Civility at Riderwood

The Civility at Riderwood (C@R) committee’s mission is to promote harmonious living among residents and staff by building a community that works together. Although we may reside in locations considered to be “independent living” at Riderwood, we truly live interdependently: we together face the joys and challenges of living together.   C@R focuses on encouraging each member of the community to practice considerate conduct: our daily actions and expressions affect each other.

C@R is one of only a few committees at Riderwood that is made up of residents and staff.  Meetings are held monthly.  If you have questions, need more information, or are interested in becoming a committee member, contact


C@R committee members’ activities include:

  • Promoting, via example and teaching, 12 key principles of considerate conduct, printed on laminated cards, which are available to all (Click on the card image to view it full screen.)
  • Encouraging residents to sign “Thank You Boards” posted at regular intervals outside Dining Rooms, on which messages of gratitude are written to the dining staff
  • Displaying thought-provoking (yet humorous) plexiglass-framed statements near Dining Rooms and common areas of each Clubhouse


  • Erecting yearly Gratitude Trees near each Dining Room before Thanksgiving, on which residents and staff post “I am thankful for…” messages
  • Promoting The Erickson Living Values Team Staff Recognition Program, leading to staff members receiving monetary awards based on resident feedback (see Resources below)
  • Using as a guide the book Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni, Co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project


The benefits of having positive interactions generated by considerate conduct with others are proven.  Positive interactions help us relax and feel good about ourselves and other people. Positive interactions lower our stress levels, which in turn affects our health and well-being, and this leads to harmonious living. That “Hello” or warm smile (both given and received) helps us feel comfortable and safe.  This contributes to our overall well-being. [Strengthen relationships for longer, healthier life, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, January 18, 2011; How your social life might help you live longer, Mind and Body, Greater Good Magazine, July 28, 2020].

The benefits of participating in C@R activities include the following:

  • Making a difference to fellow residents and staff members by modeling considerate conduct
  • Focusing on optimism rather than negativism
  • Working side-by-side with Riderwood staff to accomplish a positive change or objective, in a way not possible with other committees
  • Gaining an inside knowledge, and therefore an appreciation of, the unique perspectives and pressures of staff


The book C@R uses as a guide is Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct which is available in Clubhouse Libraries or can be purchased on Amazon.

The Erickson Living Values Team Staff Recognition Program is described in this August 2022 Riderwood Reporter article.

A fascinating Riderwood TV  video of Professor Daniel Buccino (of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project) presenting at a well-attended Riderwood event in 2018.   His lecture, entitled “Choosing Civility: One Step Beyond the Golden Rule,” discusses the importance of maintaining civil actions and behaviors in a community environment. Professor Buccino worked with P.M. Forni, the author of Choosing Civility.

A candid and revealing discussion from June 2, 2020, between the co-founders of C@R, Riderwood resident Levern Allen and then-Executive Director Gary Hibbs, is also available in the Riderwood TV archives.


Initially named the CommUNITY Living Committee when it was founded in 2017 by Riderwood resident Levern Allen and then-Executive Director Gary Hibbs, the committee is now called Civility at Riderwood (C@R).

C@R grew out of a need to address concerns and behaviors that might be unpleasant and annoying and affect the entire community. These behaviors included (but were not limited to):

  • not returning shopping carts to their proper location
  • driving electric vehicles (i.e., power chairs) too fast
  • blocking the entrance/exit to an elevator or classroom
  • speaking in an unkind manner to other residents or staff
  • invoking an air of superiority and entitlement

Initial goals were to:

  • encourage considerate conduct of each member of the community toward each other
  • promote harmonious living among residents, staff, and visitors
  • continue the development of a community in which we appreciate, understand, and welcome different points of view

As committee members began to address these issues, they realized they needed to take a different approach. The committee was introduced to P.M. Forni’s book Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct and the Johns Hopkins Civility Project.   C@R selected 12 of the 25 principles in Forni’s book and created laminated cards displaying these rules of considerate conduct for Riderwood residents. (Click on the image to view it full screen.)

The committee’s task continues to be to help residents and staff internalize these 12 “Principles of Considerate Conduct.”