Teen Mediators Participate In National Grant Competition

Teen mediators from Mid Shore Community Mediation Center are featured in a video effort to win a $50,000 grant from PepsiCo for Community Mediation Maryland. The grant would support free conflict resolution training for youth, along with development of outreach initiatives to increase awareness of mediation among teens.

The website video was produced in support of a Pepsi Refresh Project Grant contest. The ten projects receiving the most online votes in the organization’s competition level will each receive $50,000. The competition ends on June 30, with grant winners to be announced the next day.

Mid Shore Community Mediation Center serves Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties and receives training and organizational support from Community Mediation Maryland. Mid Shore Mediation’s Executive Director, Peter Taillie, described its teen mediation program as a vital part of the organization’s mission.

He emphasized that the skills teens learn through mediation about solving conflicts peacefully are with them the rest of their lives, providing an alternative to violence and confrontation.

Lorig Charkoudian, Executive Director of Community Mediation Maryland, noted that the message most youths receive about conflict is either fight or flight. “There is a lot of peer pressure to fight, and a lot of parental pressure to run from conflict,” she said. “Mediation gives them another choice.”

Ten teen mediators from Mid Shore Mediation took part in the video. They describe their experiences in helping other teens resolve conflicts through mediation. The teens promote the benefits of mediation for teens in settling disputes ranging from misunderstandings with parents to fights with other youths.

Offering peer insights on mediation’s value to youth, they note that it allows young people to feel their voices are being heard, making them more willing to open up and solve their problems.

Charkoudian encouraged everyone to view the video and vote for the teen mediation project at www.refresheverything.com/mediate. “With these funds, CMM will train more teens to serve as mediators on the mid shore and in centers throughout Maryland, creating a national model for youth violence prevention outreach,” she said.

“Your vote will make a difference to our youth and to our whole community.”

For more information on mediation, to make a contribution, or to volunteer as a mediator, call Mid Shore Community Mediation Center at 410-820-5553 or visitwww.midshoremediation.org.