Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Student Spotlight: Ebony Brown

Ebony Brown
What is your major?
I am a senior majoring in psychology with a double minor in technical writing and communication with the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. I am also an Assistant with the Office of Multicultural Programs.

Why did you pursue the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution?
I wanted to learn to handle conflict effectively. I believe when conflict can be handled effectively it can foster an environment of healing.

What is the most interesting or useful thing you've learned in the Conflict Certificate program so far?
The most interesting and useful thing I have learned is never to place blame, it just keeps the cycle of conflict going.

How do you plan to use what you've learned in the certificate in the future?
I really love the Circle for Girls Program, and I aspire to work the youth in the education system in St. Louis. I think it would be great program to implement.

What would you say to someone who is considering taking the certificate program?
This is an amazing program and it will teach you skills that can be used in any facet of life. 

For more information on the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution, offered through the Department of Communication at Missouri State University, visit http://www.missouristate.edu/cdr/Certificate_Programs.htm

Volunteer Spotlight: Lolita Albers

Lolita Albers
What programs do you volunteer with at the CDR?
I work with Victim-Offender Mediation, the Victim Impact Panel, and am starting with Family Group Conferencing.

What drove you to become involved with these programs?
When I first heard about the CDR’s victim-offender mediation training several years ago I was immediately interested. Victims and offenders sitting down face-to-face and each telling their stories and listening to the other person’s story is powerful, and I was excited to become part of the process.  Mediation is an opportunity to prevent offenders from moving into the criminal justice system, which benefits those immediately involved as well as society in general. 

What is your favorite part about volunteering with the programs?
I’m continually inspired by the willingness of victims to help offenders move beyond their offense; this is especially true with juvenile offenders. 

What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering at the CDR?
You will be involved with a program that allows you to make a real difference in people’s lives.

Volunteers Honored at Fall at Fall Reception—Outstanding Volunteers Recognized

In November the CDR hosted a volunteer reception for community members, students, faculty, and staff who volunteer with our many high-impact programs. At the reception two outstanding volunteers were recognized as “volunteers of the year” – Lisa Owen, and Denea Malone.

Denea Malone
Lisa Owen
Lisa Owen is a local mediator who has volunteered with the CDR for years in a variety of capacities, including as a victim-offender mediator, a victim-impact panel facilitator, a mediation coach, and a family group conference facilitator. Not only has she provided invaluable volunteer service, but she has mentored countless new volunteers over the years. Denea Malone is master’s student in the Department of Communication who works with the CDR as a Girls Circle Facilitator. She also coordinates the CDR’s Conflict Resolution in College (CRC) student group. Her efforts led to the CRC being recognized as an official student organization at Missouri State University.

The CDR is incredibly grateful to all of our 50+ volunteers who contribute their time, expertise, and knowledge to  make our community programs possible! For information on how you can volunteer, please email CDR@MissouriState.edu.

Student Interns Assist with Victim Impact Panels

During the spring semester several students completing internships as a part of the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution program gained hands-on experience working with youthful offenders in the CDR’s Juvenile Victim Impact Panel (VIP) program.

The VIP program utilizes storytelling, dialogue, and reflection to help youth understand and internalize the impact that crime has on individual victims, their family and friends, and their community. Student interns working with this program served as both room monitors (ensuring youth followed ground rules and stayed focused during the program) and as facilitators, explaining the details of the program and encouraging dialogue and reflection. Students witness first-hand the power of the program in helping youth internalize how their actions affect others. Tyler Scales, a student intern working with VIP, explains: “Working with VIP has been the best part of my internship with the conflict resolution center. I love to watch the transformation the kids go through from being apathetic about being in the program to not wanting to leave. Working with VIP is a great experience because you get to see results.”

For more information on the Victim Impact Program for youth, offered by the Center for Dispute Resolution, visit http://www.missouristate.edu/cdr/VIP.htm

Students Trained in “Circles for Girls” Facilitation

In early spring the CDR trained a dozen Missouri State students to facilitate “Circles for Girls.” Circles for Girls groups are provided for middle-school-aged girls in several Springfield Public Schools as part of a pilot program funded and supported by the CDR. Each 8-week circle group brings together 8-10 girls to learn and share, with each week focusing on a different topic related to the girls’ well-being, such as healthy relationships, communication and conflict, and self image.

The students taking part in the training learned to facilitate “talking circles,” and several later assisted with the facilitation of the circles taking place in the public schools. The CDR will apply for grant funding to expand this pilot program in the schools next fall, offering additional opportunities for students to gain valuable experience by learning the circle process and working with youth while providing a valuable service to at-risk children in Springfield middle schools.

Full House at CDR’s Civil and Family Mediation Training

This CDR completed its 17th offering of Civil and Family Mediation Training this past March. The training included 22 professionals (including attorneys, counselors, social workers, human resources, accountants, educators, and others) and 11 students, and 17 guest presenters and coaches took part in the event. The CDR was able to provide more than $7400 in scholarship support for participants, and funds raised by the training will be used to support the CDR’s community programs. The CDR is the leading provider of mediation training in the regions; our next Civil and Family Mediation Training will be offered in October 2013.

Take Part in FREE Volunteer Training in Family Group Conferencing Facilitation April 20-21

Make a lasting difference for children and families in our community by volunteering as a Family Group Conference (FGC) Coordinator! The CDR will provide training April 20-21 for those who wish to volunteer to facilitate family group conferences for kids with a parent in recovery.

Family group conferences bring a family together with relatives, friends, and other supportive people in their lives to develop a plan to support the parent in recovery and ensure the safety and well-being of the children involved. Family group conferencing helps develop and strengthen a family’s support network, benefiting children and their family groups, while putting the family at the center of decision-making as they create plans that fit their unique circumstances.

For more information on this training and volunteer opportunity, visit http://www.missouristate.edu/cdr/FGC_training.htm

Advancing MSU’s Public Affairs Mission: The  CDR Takes Part in Major Federal Grant

The CDR received exciting news this spring when it partnered with Alternative Opportunities Inc. (AOI) in Springfield, Missouri, in applying for and receiving a Department of Health and Human Services Regional Partnership Grant to Increase the Well-Being of and to Improve the Permanency Outcomes for Children Affected by Substance Abuse.

This grant, which was submitted by AOI and included a number of partnering agencies, will provide up to 1 million dollars per year for 5 years. In this first year the CDR will receive $32,000 to provide Family Group Conferences for children with a parent in recovery. These funds allow the CDR to provide training for grant staff, community stakeholders, and partners to get their buy-in, and recruit, train, and monitor volunteer facilitators engaged in the family group conferencing process (which will include CDR staff, community volunteers, and MSU students). This type of grant activity is one powerful example of work that fosters the MSU Public Affairs Mission and benefits students and the community.

Coaching Training Educates Participants in How to Help Others in Conflict

In January, 30 students and professionals attended Conflict Coaching Training, hosted by the CDR, with guest trainer Dr. Tricia Jones. Participants learned the Comprehensive Conflict Coaching model and how to adapt it to a variety of situations. They also explored how to integrate conflict coaching with other dispute resolution processes and how to develop strategies for evaluating the impact of conflict coaching for the individuals and organizations they serve.

Participants raved about Dr. Jones’ presentation style, as well as the content of the workshop:

· “I appreciated how specific the information was, and that if focused on specific skills. The model is applicable to so many situations and settings, which makes the training great!”
· “I needed and envisioned this to be a conflict resolution workshop. The concept of conflict coaching was new to me. I learned a great deal about strategies to attack conflict resolution, and I gained the ability to help others as well as myself!”
· “This was a great workshop. It was more than I thought it would be!”

We hope to bring Dr. Jones back to provide additional training, and we invite anyone who might be interested in attending conflict coaching in the future to join our mailing list or contact us at cdr@missouristate.edu.