Spring 2016
In This Issue
Events & Activities 


From Darlene's Desk  
Dear Fellow Peacemakers,

As we continue our preparations for two important upcoming events - Community Boards' awards benefit and 40th anniversary - I'd like to extend two invitations.

First, I invite you to join staff and board on June 3, for the 6th Annual San Francisco Peacemaker Awards. I'm quite pleased and proud to announce that in 2016 we've surpassed our projected sponsorship fundraising.  However, with seating capacity at the City Club nearly filled, I encourage you purchase to tickets.

My second invitation is a Call to Action motivated and inspired by Ray Shonholtz's founding of Community Boards in July, 1976.

We peacemakers are needed more than ever. Just take a look around.  Civil society is fraying. There is no shortage of conflict. From the multiple conflicts arising from San Francisco's radically shifting demographics to the larger political tensions and fears surfacing in this year's local, state and national election cycle.

Those of us who work and volunteer in the adr field feel an extra sense of responsibility to help out.  But what can we can do, individually and collaboratively? I'll being sending out my second invitation after the June benefit, so be sure to check your email in-boxes.

In peace,

#1: Mei Chang Yu, Volunteer of the Quarter    
I have a background in bioscience, pharmacology, and stem cell technology.  I came to Community Boards looking for an opportunity to complement this passion I have for advancing life and alleviating hardships.  I also wanted an opportunity that would give me the skills to communicate better with other people.  

By the time I completed my four-month internship, I was "hooked" on CB.  I took the "Basics" training and now volunteer as a Community Mediator.  I come into the office two days a week to assist with Cantonese and Mandarin case intakes and development.  I'm proud that I've helped increase the number of mediations with Chinese residents.

#2: Meet Betsy Zeger: Board Member, Educator & Conflict Coach 
After 25 exciting years of working as an agent and personal manager in the music industry, I realized that it was time for "my train to change tracks." I'd always loved practicing win-win negotiation strategy.  This eventually brought me to mediation and conflict coaching. After 12 years of working as a mediator, I still get goose bumps when two parties come into the room not being able to look one another in the eyes, and through our CB process, walk out with a shared agreement and a hand shake.

I'm a perpetual student of the Art of Communication: the multitude of ways we speak and listen to one another. I do believe conflict resolution is an art, and it's one that I love practicing and teaching. This is what led me to work with Cordell to create CB's new Conflict Coaching trainings and its new program for coaching those with conflicts.  I also love teaching at Redwood High School introducing these critical life skills to teens.

I am certified in Applied Positive Psychology from U Penn, Business Leadership from Dominican University, and as a Mindfulness Trainer from Mindfulness Without Borders.  I chair the Wellness Advisory Board for Tamalpais Union High School District in Larkspur, which I helped bring to the district.

All and all, I miss those wonderful recording sessions, but wouldn't trade them for all the meaningful moments I'm now having in my career.

#3: Yolo Conflict Resolution Center   

Our BAACM partner, Yolo Conflict Resolution Center (YCRC) is a new community nonprofit organization in Yolo County that provides restorative through its conflict resolution services. 

Organized two years ago, YCRC has already provided two 40-hrs training to community members, who became certified mediators.  We are proud of the 8 high school students who participated in the training and provided a fresh perspective and insight into conflict resolution. 

This year, YCRC is focusing on facilitating community events throughout Yolo County to engage the community in conversations about peace building and inform residents about the role of mediations in resolving conflicts.  YCRC has a great relationship with the Davis Joint Unified School District in providing a range of conflict resolution services. 

YCRC is continuously looking for new outreach opportunities and appreciates the support from many city administrations and police departments. 

Says Orit Kalman, Executive Director, "YCRC continues to make itself known to the Yolo County community. We are busy hosting community events throughout the county to let people know about our services and to inform the public about the role of mediation in resolving conflicts." 
#4: CB's Work in San Francisco Public Schools 
Since 2011, Community Boards has provided its conflict resolution services to all of San Francisco's public schools in partnership with United Educators of San Francisco (the teachers union) and SF Unified School District.

This collaboration's goal is to provide school administrators, educators, and other staff with additional resources for proactively addressing a range of issues before they escalate into conflicts that may lead to disciplinary or grievance actions.  

There are several key areas were conflict resolution can play an immensely constructive role: 1) classroom conflicts between teaching staff; 2) school building conflicts involving staff, school administration, and district administration; and 3) community stakeholder conflicts that include parents/guardians, site councils, social service agencies, and law enforcement. 
Here are just a few recently resolved conflicts :
  • A group of paraprofessionals who felt disrespected by a teacher
  • A disability leave issue between a site manager and a paraprofessional
  • A communication breakdown between a site manager and a group of teachers
  • A disagreement between a school social worker and a new teacher involving special education needs
  • A dispute around safety issues and disciplining of children between a group of teachers and the assistant principal

#5: Board of Directors, President's Update  
As we near the end of this fiscal year, we are thrilled to announce that after participating in Board Match, we now have two new Board members, Jocelyn Koo and Roosevelt Callahan. Jocelyn joins us as an associate at Bledsoe, Cathcart, Diestel, Pederson & Treppa, LLP and Roosevelt works as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for First Place For Youth.

At the same time, it is with huge appreciation for what she contributed during her term that we say farewell to Tonya Saheli of Saheli Legal Mediation.

The Board is in full swing activity preparing for our 6th Annual Peacemaker Awards ceremony and workshop with Gary Friedman. We look forward to seeing you there! 

Kamela Laird, Board President