Over the past few months, Community Mediation Services has provided group facilitation to several neighborhoods and organizations around the St. Louis metropolitan area. Topics have included race relations, community police relations, the role of small businesses in a neighborhood, crime, poverty, and many others. In each of case, neighborhood organizations sought a forum in which residents could come together to talk about ways they could work together to improve their communities in these key areas, and the resulting discussions helped create the tools for positive change.
CMS has been involved in meetings in Ferguson since November, helping to plan and facilitate multiple meetings about how the community can come together to rebuild. Seeking to improve the community, residents have discussed ways to improve concerns such as race relations, poverty, and social justice. Although the process will be long and difficult, discussions such as these will provide a vital beginning. Several neighborhoods in St. Louis have held similar meetings, each of which promises to help the community through the healing process toward a stronger, more verdant and just future.
In other meetings, we have helped residents and businesses talk to each other to address perceived issues of blight, crime, and poverty. Residents of several upscale apartment complexes were concerned about drug usage and crime among the area’s homeless, and were chagrinned by their perception that a local business was contributing to the problem. Over an hour and a half, all involved were able to recognize their common interests and work together toward building a solution.
Group facilitation is a service CMS is proud to include in its portfolio. The experience of neighbors coming together to work toward a better future is always rewarding, whether a participant, an observer, or a facilitator.