Building Life Skills With Youth

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Community Mediation Center
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Our Mission: To resolve, manage, and prevent conflict in communities through training, facilitations, consultations, and mediation.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

The Community Mediation Center is all about bringing peace into the lives of people through education. For about 20 years we have been involved in teaching conflict resolutions skills to children and youth in schools. Our program is called "Talk It Out" and it utilizes a 6 step process that works through disputes/conflicts in a sensible and practical way.

In the course of teaching these classes, visuals are needed. Prior to 2007 we had to rely on hand drawings on posterboard to use in the small groups and classrooms. In that year we joined Tech Soup and were able to purchase Microsoft Publisher 2007 and create visuals that were much more effective in getting the message across and looked 100% more professional. Because we are a non-profit our resources are limited, thus, being able to get Publisher for such a fantastic price made all the difference in the world to us.

Creating colorful and informative newsletters, brochures, and lesson visuals has enhanced our ability to get the message across to the students and their families.

Last fall I went to Benton Elementary School to teach our Talk It Out program. Using the new visuals to work with a group of 6 second graders made an impact. One ot the lessons is about 3 different ways we use to face conflict: Fight, Ignore, or Talk It Out. Ilustrations are given in which the child sees how neither fighting nor ignoring works but talking it out does. The visual used is that of a turtle. In the fighting picture his claws and neck are stretched out and ready to charge. In the ignoring picture his head is hidden under his upper arms. In the talking picture he is facing another turtle with his eyes open, face up, and in a non threatening pose. At the end of the 6 weeks I asked the children what was one thing that impacted them most. The answer was the picture with the turtles! In this same group of boys one of them apparently was a constant instigater of problems with his sister at home. One day during the 6 week class the mom was speaking to the counselor. Her comment was that she didn't know what was going on but her son had stopped picking on his sister. The counselor explained that he had been taking the Talk It Out class and learning the steps to resolve differences. The mom then acknowledged that she had forgotten that she had given permission for him to take the class and that she truly felt that it was making a difference.

Our program has grown rapidly and we were able to reach about 400 students so far this academic year. One of the things we did was to invite volunteers in and be trained in teaching the classes. I was able to make packets of visuals for them to take and use for their students. We have really appreciated the use of the Microsoft software and feel that we truly have been able to reach and teach many more students because of the ease of creating visuals.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Project Image
Supporting Work Files