Friday, July 11, 2008

Resolving Conflict Through Mediation

Resolving Conflict in Nashville through Mediation & Education

What inspires you to work for a better world? At the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), a local non-profit organization that offers free court and community-based mediation and conflict resolution education programs, volunteers often talk about the ‘negative push’ of crime and violence and the ‘positive pull’ of hope for a healthier society that motivate and sustain their commitment to pro bono mediation. NCRC volunteers empower individuals to manage, prevent and resolve conflicts without violence.

Founded in 2000 by the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Committee of the Nashville Bar Association, NCRC has become a first-rate resource center for community conflict resolution - a place where folks can go to work out their problems without the high cost of litigation. Using mediation, negotiation and dialogue as tools to resolve conflicts, NCRC volunteer mediators help disputing parties identify important needs and interests, express grievances and develop mutually acceptable solutions. Mediators model skills that can be useful in any setting to resolve disputes of any scale: attitudes of fairness and balance, open-mindedness, good listening skills, perceptivity to feelings, and a willingness to help make things better. NCRC supports new and experienced mediators, providing them with a platform through which they can build and refine expertise in the field.

Currently, NCRC offers the following programs:

· General Sessions Court Civil Mediation – mediating landlord-tenant, personal property, neighbor-neighbor and consumer-merchant disputes in General Sessions court where 65% of the cases are pro se (without attorney)
· Victim Offender Mediation through the District Attorney’s Criminal Warrant Screening Office – a program designed to resolve conflicts before a criminal warrant is issued; alleged charges of assault, harassment, vandalism, theft, threats, and intimidation are mediated
· Bilingual Mediation – providing mediation services to the Hispanic community in Nashville
· Workplace Discrimination Mediation – a partnership with Metro Human Relations Commission to provide mediation for racial discrimination cases in the workplace
· Conflict Resolution Education / The Community Coexistence Project – an educational initiative to promote mediation and conflict resolution in high crime areas in North, East and South Nashville
· Family Mediation & Other Private Mediation Referrals – mediating parenting plans or other divorce matters, and other types of disputes as referred by individuals, businesses, or community organizations
· Mediation Training – training offered bi-annually, and CME (Continuing Mediation Education) credit opportunities offered throughout the year

NCRC is comprised of a full-time Executive Director, an active board of 14 members, and dozens of volunteer mediators who come from a variety of professional backgrounds. New volunteers are welcome! If you are interested in pro bono mediation and would like to volunteer with NCRC,
call 615-291-6272 or send an email to: tamara.ncrc@gmail.com.

By Tamara Ambar Losel, Executive Director of the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center

(Tamara joined NCRC in March 2008, after working in Israel for a year in the field of
conflict resolution and human rights. Tamara has a master’s degree from Brandeis
University in Coexistence & Conflict Resolution, and a background in non-profit
management and fundraising.)

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