Archive for the "Press Release" Category

Mediation Center of Dutchess County Releases “The Teens are Alright” Mini-Documentary

As young people throughout the county get ready for a new school year, a group of teens from Beacon High School spent the summer preparing to engage in a whole new way. Through a partnership between the Mediation Center of Dutchess County’s Restorative Justice Initiative and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Green Teen program, 15 students participated extensively in Circle practice, a method for building community, strengthening communication, and addressing conflict. With funding from the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, the partnership created an instructional video so other youth-serving organizations could learn about Circles. Filmed by Lex Catania, the resulting mini-documentary, “The Teens are Alright,” outlines the process and explores the experiences of 7 youth participants.

“Empowering youth is a key area of focus for our Restorative Justice Initiative,” said Claudia Abbott-Barish, Director of Restorative Justice Programs at the Mediation Center of Dutchess County. “Rooted in Indigenous philosophy, Circle practice can be a transformational approach to community building and conflict resolution. We’ve seen the positive effects of this work for years and wanted to share that story.”

The 13-minute documentary introduces viewers to the practice, with a focus on the experience of youth participants. Through the process, the teens describe how Circle helps them connect with themselves and each other. Through their distinct voices, it becomes clear that with these supports the teens are, indeed, alright.

“We’re so grateful to the youth, Green Teen staff, and filmmaker for bringing this story together,” Abbott-Barish continued. “As with all of our initiatives, we are proud that this documentary was created by the community – and will become a resource within the community. We’re especially grateful to the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley whose funding made this possible, and to the Dutchess County Agency Partner Grant program which supports our youth programs.”

Mediation Center of Dutchess County Announces Launch of New Website

To best serve neighbors experiencing conflict, the Mediation Center of Dutchess County is launching a brand-new website. Designed by Drake Creative, the new site will provide easier access to mediation and restorative justice services to neighbors throughout the county. 

“MCDC is proud to launch our new website which expresses our values of accessibility and self-determination,” said Executive Director Leanne Lawson. “Built to the highest standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, we hope that neighbors will be empowered to find the dispute resolution services they need without barriers.”

In addition to providing comprehensive information about mediation and restorative justice services, the new website features an innovative tool for helping users quickly identify whether MCDC can support them. By answering a few quick questions, site visitors can determine what’s best for their situation. 

“The added enhancement of a quiz will help people better understand who the Mediation Center is, and how we might figure into their needs,” Lawson continued. “The quiz also enables users to tell staff the best ways and times to contact them for more help. It’s our hope that this will bring clarity into moments of confusion and conflict.”

The new website was paid for in part by Dutchess County, through its Agency Partner Grant Infrastructure Program. Community members are invited to use and share the improved new website at:

Restorative Justice Initiative Receives Dutchess County Agency
Partner Grant Award

The Mediation Center of Dutchess County is pleased to share that its Restorative Justice Initiative will be receiving grant support from the Dutchess County Government Agency Partner Grant Program. In is 10th year, the program provides vital support to nonprofit organizations addressing unmet community needs. The grant awarded to MCDC will help provide restorative services to nonprofits, schools, and individuals throughout the county. This investment will strengthen relationships and resilience for all. For the full announcement, click here.

Volunteers Adapt to Pandemic Challenges

With appreciation for the Mediation Center of Dutchess County mediators, Executive Director Leanne Lawson spoke with Northern/Southern Dutchess News about the importance of volunteers. Read more about their contributions, along with those of other Dutchess County organizations here.