February 2011 • Vol. 31 No. 2 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

Center for Civic Mediation: Helping Neighborhoods, Schools, Homes, and Workplaces

Since its modest beginning in 1978 as one of the first three Neighborhood Justice Centers in the nation, the Center for Civic Mediation (formerly known as Dispute Resolution Services, Inc.) has become a national pioneer in community-based mediation and conflict resolution services, and the first to establish school-based mediation programs in Los Angeles County, which continue to serve as national models.

The nonprofit affiliate of the Los Angeles County Bar Association helps residents, youths and families, community organizations, and local governments resolve disputes. It also provides mediation training and conflict resolution skills courses to help people prevent or avoid escalating conflicts that could result in violence or costly litigation.

"Whether in the context of mediating a parent-child or business issue, assisting a community organization with simmering tensions among its employees, or helping a residential facility develop an approach to dealing with recurring disputes among neighbors, our goal is to enable others to communicate effectively, address problems constructively, and take responsibility for developing solutions that work for all parties involved in a conflict," says the Center's executive director, Tobi Inlender. "The Center helps individuals and groups, students and educators, employees and managers learn and practice these skills."

The Center's Community Mediation Services operates in locations throughout Los Angeles County, offering mediation and conciliation to residents and civic organizations. Typical cases include landlord/tenant, homeowner association, and condominium issues; neighborhood, zoning, and land use; multiparty neighbor to neighbor; small business; consumer/merchant; employer/employee; small claims; and family, divorce, and domestic relations.

Its comprehensive Youth Peer Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services teach children at an early age how to deal with disputes before they escalate into verbal and physical violence that can plague schools and neighborhoods. The flagship Peer Mediation Program provides an intensive three-day training course to student mediators, often recruiting at-risk youth who demonstrate leadership potential. Students, teachers, administrators, and parents may submit cases for mediation. The Center also provides Conflict Resolution Education to youth, parents, educators, family support groups, and caregivers through partnerships with campus-based afterschool programs, schools, youth organizations, residential housing, and other community organizations.

The Center's Training and Facilitation Services cover a broad range of topics related to mediation, conflict resolution theory, practice, and skill development. In addition to offering a 30-hour basic mediation training; intense, experiential advanced mediation; and other specialized skills courses, the Center provides training that helps families, groups, and organizations develop constructive processes and frameworks for resolving conflict.

The Center also provides community organizations, business groups, social service and law enforcement professionals, and educators with customized training courses that are uniquely tailored to their needs, and offers facilitation services to assist large groups to clarify and advance their objectives and constructively address contentious issues.

"The Center for Civic Mediation is dedicated to promoting a more harmonious and civil Los Angeles community by helping people create common ground to address conflict and by fostering more peaceful neighborhoods, schools, homes, and workplaces," Inlender concludes.

To contact the Center for Civic Mediation, call (213) 896-6533, e-mail inquiry@centerforcivicmediation.org, or visit www.centerforcivicmediation.org.
 




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