A Community Driven Initiative
One important aspect of HDB that is often relayed in flyers, printed materials, and even when describing what we do face-to-face is that we are a community driven initiative. But what does that really mean? A community driven initiative is one that is powered by, designed for, and run by a specific community, in this case Delray Beach.
Why is that important?
An initiative that is community driven has a distinct advantage over a more traditional initiative model in that it can help remove guess work. Rather than a group of people trying to predict and infer what a community may need or want, in a community driven initiative the Steering Committee, Project Director, and the community all work hand in hand to help improve the community.
Our Community Meeting
One of the many ways that HDB works together with the Delray Beach community is through community meetings. Held 4 times a year (one a quarter), the community meetings offer to residents not only an update on the initiative and a breakdown of what’s to come, but also a forum for comments, questions, and suggestions. Hence, the importance of the Community Meeting to HDB.
On 5/11/2016 we had our first Community Meeting for Year 2 of HDB. About 60 residents, professionals, and providers attended the meeting where they heard reports from each Workgroup, the Project Director, an unveiling of the HDB mission statement, and a reading of HDB’s Mental Health Awareness Month Proclamation.
Perhaps the most powerful moments from this quarter’s Community Meeting were the 2 speakers who offered to share their stories. Both Angela Williams, a Special Education teacher at Atlantic High School, Zumba instructor, and lifelong Delray Beach resident and Jesula Jeannot, a Junior at Atlantic High School shared about how behavioral health has affected their lives. These two community members are wonderful examples of how talking about mental health can decrease the associated stigma, which is of course an important goal for HDB.
As HDB grows…
As we move forward, the community driven aspect of our identity will not change. What better way to help improve a community than by giving them what they ask for?