SAVANNAH, Ga. (Apr. 18, 2023) – The Mediation Center of the Coastal Empire, Inc. is delighted to host their annual Youth Programs Recognition & Awards Celebration on Wednesday, April 19th from 6 to 8 pm at Woodville Tompkins High School. This event serves to recognize student peer mediators and youth court volunteers who make a tremendous impact both in the community and in school as role models helping peers navigate conflict, facilitate differences peacefully, and develop conversation skills. Charlton Bradford “Brad” Jefferson, Restorative Youth Court Volunteer and Vice President of administration for The 100 Black Men of Savannah is the keynote speaker.
All recognized students in attendance will receive a “Youth Peacemakers” medallion and other awardees will be honored for their exemplary successes in the program.
The Mediation Center’s Peer Mediation Program is a peer-led confidential process for resolving conflicts. Students have the opportunity to talk through difficult situations with the help of trained student mediators. Peer Mediators do not take sides and keep all information confidential. This process nurtures empathy and empowers students to develop their own solutions. The Peer Mediation Program has trained over 2500 students since its inception. These students receive twelve hours of intense training which prepares them to mediate conflict among their classmates. Sixty-two percent of incidents occur in the classroom, taking away valuable instruction time. School Coordinators support Peer Mediators through the process resulting in over 90% of students reaching an agreement and 95% of the agreements remaining effective one-month post mediation.
Over 75 students trained to volunteer in Restorative Youth Court during the 2022-2023 school year. Restorative Youth Court is a youth-led diversionary program for students who have repeatedly broken school code of conduct rules. Instead of receiving the traditional discipline of the schools, the youth will appear at a disposition hearing administered by trained youth volunteers. These trained volunteers will collaboratively decide the disposition of the student respondent in the form of community service hours, written apologies, and/or an essay. The benefits of the program include reduced recidivism, youth leadership, rapid response, positive peer pressure, and cost-effectiveness. Youth respond better to this positive peer pressure than to sanctions from adults. We have seen how youth court reduces recidivism, involves more youth in addressing the issues facing our community, and allows us to develop future leaders
“We are proud to recognize the students that have said yes and committed to making their school a peaceful place to learn. These students commit to two-full days of intensive training in effective communication, problem-solving, and conflict-resolution skills and it is vital we celebrate their success and award their efforts.” Mediation Center Restorative Youth Practices & Community Outreach Director, Sherlisa Praylo.