a matching mattress donation to a charitable partner.

LEESA has also taken notice of young people all across the country who are doing remarkable things in their communities and we are partnering with youth to enhance the good they’re doing. LEESA will be hosting a series of mattress donations in their homebase of Virginia Beach as well as tapping these young social changemakers at events in New York City, Baltimore, Boston, Salt Lake City and Chicago by giving them mattresses and funds to further their work and officiate them as LEESA Sleep Ambassadors.

Each Social Changemaker will partner with LEESA Sleep at a giving event in their hometown, with more than 500 mattresses being donated on this day through their efforts. We have partnered with Chase to help give Salt Lake City Rescue Mission mattresses on the morning of 10/10. The Utah Transit Authority police department will be joined by a team of community members to support this Sleep Mission and project Empathy.

###



SALT LAKE CITY
I would like to introduce you all to someone very special — Chase Hansen. Chase is the founder of Project Empathy which is a social impact experiment based off the simple truth that sometimes all you need is a friend who will listen. Inspired by the superheroes of his favorite movies, Chase and his father John have become real life superheroes working to spread empathy and make a difference in the homeless community right here in Salt Lake City,

To date Chase has sat down for a meal with 130 homeless friends and has been the listening ear and source of support needed to reignite their feeling of self worth and move forward in their life by gaining employment and finding a home. Chase gives promise to a new generation of passionate and driven change-makers, and on behalf of Leesa I am excited to announce him as one of our 2018 Leesa Social Changemakers. Chase thank you for everything you do and for inspiring us. We cannot wait to follow your journey —  Leesa




OCTOBER 10, 2018 | DESERET NEWS

THE GIFT OF SLEEP: SALT LAKE EMERGENCY SHELTER RECEIVES NEW MATTRESSES









AUGUST 15, 2018 | DESERET NEWS | MORMON TIMES / LDS LIVING

THE 9-YEAR-OLD CEO AND LATTER-DAY SAINT WHO DEDICATED HIS TIME TO SERVING OTHERS






AUGUST 6, 2018 | KSTU — FOX 13

PROJECT EMPATHY’ WORKS TO COMBAT HOMELESSNESS WITH HUMANITY, PERSONAL TOUCH






JULY 28, 2018 | KTVX — ABC 4

MEET 9 YEAR OLD CHASE: A HERO AND HUMANITARIAN








JULY 26, 2018 | KUTV — CBS 2 

9 YEAR OLD UTAH BOY AWARDED FOR SERVING HOMELESS COMMUNITY







OUTDOOR RETAILERS MAGAZINE — THE FUTURE


































"You are an inspiration to us all Chase, keep up the good work.” Lieutenant Governor Spencer J. Cox | Utah

“Chase is my hero!” Dan Far | FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention | CEO

“When I think of John Hansen, I think of HEART. His heart is big, so big in fact — he had to renovate a whole warehouse to fit it in. He is first, a dad. He loves his son Chase, more than anything. He wants Chase to grow up in a world of love.” Janae Moss | United Way | Utah County Board Chair

“Chase is an inspiration to humankind.” Chelvy Kay | Kent, United Kingdom

“Can we lower the age for president to 9? What a great kid!” Samantha Washington | Sacramento, CA

“Remember the name Chase Hansen. He will change the world.” Kristen Ballard | Leavenworth, WA








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linkedIN @ ChaseHansen

facebook @ ChaseingSuperhero










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At Kid Labs we are interested in just about anything that drives positive social change, the same way a hero might think about the world. As we began to build the idea, we gathered important proofs of concepts and borrowed ideas from successful organizations like Wayne Enterprises, Stark Industries, and Xavier’s School for the Gifted.

We were deeply inspired by the lairs and collaborative community centers which we had seen while researching. Creative workspaces and co-working environments like the Bat Cave, the Avengers Tower, Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, the Watchtower, and Arrow’s Bunker all seemed to produce impressive results. These were all places where Heroes worked, sometimes alone, other times with their friends or teams — gathering to learn, train and strategize on their various missions or just to tinker with their tools and gadgets.







We studied out different team building methods and how they might effectively collaborate across diverse groups of individuals, often with strong personalities. We were curious as to what created an effective co-working environment and fostered a team culture that leveraged individual strengths and creative problem solving skills to meet mission objectives and foster unity, even through adversarial and stressful situations.







Looking across the globe, we were inspired by social disruptors we discovered through TED talks and their ideas and social impact methods used in their hero work.



We explored innovative mechanisms like Maker-spaces, Business Incubators, Think Tanks, Social Impact Hubs, Education Accelerators, Immersive Experience Centers, Transformational Leadership Programs.



We loved all these ideas and wanted to apply them to the future leaders and change makers of the world…to empower kids through collective impact methodologies, design thinking, and social entrepreneurship through a heroic organization that would engineer change and solve some of humanities complex challenges through innovation and imagination.




HUMAN CENTERED DESIGN THEORY

Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs. Human-centered design is all about building a deep empathy with the people you’re designing for; generating tons of ideas; building a bunch of prototypes; sharing what you’ve made with the people you’re designing for; and eventually putting your innovative new solution out in the world.

Human Centered Design sits at the intersection of empathy and creativity: IDEO


DESIGN THINKING

Design thinking is a powerful process for problem-solving that begins with understanding unmet customer needs. From that insight emerges a process for innovation that encompasses concept development, applied creativity, prototyping, and experimentation. When design thinking approaches are applied to business, the success rate for innovation improves substantially.

Design Thinking for Social Innovation: Stanford Social Innovation Review




COLLECTIVE IMPACT THEORY

Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations.

Collective Impact: Stanford Social Innovation Review

UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL GLOALS

On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

U.N. Sustainable Global Goals








CHASEING SUPERHERO

THE ORIGIN STORY by John Hansen | DECEMBER 24, 2017

In Sept 2013, my little boy Chase and I attended one of the greatest gatherings of heroes in the world, the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, the very first one. It was epic.

Chase was four at the time and like little boys often do, he super hero-ed everything, tapping into his inner warrior with his fierce imagination wherever we went. He was always in Hero Mode” fighting imaginary bad guys, armed with imaginary gadgets and imaginary weapons being a Force For Good in his world of superhero.



We had spent nearly two years straight together after the sale of a company that I owned. Let’s just say 2009 was a rough time on many small business and real-estate owners. When the global economy fell apart, so did I. Broken and battered from my unraveling and the implosion of my marriage, I decided to take a much needed break from the world, to stay at home and be with my son.

Those two years as a stay-at-home dad were the most magical and transformative years of my life, just the medicine that I needed. Chase and I would adventure everywhere together, exploring and playing. He was the sweetest boy, a constant source of unconditional love and affection, lifting me up from the dark place where I had fallen, anchoring me back into a purpose. He helped me see the world through his eyes, and I began seeing things differently, discovering things alongside him as we would wander. I loved the expressions on his tiny face when he would see new things for the first time.

Every night we spent together we would cuddle up on the couch or build a fort and watch something that he had curated, almost as if he was trying to mentor me with positive lessons through Pixar and Disney, reminding me who I was through heroic stories. I started to feel again.

We soon worked our way up from animation to Power Rangers and then quickly graduated to the “big boy” hero stuff — his favorite movie being Real Steel. We must have watched it a hundred times.

Jayden the Red Power Ranger, Atom the boxing robot, Luke Skywalker, Iron Man, Optimus Prime, Spiderman, Batman, and Captain America soon becoming regulars on his rotation of alter egos to try on.





As a little Jedi Master, he would wield his lightsaber with expertise, using the front room to enact what he saw on our tv, drawing me into fierce battles where we would fight together against foes that were invisible to me. He was the type of little kid who would explore the world in a Spiderman outfit or put it on just to fall asleep, ready to spring into action if needed. “Hero Mode” became the most entertaining way to adventure, so I encouraged it.








Fan-x fueled by the 40,000 diehard fans served as a catalyst for an idea. We needed our own superhero lair. We both wanted to continue our training together and reasoned if we had a base we could recruit a League of extraordinary people and develop a heroic culture like Avengers or X-Men. We wanted to put our creative ideas into play to serve others and elevate humanity.



After months of searching, we found an abandoned industrial pipe welding shop that had been decimated by a previous tenant. It was in bad shape, but I saw what it could become. I struck a deal with the owners on a handshake and mobilized the Boy Scouts and a few hired guns to start cleaning up the place. Progress was slow, but in time we recruited some amazing volunteers and a few open-minded “hero companies” that rallied behind our vision.







After three months of hard work, just like Arrow and Batman, we had a lair — our dream office. A maker space where my little boy and I could be together to play, create, and imagine.

We called it Kid Labs.

Since Chase was two, I have been following his lead as he drives ideas and experiences which I make happen, something that I love doing. Following the leader has changed my life, teaching me more than I’d ever imagined. With a lair, we began to think in superhero, taking our game to a whole other level.



Most of our heroic adventures, experiments and experiences were kept top secret. I like to tell Chase that Batman doesn’t have a PR team, he operates covertly, in Hero Mode and doesn’t seek out recognition.

In total, we ran 90+ social experiments from our beta lab. We met so many amazing people from all walks of life, even collaborating on a few special projects with champions from the non-profit and business sectors.



I often get asked, “What happened to Kid Labs?”

Most of the time I make up an answer that sounds good, but keep the real answer to myself. In short a volunteer took off with the last of our funds and our working capital went to zero. Short on rent we scrambled to rally help, but without an nonprofit tax ID number, the amazing organizations and foundations we approached about our work, turned us down. Without a “License to Hero,” we were on our own.

Surrendering to the inevitable, I sat Chase down to give him the bad news: we were shutting down his hero facility that we had built together. To help my little son process the flood of emotions, I asked him to do an interview.


We had spent months rebuilding something completely destroyed in a labor of love, turning a dirty and broken building into an amazing laboratory for our hero work. We had accomplished so much and left the neighborhood improved, with the proof of concept and the experience we needed to build a “bigger and better Kid Labs.”

Since Kid Labs, we having been figuring out the next phase through intensive research and personal development (r&pd), creating the relationships and strategic partnerships and the infrastructure we will need to create our dream…we dream big.






CHASEING SUPERHERO is the story about a mission driven little boy from Utah, who seeks to create meaningful change in the world through his social impact work, not unlike any of the heroic characters we celebrate in our greatest stories.
Chase is a leader that has heart.

Help me to help him reboot Kid Labs and to tell his story.

From what I see on the news, the world could use a hero… besides, the greatest stories are the ones that you can be a part of.

John Hansen

Chief Dad Officer — Kid Labs








APRIL 2, 2014

[CLOSURE OF KID LABS IMMINENT. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TELL CHASE THE BAD NEWS. HE WILL BE DISAPPOINTED.]

Dear Chase,

Happy Birthday. You are now 5.

You are my hero. You have been my greatest teacher and mentor. I love being your sidekick. You awoke something deep inside me the day we first met. Because of you now I see the world so much differently.

The direction of my life has changed in a way I could have never imagined. You rescued me from a dark place from which I had fallen, a place where I felt helpless and lonely.

How could I have resisted the unending love you so willingly gave me through those soft hugs and kisses during all the blissful moments that we shared together.

The “I love you Dad”s and every superhero moment anchored me. The medicine for my soul that I needed to reboot and find a purpose. You believed in me, until I could believe in myself….thank you for that!

Son, I want you to dream big and to know that you can do anything that you set your mind to. There is lots of work yet to be done to improve our world and I worry every day for the future, about the many things that you don’t yet understand. But I have discovered hope in you and in others that are like you, the future leaders and champions that our world needs.

Though you may be young and small, there are many things that you can do to be the change that is needed. In this you are powerful beyond measure. You and those like you, will serve as a catalyst to soften our hearts and help us to remember who we are.

Remember to serve others. Be kind. Be Brave. Think outside the box and be creative. Act with integrity and honor and be the hero that I know you to be… from your lair [Kid Labs] or any other place from which you choose to spread your brilliance and light.

I am so proud of you. I think your story is amazing…someday soon we will have to share it. Never stop CHASING your SUPERHERO.

I Love You…this much! (Arms stretched out wider than you can ever imagine)

Let’s change the world together.

Dad



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It's not every day a third-grader reaches out to a newspaper through a LinkedIn message, but that is just how Chase Hansen, 8-year-old Kid Labs founder, rolls.

From his first, “Hi there. Nice to meet you, I’m Chase,” LinkedIn message, it’s easy to see Chase is the impetus behind the vision of Kid Labs — to empower kids to reach out to their community. Chase, a third-grader at Draper Elementary, partners with his father, John Hansen.

“I’m the talker, he’s the ‘I do stuff,’” Chase said, joking about his dad.

John readily agrees.

“Chase would come up with the ideas, and my job is to make it happen. I put the pieces together to make it work,” John said.

They both are speaking of a project that started years ago during Chase’s toddler years. When Chase was 4, John thought it would be great to make a superhero lab. They started out in a garage, but their idea bloomed, so they renovated an industrial warehouse in Salt Lake City, and christened it Kid Labs in 2013.

In that location, kids and families came together to create, connect and contribute to their community. The space focused on science, technology, engineering and arts exploration. The walls were not one color, but many — a fantastic splash of color and movement created by area graffiti artists.





 

John calls that location a “living social experiment,” all with the focus on fulfilling kids’ dreams of being true superheroes inspired by, but not necessarily exactly like the ones they see in the movies — more geared towards empowering them to be effective heroes in society. The lab offered yoga, robotics, art and GoPro classes, in addition to holding family dance parties and kid-and-dad sleepovers.

Unfortunately, Kid Labs had to close less than a year after it opened. John Hansen said a volunteer ran off with the organization’s money, resulting in the loss of Kid Labs’ location. This broke Chase’s heart.

Since then, John and Chase have been working in “stealth mode” to resurrect the vision behind Kid Labs. A physical location will be part of that vision, but John Hansen also has more in the works, as well.

Through some of his own struggles in recent years, John Hansen wants to bring empathetic and empowering programs to homeless and at-risk youth. Chase shares that same hope. Honestly, he has probably seen and interacted with more at-risk and homeless children than most 8-year-olds.

“It’s just sitting down and hearing someone’s story, if you’re not homeless. But hearing their story as homeless,” Chase said.

Chase and his father are working on securing a Kid Labs location in Midvale and targeting these communities there. To do this, John Hansen has been partnering with local nonprofit organizations, and gaining mentorship from their leaders.

Janae Moss is the chair-elect for the United Way of Utah County Board of Directors and founder of the Parent Advocacy Council. She saw the original Kid Labs and its benefit to the community, how it brought together different people through play. Because of the powerful “dad voice” Hansen was for the area, he has been a part of her council for a few years. Moss hopes Hansen’s vision of child-focused innovation education will succeed.

The Hansens are still looking for more partnerships, especially with local technology businesses to “fund unique social experiments and Kid Lab projects,” Hansen said.

By reaching the kids where they are, Hansen hopes to help businesses tap into a future workforce, while raising these children from the poverty levels they were born into. He sees Kid Labs as a unique co-working space that allows local companies hands-on opportunities for philanthropy while teaching children how to be entrepreneurs, to code, and the importance of health and well-being.

It’s a big vision, and one he can’t accomplish without business partnerships.

Of course, Chase, keeps things rooted in reality.

“We’ll need a room for robotics and games, and a hero room. And a big room with room for an epic Nerf battle. I love Nerf wars,” he said.

THIRD GRADER HOPES TO HELP THE HOMELESS THROUGH KID LABS
DAILY HERALD by Karissa Neely | DECEMBER 24, 2017
  

Link






EMPATHY IS THE KEY TO SOLVING HOMELESSNESS FOR KID LABS DUO

DRAPER JOURNAL by Katherine Weinstein | AUGUST 1st, 201



In the movie “Justice League” the Flash hesitates before setting out to rescue some hostages. “I don’t know what to do,” he confesses to Batman. Batman replies, “Go save one and then you’ll know what to do.”

This is a favorite quote for John Hansen and his 9-year-old son Chase as it captures the spirit of their “empathy project,” a “social experiment” devised to actively help homeless and at-risk individuals. Over the past two years, father and son have sat down with over 120 homeless individuals, often over a meal, to learn about the problems and issues they struggle with.

Sometimes these conversations have resulted in John and Chase helping individuals move out of shelters and into housing or stepping in when someone faces difficulty in maintaining family relationships. “They (John and Chase) helped me out for six months picking up my boys for me,” said Mike Campbell, a recipient of their aid. “John also gave me a very nice bike that helps me be more mobile and active.”

In other instances, Chase and John have simply listened and gathered information. “Empathy is the practice of feeling with someone,” said John. The goal is to offer validation and ultimately give people a voice.

In aiming to find out what the homeless really need, they have worked with the Department of Workforce Services to devise questions and will share the data they collect with them. “When you talk to the homeless, you can see patterns in their experiences,” said Chase. John added, “We think that the needs and ideas of the homeless population deserve to be part of the discussion from the beginning and that the data gathered will be of interest to the citizens of Utah.”

Homelessness is a hot-button issue in Utah, and Chase and his dad have met with Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox and other officials to discuss strategies to address it. They believe that a key to changing public perception about the homeless is to involve a lot of people in conversations and build a sense of belonging. To that end, they have been experimenting with ways to build community that transcends social barriers.



Chase and John have been working on fostering community in various ways since founding their social impact company, Kid Labs, in 2013. “Kid Labs is all the good things we’re doing,” said Chase. Kid Labs’ overarching mission is to be a force for good in the world and to empower kids to reach out to others.

By actively assisting those in the community who need help, Chase and John are living Chase’s dream of being real superheroes. When Chase was 4, John Decided to create a “superhero lab” where kids could be empowered to be effective heroes in society. The project started in a garage and later expanded into a renovated industrial warehouse in Salt Lake County.

John has referred to that location as a “living social experiment” in which at-risk kids and families came together to create, connect and contribute to the community.

Classes in yoga, robotics and art were offered. Through community partnerships, Kid Labs was able to offer special events such as make-overs for single moms with stylists with Paul Mitchell Academy.

Sadly, the Kid Labs space closed less than a year after it opened. While John and Chase would like to find another physical base for Kid Labs, they are continuing their mission to make the world a better place through bringing people together. John spoke of a “giant disconnect between what needs to happen and the will to accomplish it” when it comes to solving homelessness. He envisions a grassroots effort to build advocacy groups.

Most recently, Chase and John have been working with the family shelter in Midvale in their community-building experiements. One recent experiment, “Pizza with Purpose,” involved connecting shelter families with community members who are interested in reaching out to the disadvantaged over pizza. Kid Labs found sponsors to help cover the costs and 30 to 40 people attended.

Two months ago, Kid Labs organized a hike and picnic in the mountains for three families from the shelter and two families from Cottonwood Heights. One experiment at a time, Chase and John continue to bridge social divides between individuals. When people ask Chase about how to interact with the homeless he simply says, “Be their friends.”

Chase will start fourth grade at Draper Elementary next month and both he and his father would like Draper residents to step up and get involved in addressing the problem of homelessness. “We need resources and funding for staff. Even more than the money, we need people who want to get involved, said John.






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 10, 2018
WORLD HOMELESS DAY

On October 10th, World Homeless Day, LEESA Sleep is seizing the opportunity to raise awareness for bedlessness in America. Bedlessness affects more than 500,000 Americans who are seeking refuge from homelessness, domestic risk, human trafficking and more. Since LEESA was founded in 2015, the company has donated more than 30,000 mattresses to more than 1,000 charities who support those afflicted. These donations have resulted in more than 3,000,000 nights of better rest.

This World Homeless Day, LEESA is amplifying their commitment to help solve this problem, increasing their giving model from “One-Ten” to “Ten-for-Ten” on October 10. For every mattress LEESA sells on World Homeless Day, they’ll commit a matching mattress donation to a charitable partner.

LEESA has also taken notice of young people all across the country who are doing remarkable things in their communities and we are partnering with youth to enhance the good they’re doing. LEESA will be hosting a series of mattress donations in their homebase of Virginia Beach as well as tapping these young social changemakers at events in New York City, Baltimore, Boston, Salt Lake City and Chicago by giving them mattresses and funds to further their work and officiate them as LEESA Sleep Ambassadors.

Each Social Changemaker will partner with LEESA Sleep at a giving event in their hometown, with more than 500 mattresses being donated on this day through their efforts. We have partnered with Chase to help give Salt Lake City Rescue Mission mattresses on the morning of 10/10. The Utah Transit Authority police department will be joined by a team of community members to support this Sleep Mission and project Empathy.

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SALT LAKE CITY
I would like to introduce you all to someone very special — Chase Hansen. Chase is the founder of Project Empathy which is a social impact experiment based off the simple truth that sometimes all you need is a friend who will listen. Inspired by the superheroes of his favorite movies, Chase and his father John have become real life superheroes working to spread empathy and make a difference in the homeless community right here in Salt Lake City,

To date Chase has sat down for a meal with 130 homeless friends and has been the listening ear and source of support needed to reignite their feeling of self worth and move forward in their life by gaining employment and finding a home. Chase gives promise to a new generation of passionate and driven change-makers, and on behalf of Leesa I am excited to announce him as one of our 2018 Leesa Social Changemakers. Chase thank you for everything you do and for inspiring us. We cannot wait to follow your journey —  Leesa




OCTOBER 10, 2018 | DESERET NEWS

THE GIFT OF SLEEP: SALT LAKE EMERGENCY SHELTER RECEIVES NEW MATTRESSES









AUGUST 15, 2018 | DESERET NEWS | MORMON TIMES / LDS LIVING

THE 9-YEAR-OLD CEO AND LATTER-DAY SAINT WHO DEDICATED HIS TIME TO SERVING OTHERS






AUGUST 6, 2018 | KSTU — FOX 13

PROJECT EMPATHY’ WORKS TO COMBAT HOMELESSNESS WITH HUMANITY, PERSONAL TOUCH






JULY 28, 2018 | KTVX — ABC 4

MEET 9 YEAR OLD CHASE: A HERO AND HUMANITARIAN








JULY 26, 2018 | KUTV — CBS 2 

9 YEAR OLD UTAH BOY AWARDED FOR SERVING HOMELESS COMMUNITY







OUTDOOR RETAILERS MAGAZINE — THE FUTURE


































"You are an inspiration to us all Chase, keep up the good work.” Lieutenant Governor Spencer J. Cox | Utah

“Chase is my hero!” Dan Far | FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention | CEO

“When I think of John Hansen, I think of HEART. His heart is big, so big in fact — he had to renovate a whole warehouse to fit it in. He is first, a dad. He loves his son Chase, more than anything. He wants Chase to grow up in a world of love.” Janae Moss | United Way | Utah County Board Chair

“Chase is an inspiration to humankind.” Chelvy Kay | Kent, United Kingdom

“Can we lower the age for president to 9? What a great kid!” Samantha Washington | Sacramento, CA

“Remember the name Chase Hansen. He will change the world.” Kristen Ballard | Leavenworth, WA








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At Kid Labs we are interested in just about anything that drives positive social change, the same way a hero might think about the world. As we began to build the idea, we gathered important proofs of concepts and borrowed ideas from successful organizations like Wayne Enterprises, Stark Industries, and Xavier’s School for the Gifted.

We were deeply inspired by the lairs and collaborative community centers which we had seen while researching. Creative workspaces and co-working environments like the Bat Cave, the Avengers Tower, Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, the Watchtower, and Arrow’s Bunker all seemed to produce impressive results. These were all places where Heroes worked, sometimes alone, other times with their friends or teams — gathering to learn, train and strategize on their various missions or just to tinker with their tools and gadgets.







We studied out different team building methods and how they might effectively collaborate across diverse groups of individuals, often with strong personalities. We were curious as to what created an effective co-working environment and fostered a team culture that leveraged individual strengths and creative problem solving skills to meet mission objectives and foster unity, even through adversarial and stressful situations.







Looking across the globe, we were inspired by social disruptors we discovered through TED talks and their ideas and social impact methods used in their hero work.



We explored innovative mechanisms like Maker-spaces, Business Incubators, Think Tanks, Social Impact Hubs, Education Accelerators, Immersive Experience Centers, Transformational Leadership Programs.



We loved all these ideas and wanted to apply them to the future leaders and change makers of the world…to empower kids through collective impact methodologies, design thinking, and social entrepreneurship through a heroic organization that would engineer change and solve some of humanities complex challenges through innovation and imagination.




HUMAN CENTERED DESIGN THEORY

Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs. Human-centered design is all about building a deep empathy with the people you’re designing for; generating tons of ideas; building a bunch of prototypes; sharing what you’ve made with the people you’re designing for; and eventually putting your innovative new solution out in the world.

Human Centered Design sits at the intersection of empathy and creativity: IDEO


DESIGN THINKING

Design thinking is a powerful process for problem-solving that begins with understanding unmet customer needs. From that insight emerges a process for innovation that encompasses concept development, applied creativity, prototyping, and experimentation. When design thinking approaches are applied to business, the success rate for innovation improves substantially.

Design Thinking for Social Innovation: Stanford Social Innovation Review




COLLECTIVE IMPACT THEORY

Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations.

Collective Impact: Stanford Social Innovation Review

UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL GLOALS

On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

U.N. Sustainable Global Goals








CHASEING SUPERHERO

THE ORIGIN STORY by John Hansen | DECEMBER 24, 2017

In Sept 2013, my little boy Chase and I attended one of the greatest gatherings of heroes in the world, the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, the very first one. It was epic.

Chase was four at the time and like little boys often do, he super hero-ed everything, tapping into his inner warrior with his fierce imagination wherever we went. He was always in Hero Mode” fighting imaginary bad guys, armed with imaginary gadgets and imaginary weapons being a Force For Good in his world of superhero.



We had spent nearly two years straight together after the sale of a company that I owned. Let’s just say 2009 was a rough time on many small business and real-estate owners. When the global economy fell apart, so did I. Broken and battered from my unraveling and the implosion of my marriage, I decided to take a much needed break from the world, to stay at home and be with my son.

Those two years as a stay-at-home dad were the most magical and transformative years of my life, just the medicine that I needed. Chase and I would adventure everywhere together, exploring and playing. He was the sweetest boy, a constant source of unconditional love and affection, lifting me up from the dark place where I had fallen, anchoring me back into a purpose. He helped me see the world through his eyes, and I began seeing things differently, discovering things alongside him as we would wander. I loved the expressions on his tiny face when he would see new things for the first time.

Every night we spent together we would cuddle up on the couch or build a fort and watch something that he had curated, almost as if he was trying to mentor me with positive lessons through Pixar and Disney, reminding me who I was through heroic stories. I started to feel again.

We soon worked our way up from animation to Power Rangers and then quickly graduated to the “big boy” hero stuff — his favorite movie being Real Steel. We must have watched it a hundred times.

Jayden the Red Power Ranger, Atom the boxing robot, Luke Skywalker, Iron Man, Optimus Prime, Spiderman, Batman, and Captain America soon becoming regulars on his rotation of alter egos to try on.





As a little Jedi Master, he would wield his lightsaber with expertise, using the front room to enact what he saw on our tv, drawing me into fierce battles where we would fight together against foes that were invisible to me. He was the type of little kid who would explore the world in a Spiderman outfit or put it on just to fall asleep, ready to spring into action if needed. “Hero Mode” became the most entertaining way to adventure, so I encouraged it.








Fan-x fueled by the 40,000 diehard fans served as a catalyst for an idea. We needed our own superhero lair. We both wanted to continue our training together and reasoned if we had a base we could recruit a League of extraordinary people and develop a heroic culture like Avengers or X-Men. We wanted to put our creative ideas into play to serve others and elevate humanity.



After months of searching, we found an abandoned industrial pipe welding shop that had been decimated by a previous tenant. It was in bad shape, but I saw what it could become. I struck a deal with the owners on a handshake and mobilized the Boy Scouts and a few hired guns to start cleaning up the place. Progress was slow, but in time we recruited some amazing volunteers and a few open-minded “hero companies” that rallied behind our vision.







After three months of hard work, just like Arrow and Batman, we had a lair — our dream office. A maker space where my little boy and I could be together to play, create, and imagine.

We called it Kid Labs.

Since Chase was two, I have been following his lead as he drives ideas and experiences which I make happen, something that I love doing. Following the leader has changed my life, teaching me more than I’d ever imagined. With a lair, we began to think in superhero, taking our game to a whole other level.



Most of our heroic adventures, experiments and experiences were kept top secret. I like to tell Chase that Batman doesn’t have a PR team, he operates covertly, in Hero Mode and doesn’t seek out recognition.

In total, we ran 90+ social experiments from our beta lab. We met so many amazing people from all walks of life, even collaborating on a few special projects with champions from the non-profit and business sectors.



I often get asked, “What happened to Kid Labs?”

Most of the time I make up an answer that sounds good, but keep the real answer to myself. In short a volunteer took off with the last of our funds and our working capital went to zero. Short on rent we scrambled to rally help, but without an nonprofit tax ID number, the amazing organizations and foundations we approached about our work, turned us down. Without a “License to Hero,” we were on our own.

Surrendering to the inevitable, I sat Chase down to give him the bad news: we were shutting down his hero facility that we had built together. To help my little son process the flood of emotions, I asked him to do an interview.


We had spent months rebuilding something completely destroyed in a labor of love, turning a dirty and broken building into an amazing laboratory for our hero work. We had accomplished so much and left the neighborhood improved, with the proof of concept and the experience we needed to build a “bigger and better Kid Labs.”

Since Kid Labs, we having been figuring out the next phase through intensive research and personal development (r&pd), creating the relationships and strategic partnerships and the infrastructure we will need to create our dream…we dream big.






CHASEING SUPERHERO is the story about a mission driven little boy from Utah, who seeks to create meaningful change in the world through his social impact work, not unlike any of the heroic characters we celebrate in our greatest stories.
Chase is a leader that has heart.

Help me to help him reboot Kid Labs and to tell his story.

From what I see on the news, the world could use a hero… besides, the greatest stories are the ones that you can be a part of.

John Hansen

Chief Dad Officer — Kid Labs








APRIL 2, 2014

[CLOSURE OF KID LABS IMMINENT. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TELL CHASE THE BAD NEWS. HE WILL BE DISAPPOINTED.]

Dear Chase,

Happy Birthday. You are now 5.

You are my hero. You have been my greatest teacher and mentor. I love being your sidekick. You awoke something deep inside me the day we first met. Because of you now I see the world so much differently.

The direction of my life has changed in a way I could have never imagined. You rescued me from a dark place from which I had fallen, a place where I felt helpless and lonely.

How could I have resisted the unending love you so willingly gave me through those soft hugs and kisses during all the blissful moments that we shared together.

The “I love you Dad”s and every superhero moment anchored me. The medicine for my soul that I needed to reboot and find a purpose. You believed in me, until I could believe in myself….thank you for that!

Son, I want you to dream big and to know that you can do anything that you set your mind to. There is lots of work yet to be done to improve our world and I worry every day for the future, about the many things that you don’t yet understand. But I have discovered hope in you and in others that are like you, the future leaders and champions that our world needs.

Though you may be young and small, there are many things that you can do to be the change that is needed. In this you are powerful beyond measure. You and those like you, will serve as a catalyst to soften our hearts and help us to remember who we are.

Remember to serve others. Be kind. Be Brave. Think outside the box and be creative. Act with integrity and honor and be the hero that I know you to be… from your lair [Kid Labs] or any other place from which you choose to spread your brilliance and light.

I am so proud of you. I think your story is amazing…someday soon we will have to share it. Never stop CHASING your SUPERHERO.

I Love You…this much! (Arms stretched out wider than you can ever imagine)

Let’s change the world together.

Dad



DEDICATED TO CHASE & RILEY

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