REM’s was in fact born out of a community forum. (See Community Catalyst.)
When an issue arises REM contacts those who have the most knowledge about the issue and invites them to attend a REM Community Forum on the issue. The public is invited to participate. REM sees public engagement as a powerful influence upon any issue…a power very often overlooked and discounted.
REM Partners Play a Key Role:
Part of every REM Partner Annual Networking Luncheon is an agenda item which asks, “What do you see falling through the crack in our community?” Important issues come to the surface. For example, youth homelessness was identified in 2012.
The REM Partners joined hands around that issue and good work was accomplished. (See Youth Homelessness 1, Youth Homelessness Life Skills, and Homeless Youth Resources.) At present there is great work underway to take a major step to provide a safe place for homeless youth to get the help they need.
REM’s Co-Executive Director and “Dream Catcher” speaks out on REM Forum’s role in REM.
“The REM Forum Team is really the focus of REM’s mission to build community. My personal passion is about building houses. I love taking the building blocks…boards, tiles, glass, piping, wiring, sheetrock, a myriad of parts, each with a beauty all their own, and putting them together to build a house that is more beautiful than any one of it’s parts. My even greater passion is to build community. I love placing the building blocks…men, women, children of all walks of life with a richness of experience and diversity of views in one room behind a passion they all share. What they build together can be as good as life gets.”
“REM’s job? Give them the tools to free their minds and open their mouths: a safe, comfortable space, technology that connects them to each other and the world, consensus building skills and encouragement to pursue all that that affords, support to build strong teams to do what needs to be done and follow-up to sustain their action. Each person matters. Just like in a house, a window is a small part…but without it, on a 24 below zero day, that little window’s absence can burst every pipe. In community every person matters. There is not way to know where that little idea will come from that seals the deal moving an okay project to an amazing accomplishment.”
“When I “Dream Catch” I do so one-to-one. People share with me their fears, concerns and then move into what they see needs to be done and their dreams for how to do that. Sometimes they just come with a dream that’s burning a hole in their psyche trying to get out. Most often I am able to connect them to others in the community who share that dream…sometimes in REM, sometimes outside of REM. A REM Forum is a group “Dream Catching.” Move powerful than a speeding bullet. It beats the heck out of REM sleep…supposedly our most creative mind state. We can be much more creative awake…and together…letting our minds react to ideas others express by growing those ideas…like atomic reactions. At our core, we are just atoms piled one on another. Obviously, they need each other to do great things. As do we. REM Forum is one arena that works to help that happen.”
How REM Forums are born…
The REM Forum Team receives a request for a forum from one of REM’s Co-Directors or receives a request from community members who take it to the Co-Executive Directors for a decision. The Team then convenes the forum. At the forum or follow-up meetings which develop they work to move the issue to sustainable action…usually by establishing it as a REM Community Initiative with carefully established strong leadership. Forum Team members may follow through and remain members of that Initiative if they so choose, but it is not part of their responsibility as a member of the REM Forum Team.