Thanksgiving Holiday Hours

The NVMS Office will be closed Wednesday, November 22 through 9am Monday, November 27.

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

The NVMS Team

A Restorative Approach to Accountability for Juvenile Crime

Girl and cageThe Fairfax County Alternative Accountability Program (AAP) uses Restorative Justice (RJ) conferencing to engage first-time offender youth, ages 10-17, in a facilitated process focused on accountability and repair of harm.  Here are a few of its successes since the initial AAP pilot in 2014:

  • Recidivism rate of 7% as compared with statewide average of 49% for juvenile crime;
  • Victims have a voice in the outcome;
  • “I enjoyed that there was a plan to ensure accountability for his actions…  This program is great because it allows me to have an input on what happens.” – a participant evaluation comment by a store worker addressing a shoplifting issue through AAP

  • Youth who complete AAP don’t have a court record, saving them from potential lifelong consequences of having a record and its potential impact on high school graduation, college admission, scholarships, employment, and future public service; and
  • This summer, NVMS and its partners in the Fairfax County Police, Juvenile Courts, Schools, and Neighborhood and Community Services, expanded the Fairfax County Alternative Accountability Program (AAP) Countywide and added the Police Departments of Vienna, Herndon and the City of Fairfax as partners.

With your help, NVMS is tackling youth crime and the school-to-prison pipeline in Fairfax County.  We are helping youth take responsibility for their actions and repair harm done to victims.  We are keeping eligible kids out of the criminal justice system while reducing future offenses.


Please donate now to secure and expand these valuable community services.  Visit here to learn more about AAP.

Get Involved with the new NVMS Community of Practice!

NVMS has had a long standing tradition of organizing events through which mediators could network, get to know each other, and complete recertification requirements under the Monday Night Forum program.
2018 will continue this tradition with an increased focus on bringing conflict resolution practitioners together as a Community of Practice (COP). The goals are to:
  • Provide a safe, respectful, and positive environment for members to exchange ideas and problem solve challenges they encounter in their practice.
  • Build a network of peers and experts in the field that can serve as a resource.
  • Explore and share best practices, models, tools, and theories that enhance subject matter knowledge and practical approaches.
  • Enhance your reflective practice and refine skills with challenge sessions on fundamental and advanced topics.
The program will include monthly events approved for continuing mediator education credits.

Become a leader in our community!

This is your opportunity to shape what your continuing professional development looks like.

Successful COPs depend on the active involvement of their members at all levels. As such, we are looking for individuals interested in becoming engaged with this process in the following roles:
  • COP leaders: 2-3 individuals, 5-10 hrs/month
    • Responsibilities:
      • Manage the technical and administrative aspects of the community:
        • Contacting and coordinating speakers
        • Coordinate facilitators, contributors, and members
        • Creating a quarterly calendar of events
        • Marketing the event
        • Preparing materials
        • Communicating with interested participants about event details
        • Submitting events for CME and CLE approval
        • Sending reminder and follow-up emails
        • Collaborate with the Program Manager to ensure the smooth operation of the CoP
      • Position location: 25% in the office (planning meetings), 75% remote
  • Event facilitators, 2-5 hrs/month
    • Responsibilities:
      • Facilitate events
      • Sign in participants
      • Introduce speakers
      • Run icebreakers
      • Managing Q&A
      • Assist speakers during events
      • Prepare speakers for online events by familiarizing them with the software
      • Position location: Remote, in the office during events
  • Contributors, 2-5 hrs/month
    • Responsibilities:
      • Add content in the form of:
      • Present on various topics
      • Write blog posts
      • Lead social media (LinkedIn, Facebook) discussions
To apply for any of the roles listed above, please fill out the form below.
COP Volunteer Application
Drop a file here or click to upload Choose File
Maximum upload size: 516MB

Letting Go and Moving On

Sometimes, what is really important when you are in conflict is having the grace to let go.  This is an ability that does not come naturally to everyone. Geoff Drucker shares his experience on gaining the emotional control and wisdom needed to move on below:

Flying Solo

Differences arise in every relationship.  When all goes well, we iron them out through honest, respectful dialogue; or, if we need a little help, we call in a mediator to improve communication.   

But sometimes dialogue is pointless or counterproductive, or would be impractical or impossible to arrange.  The techniques required to respond to these situations are just as important, if not more so, than the interpersonal relations skills commonly taught in classes on negotiation, mediation, or conflict resolution.   They don’t get us to “yes,” but they can heal past wounds and avoid future ones.   

Letting Go

As a teenager, I was fascinated by martial arts moves I had seen in films and on television.  At the time studios with beginner classes were few and far between on the East Coast. So upon arriving in California for college I registered for Chinese Kenpo, eager to gain new athletic skills and become proficient in self-defense.    

Day one was hugely disappointing.  The instructor led us through a simple drill in which one person threw a punch in ultra slow motion while the other stepped aside and moved away from the attacker.  My grandmother could have done this.  We repeated this drill over and over and over again.  I thought seriously about leaving in protest.  Bruce Lee never walked away from a fight like a sissy!

He also died really young.  

Enlightenment eventually arrived: The instructor did not want to teach hormone-infested adolescent brains how to punch and kick until they were hard-wired to avoid or minimize a physical confrontation whenever possible.  Kenpo emphasizes self-control and promoting your own well-being and the well-being of others.  Violence is a last resort.

This training has been enormously helpful in addressing both physical and verbal threats to which disengaging was the only sensible response.  The key is learning to shift the field of battle from external “enemies” to inner demons, such as outrage and righteous indignation, that incite bad choices.  Fortunately, like external bullies, if these inner demons don’t get their way they eventually give up.  
Moving On

Post-graduation, I began to see that there was a whole lot more to professional and personal success than the substantive knowledge conveyed in college classes.  A seminar I took to help fill in the gaps took us through a process for becoming “complete” in a relationship–unburdened by past events–even if the other person was unwilling or unable to discuss what transpired.  This training has also been life-altering.  

Current Challenges

In today’s highly polarized environment, learning how to let go and move on is as important as ever.  Differences of opinion can fuel an enriching debate.  But different sets of facts and sharply contrasting ideas about what constitutes truth can easily touch off an explosion.  Until we can speak with each other civilly, we are best off occupying parallel universes in relative peace.     

Teaching and training in conflict resolution should reflect this reality.  We should never stop believing that it is best to seek mutually agreeable solutions through open, honest communication.  But the best should not be the enemy of the better.  We must also prepare students to be as effective as possible in situations where the outcome is destined to be sub-optimal.  

There is a time to come together.  And there is a time to remain apart.  To stay safe and whole, we need to know how to do both well and how to get the timing right.  

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Geoff Drucker is our Secretary on the NVMS Board of Directors. NVMS strives to have a board which represents the community we serve in a variety of demographic and geographic ways.

Geoff Drucker is the Manager of Dispute Resolution Services for the American Health Lawyers Association. He is an adjunct professor at both George Washington University’s School of Law and George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

Geoff is a speaker, trainer, and mediator. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Michele Werner, his step-daughter, Hannah Petitti, and his son, Jackson.

Read more about Geoff  and his book, “Resolving 21st Century Disputes – Best Practices for a Fast Paced World” on his website.

How To Speak So People Will Want to Listen

Watch Julian Treasure’s full TED Talk here.

As we all know, it can be very difficult to attract or hold people’s attention at times in everyday life. In conflict settings, it can be even harder. Sometimes, it is not only what you say, but how you say it. Whether you are a mediator or you are an individual involved in a conflict, the following voice tools highlighted by Julian Treasure in his Ted Talk could help you communicate more effectively and find a resolution more quickly.


A vocal register is a range of tones in the human voice produced vibratory patterns of the vocal folds. These registers include modal voice (or normal voice), vocal fry, falsetto, and the whistle register.  While speaking in falsetto will not get you very far (except maybe in Disney World – a la Mickey Mouse), you can use lower registers as a tool to gain gravitas. According to Treasure, “We vote for politicians with lower voices… because we associate depth with power and with authority. That’s register.”


Timbre is the tone or quality of your voice; how it feels. Research shows that human beings prefer to listen to voices that are smooth and warm.  Treasure says, “Well if that’s not you, that’s not the end of the world, because you can train. Go and get a voice coach. And there are amazing things you can do with breathing, with posture, and with exercises to improve the timbre of your voice.”


In speech, prosody is the patterns of stress and intonation which people use. It is the basis for imparting meaning in conversation. To be an effective speaker, it is important that you are not monotone.  Speaking without variation is very difficult to listen to. Repetitive prosody is also to be avoided. Nowadays, a common speech blunder is to end statements as if they are questions.  This can confuse the listener and impede your ability to communicate through prosody.