Gatekeeping is a concept by which we seek to have community, social and recreational groups “adopt” our residents into their ranks in the hope of fostering true peer-to-peer relationships. The CORE gatekeeper program is modeled after Dr. Al Condeluci’s work in his book entitled “Cultural Shifting.”

Dr. Condeluci, Ph. D is CEO of United Cerebral Palsy in Pittsburgh and since 1997, has emerged as a national leader and consultant on human services and community issues. He speaks to national and international audiences, reaching more than 8,000 people annually. Dr. Condeluci spoke at Hilltop’s grand opening in January of 2002.

The Positive Gatekeeper

Gatekeepers, especially positive gatekeepers, are critical to the CORE culture because they help bring new things into the community. When they do this, the new idea, person or product introduced by the gatekeeper adds or causes the existing members of the culture to define or redefine their position on the matter. This addition and redefinition of culture is what leads to cultural growth.

Although we provide therapeutic activities through all programs, the team at CORE feels it is critical to offer residents an opportunity to make real connections within the community. To achieve this, we help residents identify social groups outside of group activities provided by CORE that the resident will enjoy and find meaningful. We use the gatekeeper model to introduce our residents to these new groups. In this way, we have found that our residents are accepted and “adopted” by the new group, ensuring long-term enjoyment and success. This success manifests itself into a feeling of connection with the general community for our residents.

As an example, one of CORE’s residents had been keenly interested in car washes for years, making collages and dioramas of professional car washes service centers. After identifying a “gatekeeper” within the Southwest Car Wash Association, our resident was welcomed by that group and enjoys all-access registration at the SCWA annual conferences and a volunteer job at a local car wash service center.