Working Together for Youth

The Alternative Accountability Program County agencies have partnered with the non-profit Northern Virginia Mediation Service (NVMS) to create a cutting edge model for restorative justice: the Alternative Accountability Program (AAP). The AAP integrates the restorative justice initiatives of the county’s police department, juvenile court, public schools and community service agencies. Those working with juvenile offenders agree on the program’s positive results. One probation officer commented: “The Fairfax County Alternative Accountability Program (AAP) has allowed for low level offenders an opportunity to avoid formal court intervention without jeopardizing public safety. These juveniles are… Read More

Mediation – The Basics

What is Mediation? Mediation is a process where an impartial third-party helps disputing parties find a mutually satisfactory resolution for the issue at hand. The mediator guides the parties by helping them clarify their underlying interests and concerns. Mediators cannot impose a resolution upon the parties. If an agreement is reached, parties sign a legally binding contract that reflects the solution reached during mediation.  Generally, the process of a mediation flows as follows: (The following process is from a great resource; “How the Does Mediation Process Work?” by, Jessica Strepp.) Introductory Remarks… Read More

March is Mediation Month

March is now Mediation Month as declared by Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe. It is an annual recognition of the important work that mediators, and community dispute resolution centers like NVMS, do throughout the Commonwealth to help people and communities make effective decisions and solve problems together. This year is the 24th anniversary of the passage of the dispute resolution proceedings statute that continues to play an important role in encouraging the use of mediation in the courts of  Virginia.  The state also supports mediation by providing the mediator certification program through Dispute Resolution Services… Read More

Rediscovering the Third Side

Source: TED Talk A Discussion of “The Walk from No to Yes”, a TED Talk by William Ury In William Ury’s TED Talk, Getting to Yes, he talks about how even seemingly intractable conflicts  can be improved by utilizing the “Third Side”.  When people talk about conflicts, commonly the discussions are framed by talking about x versus y, or which two sides are in disagreement.  However, especially with the interconnectedness of humanity today, no conflict takes place in a vacuum. The third side is the friends, allies, family members, and neighbors of… Read More

Why I Give

by Yasmina Mrabet, NVMS Board President There are many nonprofits that offer important social services, but not all offer a path to a brighter future.  It is critical to provide the kinds of services that encourage positive social and cultural change.   Supporting organizations that facilitate the development of skills, knowledge and experience that help people negotiate life and its challenges, while preserving relationships, is a valuable gift for individuals and communities.  NVMS and other community dispute resolution centers provide these services year-round.   Unfortunately, our society includes systems that do not allow… Read More