April 26, 2011

How Do We Help Thee? Let Us Count the Ways...

"Mediation sounds good for others, but it just won't work in my situation."

"The other side is too [insert: crazy, unreasonable, unstable, untrustworthy, unwilling, ...] to participate.

Sound familiar?

Community mediation program staff members and volunteer mediators hear these responses from potential service recipients every day. In fact, convincing the parties that mediation may be helpful is oftentimes the most difficult (self-imposed) hurdle to a constructive resolution than any which may arising during the actual mediation itself. Part of this hesitance and uncertainty stems from the parties' unfamiliarity with mediation generally and its storied application in their context specifically. 

To help increase public awareness of how community mediation can help, NAFCM is compiling stories of how these services have previously helped similarly conflicted residents move beyond conflict and get back to their lives. Over the next several months, we will be contacting programs throughout the country to hear their stories and add them to an extensive list of applications for which community mediation can help.

Working with us on this project is Sheryl Ellis, a soon-to-be Master's recipient and NAFCM's newest project-based intern.  Sheryl's work will help those in conflict to connect with both the conceptual potential and the community programs able to make a difference. Here's what Sheryl has to say about her interests and energies: 
"I am excited about the opportunity to volunteer for NAFCM! I look forward to meeting other individuals in the organization throughout the United States. I am graduating in May with my Master’s in Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. During school, I completed Internships with American Airlines and North Texas Food Bank. I am currently an active member of ACR, Conflict Resolution Network, and Mediators Beyond Borders. My background is in Human Resources Consulting specializing in Employee Relations with my Human Resources Certification, California PHR Certification and my California Accident Life and Health License. One of the reasons that I am volunteering for NAFCM is to learn more about Community Mediation and how NAFCM assists communities in resolving issues. Professionally, I am interested in providing mediation, training and conflict coaching."
We look forward to supporting Sheryl as she connects with programs throughout the country and collects compelling stories of the many ways in which community mediation programs help those in conflict. If you would like to share your example of how community mediation can help, complete this short online form

In community,
Executive Director, NAFCM

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