Handbook of Community Psychology

pp 247-272

Citizen Participation and Community Organizations

  • Abraham WandersmanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of South Carolina
  • , Paul FlorinAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Rhode Island

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The noted black educator Benjamin Mays said: “nobody is wise enough, nobody is good enough, and nobody cares enough about you, for you to turn over to them your future or your destiny.” Citizen participation creates the potential for schools, neighborhoods, and other institutions, environments, and services responsive to individuals and families. Citizen participation is defined as “a process in which individuals take part in decision making in the institutions, programs, and environments that affect them” (Heller, Price, Reinharz, Riger, & Wandersman, 1984, p. 339; see Churchman, 1987, for definitions of participation in different disciplines)