At Nashville Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), we empower individuals and families to resolve their issues through mediation, establishing sustainable solutions that provide relief to our clients, strengthen fragile communities, and save millions in taxpayer dollars.
NCRC was founded in August of 2000 when members of the Nashville Bar Association desired to provide mediation in General Sessions Civil Court cases for parties who could not afford legal representation. Today, NCRC’s programs focus on housing security, parenting stability, and ending the prison pipeline, serving a population that struggles disproportionately with poverty, incarceration, violence, and the chronic mental and health challenges that are produced by poverty.
Additionally, NCRC provides Tennessee Supreme Court-approved mediation training, continuing education and mentoring for volunteer mediators, and numerous conflict resolution workshops for communities and nonprofit partners.
Highlights of 2016:
We accepted 745 requests for mediation through the Davidson County Courts, Metro Police, public housing and select nonprofit partners, as well as by individual request.
We mediated 676 cases and resolved 85% of the disputes without further need of court or police intervention.
We served 2114 participants, most from structurally disadvantaged communities, providing them mediation and conflict resolution education.
Our volunteer mediators donated 1400 hours of professional service.
Our resolved cases saved Davidson County taxpayers over $2 million dollars in avoided court and legal costs.
Goals for 2017:
We intend to deepen the impact of mediation by collaborating with partner nonprofits who provide complimentary support services to our structurally disadvantaged population. We will use a grant from the JAMS/ACR Foundation to focus on families and young people in crisis.
We will begin to work with scholars at the Meharry Medical Center in order to develop and assess our programs with a critical rigor unique to academic institutions. This will give us unprecedented insights into our own strengths and challenges as we continue to serve our most vulnerable neighbors.
NCRC’s most pressing needs include the following:
· More volunteers willing to undergo training and commit to mediating twice per month during the work week;
· An increase in general support that will allow the hire of additional staff to coordinate and train volunteers and to help with development and donations;
· A capital donation in the form of property along one of the major bus corridors (eg, Charlotte, Nolensville, or Gallatin Road), where NCRC can provide mediation services at a higher volume to clients reliant on public transportation;
· Partnership with an individual or firm bringing expertise in the translation of data to compelling, graphical storytelling.
By helping one person, we can help an entire community. NCRC invests on average $125 for each child, parent, or other vulnerable resident in Nashville who just needs the opportunity to mediate: that is, to resolve an escalating crisis with dignity and accountability.
For many of our clients, this gift proves to be the opportunity of a lifetime.
It seems so simple: mediation instead of violence, instead of legal entanglement, instead of incarceration. $125 opens this door for one Nashville resident in need. Our approach fosters resiliency and accountability in our clients, who gain communication skills and a restored faith in their ability to make a valuable contribution to the lives around them. They then take this experience back into their own communities, making a positive impact that is especially powerful where severe socio-economic disparities have been the norm for too long.
We work with adults and juvenile offenders to help them de-escalate conflict, acknowledge responsibility for their actions, offer apologies, identify appropriate restitution, and create action plans. Most cases are referred to us through the: District Attorney’s Warrant Screening program; Juvenile Court; Police Department’s Youth Services Division; partnering with non-profit organizations and public housing properties.
NCRC uses a day-of-service survey to measure short-term success. Participants answer a set of questions that provide demographic data, an indication of stress levels at the outset vs at the end of mediation, and an indication of satisfaction with several elements of the mediation process.
We determine the program to be successful if:
85% of mediations end in an agreement.
80% of participants indicate in the survey that mediation helped them share their views. This indicates that the individuals felt “heard,” which is a key factor in promoting effective communication and reducing stress.
70% of participants indicate that mediation helped them better understand the other person’s point of view. This indicates a shift from oppositional positioning to empathetic communication, which improves relationships and reduces stress.
85% of participants indicate that the mediator listened to their feelings and concerns, confirming that our training in compassionate communication is effective.
90% of cases that involve juvenile offenders are successfully diverted from the court system.
success includes participant satisfaction with the mediation process,
documented by the agreement reached and the exit survey; participant
satisfaction regarding the mediator's level of fairness; participant level of
security in feeling heard by the mediator and, to varying extend, by the other
party; and the success rate in reaching an agreement so the case does not have
to be heard in court.
term success is indicated by:
1. the sustainability of the agreement reached by parents and guardians
2. the ability of parents and guardians to work out further disagreements without legal intervention, because they acquired conflict resolution skills in mediation and because they absorbed the parenting education lessons on the negative impact of conflict upon children
Success is monitored by:
1. statistics on percentages of cases resolved with an agreement reached by the parties;
2. an exit evaluation filled out by all participants, who respond to the following statements:
"I was able to share my views and concerns," "I learned more about the other person's views and concerns," "I think the other person learned about my thoughts and concerns," "I feel like the mediator listened to my feelings and concerns," "My mediation resolved some or all of the issues that brought me here," and "I would recommend or use this service again in the future."
Our cases usually involve escalating conflicts with neighbors, landlords, or tenants, including payment or possession issues. Cases are referred to us through: General Sessions Court; MDHA; and individual request.
NCRC provides conflict management workshops for Nashville nonprofits and community partners, including both staff and their population served, in order to foster healthier communities.
To measure short-term outcomes, NCRC will administer an evaluation immediately following each mediation session to gauge participants' satisfaction. Participants will be asked to select "strongly agree," "agree," "no opinion," "disagree" or "strongly disagree" in relation to each of these 6 statements: "I was able to share my views and concerns," "I learned more about the other person's views," "I think the other person learned about my views," "I feel like the mediator listened to my feelings and concerns," "My mediation resolved some or all of the issues that brought me here," and "I would recommend or use this service again in the future."
To measure long-term outcomes, NCRC will conduct a voluntary study for total of 200 participants at the beginning of mediation and 6 months following mediation, using a 14 question Acrimony Scale and a modified Client Assessment of Mediations Satisfaction scale.
As Nashville continues to make national news with its vibrant opportunities and cultural riches, the needs of our under-served population grow apace. In the current year (2017), NCRC will receive increased referrals from the Juvenile Court as a front-line strategy in reducing youth violence and the prison pipeline. We will also receive increased referrals from MDHA (public housing) in recognition of mediation’s effectiveness in de-escalating conflict, preventing eviction, and reducing subsequent homelessness.
In order to meet these projected increases, NCRC is embarking on the design of a new strategic plan. We recognize that we will have to expand our staff, find more efficient ways to manage our volunteers, and increase our funding base. We are also working closely with numerous community partners that share a common target population in order to increase our collective impact.
Dr. Sara Figal has worked with NCRC since 2011, taking on the role of Executive Director in 2015. She has an undergraduate degree from Yale University, a PhD from Harvard University (in German Literature and Culture), a list of publications and prizes, over a decade of international speaking engagements, and extensive grant writing experience. She also secretly loves working on budgets and configuring the organization's CRM to function more efficiently. Sara Figal is a Rule 31 Listed General Civil and Family mediator with special training in domestic violence. She personally has mediated over 700 cases, working with both adults and young offenders.
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Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215