Virginia's Judicial System

Virginia's Community Mediation Centers Host Collaborative Community Solutions Workshops

Community mediation centers are currently best known as alternatives to the courts where people and community groups not only resolve their differences, but often learn new ways of interacting and addressing problems so that future differences can be resolved peacefully. A few community mediation centers have ventured beyond the realm of interpersonal disputes and have helped resolve intense public disputes involving issues such as housing, land use, and racial divisions. However, such efforts have been isolated.

The Virginia Association for Community Conflict Resolution (VACCR), consisting of nine community mediation centers, has received a $175,000 two-year grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to develop a public-private partnership with the University of Virginia to build community capacity for resolving issues of community-wide impact. This public-private partnership will have three components:

  • capacity building through mentorship and training in 9 local communities across Virginia
  • proactive public dispute resolution and outreach with local governments
  • evaluation and dissemination of results nationwide

The community workshops and educational forums aimed at local government and community group representatives conducted by Frank Dukes and Tanya Denckla, from the University of Virginia Institute for Environmental Negotiation, began in January 2003. The first two hours of the two-day workshop is open to people from throughout the community, to learn more about the range of community issues that can be addressed through "community solutions" and the broad range of processes that can be designed to meet different needs. The information provided during the morning session will help people who are involved with different community issues envision different collaborative ways that issues can be addressed, and to think of "community solutions" when issues arise. The remainder of the two days is open to individuals who are interested in helping convene and/or facilitate "community solutions" processes. Roanoke, Norfolk, and Harrisonburg workshops have already been held.

A list of the remaining six workshops are listed below. Please contact the center if interested in attending or registering.

March 10-11 Lynchburg: Peaceful Alternatives Community Center 434-929-8227
March 18-19 Fredericksburg: Rappahannock Mediation Center 540-372-7740
May 9-10 Charlottesville: The Mediation Center 434-977-2926
May 28-29 Richmond: The Dispute Resolution Center 804-343-7355
June 5-6 Fairfax: Northern Virginia Mediation Services 703-993-3656
June 10-11 Warrenton: Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center 540-347-6650

This page last modified: March 26, 2003