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Community mediation moves us beyond conflict. It reunites families, rebuilds friendships, mends neighborly fences, and generally creates spaces within which those formerly burdened with conflict can discover personal enrichment, renewed connections, understanding, and peace. These mediation programs keep our communities moving forward through emotional, relational, and all manner of seemingly impassable difficulties. They engage with great humility and skill hundreds of thousands of our worst communal and personal moments; finding within, the promise of empowered, enlightened tomorrows. Community mediation takes the worst of where we occasionally sometimes find ourselves and helps us clear a path toward where preference and progress favor.

As it supports these tailored paths, community mediation traverses its own course. Along its evolution, the field of community mediation – populated by over a thousand professional staff members and tens of thousands of skilled volunteer mediators – has found itself in variable states of growth, support, and utilization. This Report details key characteristics of the field’s current position. It is composed of the detailed recent paths of over a hundred programs and suggests, in the aggregate, a collective status at which we currently find ourselves and from which we may continue to engrain and expand our communal services.

The State of Community Mediation: 2011 Report, undertaken by the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM), contains the wisdom from colleagues throughout the U.S. Its data is derived from NAFCM’s program membership applications, as well as an extensive, well-subscribed survey of community mediation program administrators which generated over 36,000 data points supplemented by over 250 qualitative accounts of program operations and impact. Combined, this Report draws upon nearly five times the number of reported experiences than was contained in its previous and most recent 2004 iteration. Most importantly, the Report provides practitioners and supporters with a timely view of where the community mediation fields stands, what it has accomplished, and where future growth potential exists.

To most fully utilize the extensive data collected in connection with this Report, NAFCM has chosen to publish important findings both within this publication, as well as through a supplementary series of in-depth online dialogues. This dual-medium approach will serve to immediately deliver key, citable data revealing our state and assisting administrators seeking to contextualize, strategize, and garner further support for their programs’ vital services. This approach then entreats these same practitioners to engage in collaborative and substantive online discussions as we explore our shared path ahead. We invite interested parties to join us in these data-driven, future-focused explorations, which will occur on NAFCM’s list serve and website at http://Go.NAFCM.org/TheState.

We hope you find this Report and the ensuing dialogues surrounding both the state and the future of community mediation informative and full of promise. We are honored to serve the field’s dedicated professionals and volunteers by providing this Report for their use. We are also incredibly indebted to both the JAMS Foundation for its visionary support of this Report’s production, as well as the many professionals who shared so generously of their time and wisdom by contributing to its construction. These debts notwithstanding, the authors remains exclusively responsible for any inaccuracies contained herein and openly welcome feedback on any suggested clarifications or corrections. We thank you for your review of this important Report, for your continued support of this field and its vast promise, and for all you do to help your neighbors, your families, and your communities.


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