East Hawaii News

Peer Mediation Possible Through Cooke Grant

February 5, 2015, 3:26 PM HST
* Updated February 5, 3:27 PM
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A $5,000 grant from the Cooke Foundation has allowed the non-profit Ku’ikahi Mediation Center to launch a school peer mediation program for students in East Hawai’i.

At Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, over 40 fourth and fifth graders were trained on how to mediate disputes among students during the 2014-2015 school year.

“Ku’ikahi is thrilled to partner with LCPCS for our East Hawai’i Peer Mediation Elementary School Pilot Project,” Ku’ikahi Executive Director Julie Mitchell said. “The school director, Alapaki Nahale-a, and the school counselor, Karen Lee Holderman, are both trained mediators who fully support the program.”

The Hawai’i Department of Education Safe Schools Community Advisory Committee in 2010 established several recommendations to address conflict in the schools, including a school community culture that both creates and encourages a safe and respectful environment.

Students are taught to learn to work effectively with their schoolmates in order to facilitate outcomes that are positive. Mediation can be requested by students in conflict, staff, or other students. The mediators works in pairs and helps disputants reach and document agreements that are safe, fair, and doable.

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Peer mediation is a process that has proven effective in schools in Hawai’i and throughout the United States. The process teaches students to understand and resolve conflict in their lives. Effects of these changes can be seen in self-esteem, listening and critical thinking skills, climate for learning, and a reduction in disciplinary actions and fewer fights.

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“We are grateful to be partnering with West Hawai’i Mediation Center to extend their successful Working it Out! School peer mediation program into East Hawai’i,” Mitchell stated. “By utilizing WHMC’s skills and expertise, Kiu’ikahi will build on WHMC’s proven 10-year track record in delivering conflict resolution training to schools in North and West Hawai’i.”

For additional information on the Ku’ikahi Mediation Center call 935-7844 or visit the center’s website.

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