There are many ways community members can and should be involved in the implementation of this Active Living Plan. It is our goal that community members are an integral part of program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Without community involvement, interventions that the Active Living Council implement could miss the mark on their intended goal due to not involving the intervention population group. An important quality that the Council must develop is the ability to empower the community. Empower the residences to take control of their lives and the lives of those in the community. Once community members feel as though they have control of their lives, they are open minded to necessary interventions.
In addition, community participation is important because it aids in efficiency, as community members often know the behaviors of other community members better than observers or interveners. Community members often have insight into specific barriers and incentives to desired behaviors, and often can help identify unforeseen consequences. Community participation increases “buy-in” in a specific project, making it more likely members will both participate in and promote specific interventions. With this sense of ownership comes also a feeling of responsibility and when communities feel responsible for programs, the likelihood that they are sustained is increased.*