A key element of the proposed Riverview Village is inclusiveness, with those with a serious mental illness and those without a mental illness welcoming, and open to, each other, mixing freely, and participating in community activities together. It’s not enough, however, to just attempt inclusiveness by community planning or wish for it. Inclusiveness needs resources, skills, initiatives, and ongoing community-staff presence to bring it to fruition.
Hence community facilitators – what we call the “engine room” – actively promoting interconnections and bringing people together. Many things come to mind: events and activities, group gatherings, personal introductions, identifying common interests, encouraging those who might like to get involved, ensuring broad representation and participation at meetings, and the myriad other ways that people get to know each other and develop relationships.
The community facilitators’ mission is to help keep the community dynamic chugging along. This should be budgeted in the financial planning for the community, right from the beginning.