Community Comes Together to Find Solutions to Bullying at Mediation Center Roundtable
The Mediation Center hosted a Roundtable: What are the Gaps to Overcome Bullying: A Community Conversation, at Marist College on February 15. The purpose was to bring together people from diverse disciplines and experiences to identify gaps and solutions to bullying. Dr. Caldwell began the evening with opening remarks about the public health issue that bullying has become.
|Dr. Caldwell's opening remarks
Participants discussing how to overcome bullying
The evening was structured around three questions:
1. What are the gaps and barriers to overcome bullying?
2. What has worked or been successful in your experience to overcome bullying?
3. How can we work together to overcome the gaps and barriers?
Many strategies emerged such as training all school personnel to be able to identify bullying, ensuring confidential reporting for students, training youth and adults how to be allies when someone is bullied, creating a clearinghouse that lists all of the local programs that are currently addressing bullying, holding bullies consistently accountable for their actions and teaching youth social-emotional skills. Because bullying is about power and control through fear and intimidation, there is often a power imbalance between bullies and students who are bullied. It is critical that there is a coordinated school community response to bullying to send a clear message that all students deserve to be safe and respected at school. One of the most effective responses to bullying is creating a change in the culture of the school.
With the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) going into effect July 1, 2012, schools will be required to have policies intended to create an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. For more information about DASA go to www.nyclu.org/issues/lgbt-rights/dignity-all-students-act and
Join us for the 1st Anti-Bullying Walkathon
Bringing people together to resolve conflict, make decisions and take action is what the Mediation Center does best. Whether we are training volunteers to mediate, teaching children and teens to understand conflict's effects and appropriate responses, or facilitating an organization's planning process, the Center works to address the issues facing our community. To raise awareness and collaborate with others to prevent and respond to bullying, the Mediation Center will hold its 1st Annual Anti-Bullying Walkathon and Anti-Bullying Art Show, March 31, on the Walkway Over the Hudson. Dr. Michael Caldwell has joined with us as the honorary event chairman. County Executive Marcus Molinaro will provide opening remarks to kick off the event. Pre-register here or
Thank you to all of our sponsors including
Melissa D. Bisaccia Memorial Donor Advised Fund of the
Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley
Mediation Center Receives Grants for Projects
The Mediation Center is fortunate to receive support for current work as well as new projects. First, the New York State Bar Association provided a grant to develop the first phase of the Surrogate's Court Mediation Pilot Project that will allow families to address contested wills, estates and guardianships through mediation. Families, either on their own or with their attorneys, can develop workable solutions that reduce time spent in court. The project was initiated by the Hon. James Pagones, Dutchess County Surrogate Court and in cooperation with the Dutchess County Bar Association.
|Brian Riddell, Dutchess Outreach, Nevill Smythe,
Community Foundations, Jacki Brownstein,
Mental Health America-Dutchess County,
Renee Fillette Grace Smith House, Jody Miller, Mediation Center
Second, the Mediation Center was honored to be chosen as a grant recipient of the Mental Health America's Staff Charitable Fund of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley. The Center was joined by Dutchess Outreach, Grace Smith House and Mental Health America-Dutchess County, also chosen to receive a grant.
Last, the Dutchess County Bar Association Fund of the Community Foundations awarded a grant to the Center for Meetings with a Mission that will allow the Center to purchase new tables for its conference room to support the many large group meetings hosted.
The Mediation Center is very appreciative to the NYS Bar Association, Mental Health America-Dutchess County and the Dutchess County Bar Association for their support.
Volunteers and Professionals Learn
To meet the growing demand for people who want to learn how to help others resolve conflict in personal or professional life and for those who want to give back to the community through volunteering, the Mediation Center holds two 35 hour Basic Transformative Mediation Trainings per year. People from a range of professions including graphic design, social work, prisoner reentry, mental health, law, and technology as well as students and retirees completed the course.
Whether as volunteer mediators for the Center or for personal or professional use, the training provides a strong relational theoretical foundation that views conflict as having a negative effect on ourselves and the way we are with others and an approach to helping people become calmer, clearer about options and more decisive. Another aspect is helping people become more open and able to see other perspectives. When these changes occur, problem solving and finding solutions become less challenging and more efficient.
Training participants ranged from Dutchess County residents to New York City and Rochester to as far away as Berlin, Germany. One of the highlights of the training is getting to know each person in the group and many stay in touch.
The Mediation Center will hold its next training June 2-3 and June 9-10 at Marist College. 32 Continuing Legal Education credits (pending including 2 ethics). For more information go towww.dutchessmediation.org
|2011 Mediators, trained at Vassar College
Bonnie Allen, Alice and Mary Mulligan at Alice's Retirement Party
Alice O. Mann, Elder Program Manager and founder of the Coalition on Elder Abuse, retired in November, 2011. Alice was a beloved member of MCDC's staff and community, always ready with a witty comment, always willing to help others and instrumental in helping shape the Mediation Center's trainings and programs. She developed the Wise Talk Elder Mediation Program into an important program in the senior serving community. As a result of safety concerns in many cases that were referred to mediation, Aliceinitiated Dutchess County's first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, 2009. The Coalition on Elder Abuse in Dutchess County was founded as a result of the communities overwhelming response and today is leading the way for raising awareness and convening the entire community to address and respond to elder abuse. We miss Alice but know that she is happily enjoying the sun on a Florida beach as well as organizing in her community.
Staff and Mediator News
Jody Miller has been invited to present at the international forum at Shanghai University's Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Arbitration on March 22-24. The forum, titled"ADR and Arbitration Under Multiple Cultural
Perspectives," will include scholars and practitioners from China, Europe, and the United States. Her presentation will discuss the use of transformative mediation in commercial cases.
Judy Saul, founder of the Community Dispute Resolution Center in Ithaca, New York, will also be teaching about the theory and practice of transformative mediation during three sessions of a class for recent graduates from Shanghai University's School of Law. Jody and Judy are Fellows of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and adjunct professors at Hofstra Law School.
Mediator Catherine Michelin recently received Volunteer Ombudsman of the Year from Hands On! the Hudson Valley for her advocacy on behalf of residents in local nursing homes. Congratulations Catherine!
The Mediation Center is pleased to welcome Kathy Sheehan,
Coordinator, Coalition on Elder Abuse in Dutchess County. Kathy has been a volunteer extraordinaire with the Coalition since it began, working closely with Alice Mann. Kathy holds a Masters in Social Work from Hunter College, has been involved in working with older adults in a number of roles and is passionate about advocacy and research on aging and elder abuse. Kathy is a member of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and participates in the Multidisciplinary Team Peer Leadership monthly meetings with the NYC Elder Abuse Center.
Congratulations to Bill Valente, the MediationCenter's Community Program Manager, who recently completed his Masters in Social Work at Aldelphi University. Bill has been actively involved with the Safe Schools Roundtable, hosted by GLSEN Hudson Valley and the LGBTQ Center, with a focus on bulllying prevention and intervention. Congratulations Bill!