MIDDLETOWN—Assemblyman James Skoufis (D-Woodbury) announced on Dec. 16 that he has secured a state grant of $4,000 to support the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC). The grant will be used to purchase essential equipment and furniture for the training room at the DRC’s new facility in Middletown.
“As the Dispute Resolution Center moves into its new space, this grant will help ensure it has all the equipment it needs to continue assisting local families,” said Assemblyman Skoufis.
The grant will help the DRC to acquire much-needed technology to organize training, provide remote mediation sessions to resolve long-distance conflict, and bring community members together for webinars.
The DRC in Middletown services Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, and Ulster counties in its mission to “promote the peaceful resolution of conflict, one conversation at a time,” said Susan Hamilton, communications & outreach director.
Executive Director Donna Ramlow said Assemblyman Skoufis “has always been a champion of the DRC’s work and this funding will ensure we are able to do even more in our community.”
The DRC offers a number of programs and services around alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, to help resolve civil and family disputes before they reach the court system. These programs are often less stressful, less costly and faster than traditional court proceedings and can be done without a lawyer.
The DRC in Orange County is one of several such community centers across the state administered by the New York State Unified Court System’s Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
A nonprofit that is supported through the New York judiciary, DRC does mediation and arbitration. Hamilton said they are now doing a pilot program teaching mediation and conflict resolution skills to members of the Orange County Legislature which, if successful, will be expanded statewide.
“We are out in the community. We are in the courts. We mediate with individuals, with groups, with families. We do any type of case that would go to a civil court that can be mediated,” Hamilton said. She said volunteer mediators are the bedrock of the community mediation part of the program.
“Anything that is a disagreement can be mediated. Mediation is really win-win. It’s all about finding a solution, identifying various solutions. Often there is more than one. It’s just a matter of finding which solution will be considered fair and mutually acceptable by each party,” Hamilton.
Dispute resolution that the DRC engages in represents what people everywhere hope for during this holiday season: peace on earth.
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