Mountain Mediation Beach Raffle!

Find yourself in Myrtle Beach for a relaxing get-away this fall. Let Beach Colony Resort treat you to a sauna, or maybe a trip down the lazy river. For the more active visitor, try the racquet ball court or fitness room. The rest of us can relax in one of the three outdoor pools or hot tub. If it’s rainy, try the indoor pool and hot tub. The breakfast buffet offers everything from waffles to eggs Benedict, but the best part is waking up to the sounds of the ocean and the view of the waves from your bed.

Get-Away to Myrtle Beach this fall!

Support local conflict resolution services in your community with the chance to visit the beach for 3 nights!  The “Myrtle Beach Fall Get-Away,” sponsored by Mountain Mediation Services (MMS), gives the winner their choice of fall dates to visit the coast.  Proceeds help support local mediation services, truancy mediations, bullying prevention trainings and conflict resolution services.  The drawing will be held August 24th at MMS’ Volunteer Appreciation Picnic in Clyde. (Winner will be contacted and does not need to be present to win.)

Tickets cost $5 for one or $12 for 3. Purchase your tickets here, online, or at the following locations:

Attorney Bradley S. Tisdale office in Franklin;

City Lights Bookstore and Jack the Dipper in Sylva;

United Community Bank in Bryson City;

Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville;

Joey’s Pancake House in Maggie Valley;

and from Carol Long at Cherokee Tribal Court.

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Sign up for news by Email:

Want to keep up with news from Mt. Mediation? Learn about trainings and upcoming events.  Sign up for our electronic mailing list to receive news by email.

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Mediation Training held May 2014

Mountain Mediaiton held its most recent Community Mediation Training in May of 2014 in Webster, NC.  This 21 hour training follows the guidelines of the Mediation Network of NC and provides hands-on instruction and practice for the co-mediation model.  Participants learn to deal with conflict constructively and help others find peaceful resolution to their differences.  Eight individuals completed this year’s training and are observing more experienced mediators to enable them to help resolve conflict in the local community.  For more information on future training or to be placed on our Training News email list, please contact our Sylva Office personnel at mmssylva1@dnet.net or call 631-5252.  

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Mediation awareness events to be held in area next week!

Two events will be held in Sylva and on the Western Carolina University campus next Tuesday, Oct. 23, and Wednesday, Oct. 24th to raise awareness of conflict mediation as an alternative to litigation and to settle personal disputes.

A reception and panel discussion will be held at the Jackson County Justice Center in Room 220 on Oct. 23rd from 12:30 to 2 p.m.  A panel of mediators from Mountain Mediation Services will discuss the advantages of mediation as an alternative to the often costly and time-consuming process of bringing a civil or criminal cases to court.

Then on Oct. 24, members of WCU’s Campus Mediation Society will stage a mediation followed by a question-and-answer session at WCU in Multipurpose Room B in A.K. Hinds University Center from 5 to 6:45 p.m. The presentation will feature student mediators who recently qualified for the 2012 National Mediation competition sponsored by the American Bar Association.

Both events are free and open to the public. They are supported by WCU’s College of Business and Campus Mediation Society, Mountain Mediation Services and the North Carolina Agricultural Mediation Program, and by a grant from the American Bar Association.

The Campus Mediation Society is a student organization advised and mentored by Jayne Zanglein, an associate professor of business law, in conjunction with WCU’s Department of Student Community Ethics. Whether the dispute is a civil case referred by a court official or a relationship disagreement between neighbors or college roommates, the mediation process and role of the mediator is the same – to be a nonjudgmental third party who facilitates a voluntary agreement between two disputing parties.

For more information, call Zanglein at 828-227-7191 or send an email to wcucampusmediation@hotmail.com.

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Congratulations to our Raffle Winner!

Winner of the 2012 Myrtle Beach Get-AWAY Raffle at MMS!

Congratulations to Bernita Jones, the Winner of our Myrtle Beach Fall Get-AWAY Raffle! - Ms. Jones lives in Swain County where she is employed at Swain County High School.  The really nice thing about her “fall get away?”  She is planning on giving it to her son and his new wife!  They will be visiting the beach in December.

Thanks to all who purchased raffle tickets.  Mountain Mediation Services raised $1,268 through ticket sales.  Proceeds support mediation services and trainings in bullying prevention, conflict resolution skills and peer mediation programming.

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MMS Picnic in Clyde-August 2012

The Haywood Advisory Committee hosted its annual picnic for MMS Volunteers on Sunday, August 26th. Volunteers and staff had a relaxing time visiting with one another, eating good food and listening to some mountain dulcimer music before dinner. Thanks to all the Haywood folks who made this beautiful afternoon a reality.

Some good conversation on a pleasant evening

Good Picnic Conversation

Mountain Mediation Services added a new tradition to the picnic by drawing the winner of the “Myrtle Beach Fall Get-AWAY” raffle at the picnic.  A teacher from Swain County won this year’s raffle.  Congratulations B. Jones! And many thanks to all the MMS’ Volunteers, Board Member and Staff for helping make this a successful fundraiser.

Winning Raffle Ticket being Drawn!

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Students Discuss Bullying Problems at Local Schools

This article is being reprinted with permission from The Mountaineer

Students Discuss Bullying Problems at Local Schools by Caroline Klapper

While bullying and being bullied are not new issues for the children of this generation, technology and social media, such as texting and Facebook, have created new opportunities for the problem to become even worse.

Today, about one in three middle and high school students are bullied, and one out of five students in the same age group have experienced “cyberbullying,” when the Internet or other technology is used to harass someone.

Being bullied, whether directly or through cyberspace, is an experience John Scroggs believes no child should have to endure. To help bring those alarming statistics down, Scroggs volunteers with Mountain Mediation Services to present an anti-bullying class to students in schools all over Haywood County.

“We’ve been told that if we can get (the anti-bullying message) to them by the sixth grade, we can made an impression,” he said.

Scroggs said he has seen bullying escalate in recent years, especially with the use of text messaging. He said it’s so much easier for children to be mean and even downright cruel to one another if they don’t have to do it in person.

“That texting is a terrible thing, but it’s here, and we’ve got to try to deal with it,” he said.

The people who work and volunteer with Mountain Mediation Services “deal with it” by presenting bullying in an upfront, honest way as they talk to students.

Recently, the group traveled to Bethel Middle School to talk with the students there. Role playing activities and discussion questions helped the students think about bullying from all angles, including talking about what they’ve experienced, how they can prevent it and even how they can avoid becoming a bully themselves.

Often students might not realize exactly what bullying is, said case coordinator Jen Trinque. For many, the class is enlightening because they learn that bullying is more than just physically harming someone. Bullying can be physical or emotional and can have devastating consequences when someone is pushed too far.

“I want the kids to understand the consequences, especially if they continue (to bully) into adulthood,” she said, adding that one of her goals is to explain the potential cost of cyberbullying.

She tries to get across to students that putting negative things about someone on the Internet or bullying through texting is not only wrong, but it is also a quick way to get into trouble.

“Once it’s on the Internet, it’s out there forever,” she warned one class.

Although some of the discussions are about how to recognize and handle bullying, Scroggs isn’t afraid to talk about tough issues, such as a recent case in which a teenager committed suicide after continually being bullied and harassed.

“Some of these cases can lead to tragedy,” he told the students.

“We’re not asking you to be best friends with each other,” added Trinque, “but you don’t have to pick on each other.”

While the classes might not eliminate bullying in schools, Betty McRae, lead trainer and a case coordinator with Mountain Mediation, said they do help.

“You can tell from the kids’ expressions that they’re getting it,” she said. “We’ve gotten feedback from the schools that it has helped.”

At Bethel Middle School, the results of the class — if not necessarily dramatic — have been positive overall.

The school’s counselor Rosemary Houston said after last year’s anti-bullying class, she saw the effects first hand when several students came to her to resolve a problem they’d been having.

“Two girls came to me separately and said, ‘I didn’t realize what I was doing was bullying, and I feel really bad about it. Can I apologize to my friend?’” she said. “I was so impressed. This is the reason we have Mountain Mediation here because it does sink in.”

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Victim Offender Mediation

Victim-Offender Mediation

What is Victim-Offender Mediation (VOM)?

Victim-Offender mediation is a type of mediation where it is determined prior to mediation that one party is clearly the victim, an innocent person against whom some wrong has been committed.  In such cases, the offender, or guilty party, has also been identified and has admitted to her wrong doing.  Unlike most mediation where some type of disagreement is generally involved, Victim-Offender Mediation (VOM) involves an opportunity for the offender to learn how his mistakes have affected the victim and work to find a solution to help correct the past.

How is VOM different from other common types of Mediation?

Mediation can include many types of conflicts: road disputes between neighbors, long-lasting disagreements between grown siblings or truancy cases at local schools. Any situation where two individuals are having a conflict they are unable to resolve on their own can generally be mediated, as long as both parties are willing to give it a try and each party feels free to speak and is willing to negotiate an agreement.

In most mediations the parties come with differing opinions about which person is at fault and how the issue should be resolved.  Generally each party feels he is justified in taking the stance he is taking.  Mediators are neutral and help the parties voice their concerns in a respectful manner, leading to an agreeable solution for all.  What makes VOM different is that it is decided ahead of the mediation process that one party is clearly the victim and the other the offender. The mediation process begins with this assumption as part of the dialogue.

Can VOM be used with youth?

Juvenile VOM is common and allows the offender to gain a better understanding of the consequences of her actions.  The process teaches problem-solving and decision making skills for situations in the future.  Many VOMs involve restitution, or a type of payment owed for damages, that the offender agrees would be fair to pay, to help compensate the victim.  In some cases this may be fairly straightforward; the youth that damaged the victim’s garden fence may end up repairing and painting it to restore it to its former state.  Solutions may be less direct, however.  In some cases, the victim and offender may decide that the damages done in the past would be better “repaired” through a learning experience or some other form of community service or volunteer project.  Perhaps the youth that was once in trouble decides instead that he would like to become a big brother at his local high school and help a younger child not make the same mistakes he has made.

How can this type of mediation help the victim?

In Restorative Justice, the field of thought and practice from which VOM originates, the emphasis is on learning from the past and moving into the future with new hope and closure.  For the victim this form of mediation can be helpful.

Victims often attend court and stand before a judge to bring charges or to be a witness to the actions of the offender.  Within the justice system there is an adversarial relationship encouraged where one party is trying to prove that the other is guilty and needs punishment.  Often, the victim does not get to actually learn or understand why the offender chose to act in the manner he did.  It is a system that keeps the two parties separated and responding to questions within the confines of the justice system.  Neither side is given ample time to thoughtfully consider and share the choices made in the incident and consider the ways those choices hurt the victim.??

This is the role of Victim-Offender Mediation.  In this setting both parties are given time to listen to one another and hear how the choices of one party affected the life of another.  Using VOM with youth, many programs work with the offender prior to mediation, helping her think through her actions and brainstorm possible consequences those actions may have had on the other party.  This process helps build awareness before the official mediation process begins, and helps make the mediation session more productive.  It helps the offender give some important questions some thought: “how did my actions affect another?”, “why did I make this choice and what other alternatives could I chose in the future?” or “what are some ideas I have that could help show the other party that I am sorry for my actions and would like to take responsibility for my actions?”

VOM: Making National Headlines!

While many local mediation centers have been offering these and other types of mediation services for years, a similar technique for restorative justice is now making national headlines!  Newsweek Magazine recently featured a story about a circle process learned from the Maori people of New Zealand, where juvenile offenders listen to the affects their actions have had on those involved and work together toward a written agreement.  This technique is being used in several cities across the United States.  Below is a link to a website where a copy of the article by Lauren Abramson in the September 19, 2011 edition of Newsweek can be found:  http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-266761809.html

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Fund Raising Update

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our fund-raising mail campaign way back when in the beginning of 2011. We raised $3875 dollars and out of that money, $1705 was eligible for the match campaign. We’re just $295 short of the maximum $2000 match amount, so we don’t have very far to go to reach that number. Our total amount earned is $5875!

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More Than Halfway To Goal

Help us meet our fundraising goal! This year Mountain Mediation Services is happy to announce we have an anonymous donor who will match up to $2000 in donations made by new donors or returning donors who contribute more than last year.  So far we’re up to $1,145, more than halfway there. Please donate anything you can to reach our goal.

Thank you so much!

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