Monday, February 28, 2011

Need some help getting ready to find a job? Check out this great event in Crown Heights this weekend.

Mediation and Conflict Resolution Training

On February 23rd, two CHCMC staff members led a conflict resolution and mediation training for a group of advocates and counselors from Good Shepherd Services, one of the city’s leading social services agencies for youth and families.

Sharon Ife Charles, Deputy Director of the Mediation Center and a state-certified mediator, and Lizzie DeWan, Americorps Volunteer, used activities, discussion, and role plays to train the counselors in mediation skills such as setting up a mediation, active listening, maintaining order, identifying relevant issues, and brainstorming and implementing solutions. The day was a success, with one participant reporting that it was the best training she had attended as a Good Shepherd Services’ employee.

If you are interested in bringing CHCMC to your school, church, or organization to teach mediation and conflict resolution skills, please call the Mediation Center at 718-773-6886.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2011 Leadership Training Institute Launches

We are proud to welcome the fourth cohort of the Leadership Training Institute to the Mediation Center family. These 20 excellent participants will combine their diverse talents and interests into a project for this community while growing in their skills and capacities as leaders. During our networking training last night, the group mapped out their overlapping circles of connections and communities, exciting everyone in realizing the wealth of resources LTI brings together and what an exceptional group of people they are.
Over the course of the next three months, the LTI cohort will have weekly trainings on diversity, coalition building, community organizing, conflict resolution, media strategies, event planning, non-violence, fundraising and grant writing from experts in these fields. The program will culminate in a project for the community organized and executed by LTI. Stay tuned for more news from the group as the program continues.

Free Summer Vacations for New York City Children

The Fresh Air Fund has provided free summer experiences to New York City children from low-income neighborhoods since 1877. The Fund is currently registering girls and boys, ages six to 12, for the volunteer host family program as well as eight to 15-year-old boys and eight to 12-year-old girls for The Fresh Air Fund camps. On a Fresh Air visit, a child will enjoy new experiences outside of the city, such as running barefoot through the grass, gazing at a star-filled sky, or swimming in a lake. If you are interested in the opportunity of The Fresh Air Fund for your child, the Crown Heights Mediation Center (256 Kingston Ave.) will be registering children this spring every Tuesday from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and every Thursday from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. To learn more, visit or call (800) 367-0003.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Staff Non-Violence Training

Last week the Mediation Center and S.O.S. staff participated in a two-day training from the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence located in Providence Rhode Island. The trainers are part of a program similar to S.O.S. that also utilizes street outreach workers to interrupt potential gun violence.
The Mediation Center staff was inspired and invigorated by this two-day training. S.O.S Violence Interrupter Marlon Peterson explains that he realized MLK Jr. wasn’t acting passively, but rather out of disciplined love, and that it’s “this disciplined love for our community of people [that] allows us to do what we can to Save Our Streets. If enough of us can pass this concept forward, then success as King saw it, is possible.”

The most substantive piece of the training was learning about Dr. King’s six principles of nonviolence and the six steps of nonviolent conflict resolution.
The Six Principles:
1. Nonviolence is for courageous people. It is a way of life.
2. Build the Beloved Community everywhere you go.
3. Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil.
4. Accept suffering without retaliation, for the sake of the just cause.
5. Avoid inner violence of the spirit as well as outward physical violence.
6. The universe is on the side of justice.
The Six Steps:
1. Gather information.
2. Educate others.
3. Personal Commitment.
4. Negotiation.
5. Nonviolent direct action.
6. Reconciliation.
For more detailed explanations of these ideas, go to the S.O.S. blog and check out their “readings” tab or stop by the Mediation Center to talk with us or read our books. You can also look at the "how to help" tab on the S.O.S. blog for ways you can support S.O.S. in promoting nonviolence in Crown Heights.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"We Are All Brooklyn" Fellows visit the Mediation Center

On Tuesday, January 18th, the Mediation Center hosted participants from the "We Are All Brooklyn" (WAAB) Fellowship.We Are All Brooklyn is an inter-faith community coalition that hosts young, emerging Brooklyn leaders as fellows each year. This session used Crown Heights as an example of how this neighborhood works to utilize diversity as a strength of the community.

Participants heard from a range of speakers, including Rabbi Eli Cohen, Pastor Ken Bogan, Amy Ellenbogen, Richard Green, and Devorah Halberstam. Each speaker had their own perspective to add to the discussion of diversity and relationships in Crown Heights. Rabbi Cohen spoke about the need for communities to get to know each other and work past stereotyping; in this vein, he shared some stories and facts about his community, the Hasidic Lubavitch community. Pastor Bogan from the Greater Restoration Baptist Church added to this message by highlighting the importance of cross-community relationships. Pastor Bogan is a Board Member of Project CARE, an organization comprised of Black and Jewish leaders in Crown Heights who work together to solve problems in the neighborhood that effect everyone. Richard Green spoke about the importance of supporting youth, which he does at the Crown Heights Youth Collective. Devorah Halberstam shared the story of her family’s own tragic encounter with hate and violence, and how this has inspired her to work against inter-community conflict and support young leaders. All of these speakers work together on mutual projects and support each other in their independent projects.

Crown Heights Community Leadership Luncheon

On January 10th, the Mediation Center, Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, and the Jewish Community Relations Council brought together leaders of Crown Heights at the Brooklyn Children's Museum to discuss a vision for the community in the second decade of the 21st century. The luncheon hosted old and new leaders alike who shared the successes they've had and future work to be done in Crown Heights. Coming out of this meeting will be a Crown Heights Advisory Council that will regularly meet and share ideas and resouces across communities and organizations. Contact the Mediation Center if you would like to join this Advisory Council which is working to plan an event that celebrates the community and the youth at the end of August.