Summary of Russian Jack Rotary Grant Application---Meditation, Dispute and Conflict Resolution Training through Anchorage Youth Court
Rotary Objectives. The proposed grant for this training is consistent with Rotary goals:
One of District 5010's theme for this year includes conflict resolution and mediation. Also, Rotary International has on-going programs in this area and a worldwide partnership with the international "Mediators Beyond Borders" organization. The program is a training program for High School youth and future leaders, in both professional skills and life skills which will serve them well throughout their lives.
Proposal. This grant proposal is for a total fund of $5,000 to provide training in Alternative Dispute Resolution and Peer Mediation Skills. The training will be provided through the Anchorage Youth Court organization (AYC). AYC is a professional quality training program for Junior High and High School Students. The students are trained in legal and court procedures, professionalism, ethics, confidentiality, public and courtroom speaking presentation, and criminal law. The program involves the students handling actual criminal prosecutions and defense, and sitting as peer judges, in plea bargains and sentencing for cases, usually first-time offenders, referred by the State Juvenile Justice system. The program has been highly successful for over 30 years, both in success and low recidivism as a peer justice system for the offenders, and in training and giving experience in professionalism and real-world skills for the participants. Further information on the overall Youth Court program can be found at its website, at: https://www.anchorageyouthcourt.org
During the Covid pandemic, the regular State of Alaska Courtrooms, were closed and AYC's in person hearings curtailed. To keep the members engaged and advancing their skills, AYC in 2021 obtained a grant to begin training in the related professional skill of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Peer Mediation skills. This was a pilot program with the goals of providing additional professional and life skills training to Youth court participants, and to provide these services, primarily through the school district. The initial training was by professional mediation trainers and was very successful. AYC has prepared a social media video describing the program and its goals in more detail at: https://vimeo.com/656833238
This grant seeks funding to continue the program for the next school year and group of students, with training in the summer and fall of 2022. AYC already has the written course materials, and much of the training will be provided by volunteer professional mediators and mentoring by students already trained in the program, so costs will be less than the original professional level of training. The training covers many topics and skills including problem solving, confidentiality, professionalism and objectivity, listening skills, and dealing with difficult people or situations. The training will involve written course materials, classroom training, and practice with mock dispute resolution scenarios and situations.
Russian Jack Rotary members will be involved in the training of the youth participants, we expect to have a presentation at a club meeting on program and training, we have two members who are school administrators with the Anchorage School District who can advise and assist in implementation of peer mediation, and our club has been a past donor and supporter of the Anchorage Youth Court program.
AYC is an appropriate organization for providing this training. The skills involved are closely related to skills required in the legal and many other professions. The training will be on skills which the AYC participants are already trained in and practice in the courtroom as prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges. This is a highly motivated group of student participants.