Missouri State University
The Center for Dispute Resolution
www.MissouriState.edu/CDR * CDR@MissouriState.edu * (417) 836-8831

Free Training in Facilitating Victim-Offender Dialogues – Nov. 14-15

Fri., Nov.14 (5:30-8:30 p.m.) – Sat., Nov. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

At Missouri State University in Springfield, MO


Picture1When individuals break the law they harm their victims, society, and themselves. Restorative justice is about healing and addressing wrongs that have been committed and repairing the relationships in the community.

About Victim-Offender Dialogue/Mediation

This training applies the principles of restorative justice to prepare participants to facilitate structured dialogues between selected juvenile and adult offenders and their victims.

These dialogues offer individuals impacted by crime the opportunity to explain how they have been affected by a crime and to ask the person who committed the offense questions like, “Why me?” and “Will you do this again?” Participation empowers victims, offering them closure and providing peace of mind.

Offenders also benefit from meeting the victims of their crimes. By putting a human face on their crimes these youth and adults realize that their thoughtless acts hurt others, and they often feel empathy for their victims for the first time. Additionally, these dialogues offer the opportunity for those who commit offenses to make personally meaningful restitution to their victims. Through this process they learn accountability and are reaffirmed as members of the community, thereby decreasing the likelihood that they will re-offend.

About this Training

This training covers basic restorative justice principles and will prepare participants to facilitate Victim-Offender Dialogues with juvenile and adult offenders. Potential volunteers, as well as other with an interest in this training, are encouraged to register. No prior mediation experience is necessary to become a volunteer victim-offender mediator with the Center for Dispute Resolution.

FREE Training

Space in the training is limited, so interested individuals are encouraged to register as early as possible. Completion of a background check is required for all program volunteers. Register now!

Learn more about this training

What it’s like to be a Victim-Offender Dialogue volunteer

About the Greene County Victim-Offender Dialogue programs

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CDR Director Receives AMM President’s Award

On October 17, CDR Director Dr. Charlene Berquist was awarded the Association of Missouri Mediator’s President’s Award. The award recognizes those who have made substantial contributions to the field of mediation in the state of Missouri. This honor acknowledges Dr. Berquist’s outstanding work and further raises the profile of the Center for Dispute Resolution within the state.

Learn more about the Association of Missouri Mediators at www.mediate.com/amm/index.cfm 

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Family Group Conference Facilitator Training – Sept. 27-28

Saturday, September 27th – Sunday, September 28th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Make a lasting difference for children and families in our community by taking part in this free training and potentially volunteering as a Family Group Conference (FGC) Coordinator.

Family group conferences bring a family together with their relatives, friends, and other supportive people in their lives to develop a plan to address a challenging issue or situation. In a family group conference, families are empowered to create their own plans to address problems and support the individuals taking part in the program. Facilitators (working in pairs) are responsible for preparing family members for the family group conference and guiding the family meeting in a transparent, honest, and respectful way.

The Family Group Conference format is applicable in a wide range of school and social service settings. The CDR has several programs that provide family group conferences, including a program that conducts family group conferences for families with a parent who is in recovery for substance abuse, and a program that offers family group conferences for youth who are referred by the Juvenile Office, their school, or their family.

Learn more about what it is like to volunteer as a family group conference facilitator, or REGISTER NOW for this free training!

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Circles for Girls Facilitator Training Coming Up

On SatGC shirt designurday, September 6th, we will host a free training for women who wish to learn more about and/or volunteer to co-facilitate Circles for Girls with the Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR). The training will take place from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the CDR offices in downtown Springfield.

Circles for Girls is an 8-10 week structured educational group for girls and young women. It brings together a group of 4-10 girls with trained facilitators to explore topics relating to social, emotional, and physical well-being. The CDR conducts groups in area middle schools during the school day and in the evening for youth referred by the Greene County Juvenile Office and from other sources. The program is designed focus on the development of effective conflict management and communication skills and to help girls realize their strengths, withstand social pressures, and maintain healthy relationships.

Many circle facilitators take part in this program as a part of their internship experience for the Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate programs in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. However, other young women work with the program as volunteers. If you are interested in learning more or participating in the training, please email CDR@missouristate.edu or register online today!

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Thesis Research Demonstrates Effectiveness of Girls Circle Program

Denea Malone, an experienced Girls Circle Program facilitator with us at the Center for Dispute Resolution, dedicated her thesis research to exploring the perceived long-term influences of the Girls Circle Program. She made use of focus groups and interviews to reveal the experiences of Girls Circle Program participants (girls who had participated in the Girls Circle Program 6 months ago or longer), their guardians, and school counselors. Participant experiences implied the Girls Circle Program has a long-term influence on the lives of girls in areas of conflict resolution, communication, and relationships:

  • Girls seem to be more open and civil with their mothers creating an overall stronger bond
  • Girls are handling disagreements in a safe and productive manner
  • Rather than resorting to physical violence, girls seem to communicate to resolve issues
  • Girls seem to have improved motivation and self-worth
  • Quality and selection of friends by girls were viewed as improved
  • Girls felt that they were a better friend to others

The most impactful circle activities attributed to the mentioned long-term changes included discussion and journaling. Girls experienced safety, respect, and trust while seeking advice from other girls during discussion. Journaling seem to have prompted positive long-term changes by providing a private girl-facilitator conversation while also allowing for girls to further process their thoughts through writing.
Denea’s public thesis presentation and defense was held at the Center for Dispute Resolution on the 10th of this month. Her thesis findings prompted a great discussion among Missouri State University faculty and community members who attended as to how the Girls Circle Program could further evolve. Denea’s research coupled with the attendee discussion will help shape future organization of the Girls Circle Program here at the Center for Dispute Resolution. Concerning upcoming endeavors, her research will be presented at the Association for Conflict Resolution Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio in October and she also plans to submit her work to academic journals for publication.

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COM Student and CDR Graduate Assistant Presents Research at Conference in Argentina

Becky Saunders, a COM master’s student, conflict certificate student, and Graduate Assistant at the CDR, will will be presenting her research looking at facilitator perspectives in Family Group Conferencing (FGC) at the “Beyond the Frontiers: Experiencing Diversity” conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this July. She will be joining MSU’s Counseling Department to further explore the Person-Centered Approach (PCA) in Counseling at the conference.

Ms. Saunders’ presentation will also examine the similarities in FGC principles and the core ideas of PCA, and will discuss ways she will further develop her research as part of her master thesis in Communication.

Funding to support Ms. Saunders conference presentation has been provided by the Education Department, the Communication Department, and the College of Arts and Letter’s Student Success Initiative at Missouri State University.

Best wishes for an awesome presentation Becky! Watch the blog for updates and pictures about her experience.

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Thesis presentation on long term influences of Girls Circle process – July 10th at 10:30 a.m. at the CDR

CDR volunteer and Communication master’s student Denea Malone will provide a thesis presentation and defense on Thursday, July 10th, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Center for Dispute Resolution’s offices in Missouri State University’s Park Central Office Building room 209.

Denea has been a Girls Circle facilitator in the CDR’s programs for several years, and her thesis research for her Master’s in Communication focuses on the long-term impacts of the CDR’s Girls Circle program, with a particular emphasis on girls’ perceptions of how the program impacted their conflict resolution, communication, and social relationship skills.

The title of the session is “Everyone is their own kind of beautiful: The long term influences of the Girls Circle process.”

We hope you can join us for refreshments and to learn more about Denea’s research findings related to Girls Circle!

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CDR Leadership Attend Family Group Decision Making Conference in Vail, CO

Heather Blades left) and Char Berquist right) enjoy the scenery at the FGDM conference.

In June CDR Director Dr. Char Berquist and Associate Director Heather Blades spent an amazing week at the 7th National Conference on Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) in Vail, Colorado.

The conference brought together experts and practitioners from around the world to present, compare, and explore the latest research, practice, and evaluation efforts in providing FGDM for families.

The CDR coordinates volunteers to provide FGDM services to the families of youth involved in the juvenile justice system and for families involved with the child welfare system. The information gathered and connections made at the conference will serve to further enhance these services and ensure that the CDR and its volunteers are engaging families in a genuine partnership to ensure the best outcomes for youth.

For more information on these programs, or to learn how you can become a volunteer, email the CDR or call 417-836-8831.

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CDR to present at Hidden Impact Conference on June 18 in Springfield

On June 18th Dr. Charlene Berquist and Heather Blades of the Center for Dispute Resolution will present “Family Group Conferencing” at the Hidden Impact Conference in Springfield, MO.

The Hidden Impact Conference focuses on the impact of addiction on the family system and features sessions on a variety of topics. The CDR’s session will provide an introduction to the Family Group Conferencing process and family communication dynamics, discuss the Center for Dispute Resolution’s programs that utilize this process, and explore the many applications of this powerful, family-centered approach.

For more information on the Hidden Impact Conference, or to register visit http://www.commpartnership.org/events/the-hidden-impact-conference/

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Student Spotlight – Abdul Alsulami

AbdulAbdul is a recent graduate of the Master’s program in Communication with the Graduate Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution.

Why did you decide to take the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution?

This program is related to multidisciplinary fields containing the practical and theoretical foundations of mediation involving research, education, and skills that based on training. This program helped us to analyze the roots of conflicts and to understand how to prevent future conflict from arising.

What did you do for your internship experience in the certificate? What was this experience like for you?

I participated in the Civil and Family Mediation Training. The internship was based on an in-depth understanding of the communication foundation underlying the processes of mediation and negotiation in conflict situations. During the training and the mediation sessions, a variety of topics were covered, which included negotiation theory, the causes and dynamic of conflict, interests versus positions, mediation strategies, and others. The simulations developed the mediation skills through role-plays, interactive exercises and evaluations of my skills from coaches within a variety of types of civil mediation.

 How do you plan to use what you have learned in the certificate program in the future?

I am planning to use what I have learned in the court system and in schools as a trainer. Also, I am thinking about working in a community center as a mediator.

What would you say to someone who is considering taking the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution?

I strongly recommend taking the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. You will learn many skills through this program, such as cooperative tactics to responding to conflict, effective intervention as a neutral third party in a conflict, and establishing a safe environment for dialogue.

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