We help our community resolve disputes peacefully through mediation.

We focus on three programs to make a positive impact on how our community resolves conflict.  We offer affordable mediation services to increase access to justice.  We teach mediation skills and create awareness to encourage our community to resolve disputes peacefully.  We educate future mediators to increase mediation.  These programs make a positive impact on our community by increasing awareness of and access to mediation.  This leads to healthier dispute resolution and a more peaceful community.  It helps prevent violence and bullying as a means to dispute resolution.

We offer affordable mediation services.

Overview

We want everyone in our community to have equal access to justice.  This is an underlying value of our democracy.  However, access to justice is at an all-time low for the poor.  Supporting mediation services can expand our community's access to justice.  Justice not only stems from equal access to our legal services, but also access to fair outcomes in disputes.  Mediation offers quicker and more amicable results than typical litigation.  

Our mediation services provide vital support to our justice system, increasing our community’s access to just and timely resolutions.  Mediated agreements are more robust than court decisions.  Parties are more likely to follow a mediated agreement and are less likely to return to court.  This is because the mediation process empowers parties to solve their own problem.  It focuses on the underlying issues and allows these to be solved.  It also encourages good communication and teaches parties to work together in the future without the help of a third party.  

Highlights

- We helped 3066 parties in mediation last year at no cost to the parties.

- We spent an average of 1.5 hours managing each case and an average of 2.2 hours mediating each case. 

- About 70% of these mediations reached agreement.  

- We coordinated the mediation program for Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.  In total, we handled 3094 referrals to mediation in 2014 and mediated 1339 of those cases.  

- We mediated cases for Brunswick Court, Chesterfield Court, Colonial Heights Court, Greensville Court, Hanover Court, Henrico Court and Sussex Court last year.

We teach mediation skills.

Overview

Most people handle civil disputes on their own.  We teach mediation skills through our court mediation to help our community resolve their disputes peacefully.  This helps stop bullying and violence as a means of resolving conflict.  We work with the courts in the Richmond area to provide free or low-cost parent workshops.  These workshops teach parents basic mediation skills, and are a forum for learning about the mediation process.  When parents are more aware of the effects of separation, they are more able to focus on the best interests of their child and create mutually beneficial agreements.  

We regularly engage with our community on the topic of mediation.  We encourage our community to learn about mediation and its benefits.  We partner with businesses to provide workshops, brown bag breakfasts and lunches on mediation, elder abuse and domestic violence issues.  Learning the skills of mediation can help alleviate conflict, and ensure a more productive and peaceful environment. 

highlights

- We have introduced 154 parties to mediation through our Orientation to Mediation class in the first six months of this year (2015).  

- We taught monthly parenting education workshops.

- We presented to RVA Better Aging Forum, Philip Morris Retirees Association (Altria), 4 churches  and 2 nursing homes on elder mediation last year, reaching over a hundred members of our community.

- We presented to Senior Connections' Foster Grandparents program to teach mediation skills to 40 of their volunteers.  

- We offered free workshops for businesses in support of October as Domestic Violence Month.

We educate future mediators.

Overview

We teach members of our community mediation skills.  We provide core mediation training and mentorship to increase the number of mediators.  We also provide courses in advanced mediation to ensure our trainees are the best mediators.  Skilled mediators are critical in helping clients find fair resolutions quickly.  We also work with schools and colleges to train students in mediation, creating the next generation of community mediators.  

Highlights

- We trained 104 members of our community last year in core mediation skills.

- Seven of our mediators trained in elder issues and advanced mediation skills to help serve this population better through mediation.