Founded in 1983, the DRC is one of 19 nonprofit community dispute resolution centers operating under the supervision of the Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO). The DRC provides affordable mediation services and training to the public and serves Washtenaw and Livingston Counties through its offices in Ann Arbor. The DRC provides services to members of the community who need assistance negotiating difficult situations. The DRC is the destination for conflict resolution that delivers solutions, empowerment, and hope for a better tomorrow. That’s because the methodology used is based on proven models with trained mediators, thereby providing effective, transformative outcomes. Mediation is a confidential process designed to resolve conflicts and in some cases avoid the stress of going to court. It improves relationships by empowering disputing parties to find their own solutions through productive communication.
Peer mediation is also a confidential process to resolve conflicts. It involves school-aged youth mediating conflicts that arise among their peers. Referrals to the DRC come from schools, youth organizations, courts, governmental units, social service agencies, and the public. The DRC staff consists of four full-time and two part-time staff members and over 180 volunteers who are state-approved mediators. The board of directors oversees the operations of the Center, and an advisory board provides guidance and outreach support to create partnerships with the community.
The work of The DRC plays a significant role in improving the effectiveness of conflict resolution in our community through educating the public and our youth. Its work reduces the damaging effects of conflict within our schools and neighborhoods, thereby striving to create conflict-free communities and providing life skills for the next generation.
Over the past year, the DRC has been setting up satellite conflict resolution centers within neighborhoods, schools, and community housing facilities. Additionally, they have provided scholarships to cover the cost of the mediator training to a couple of leaders within these communities and schools. This system provides an on-site efficient and responsive method for individuals who are in conflict, meaning they can get the help they need within their community.