Editor's Note: The daily Press will publish a series of local opinion pieces this week in observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week. This article features the UPCAP Resolution Services Program.
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ESCANABA - The Crime Victims' Rights Week Committee is pleased to announce 2012's activities for Crime Victim Rights Awareness Week. This year the theme Extending the Vision, reaching every victim.
UPCAP Resolution Services Program provides mediation services to 10 of the 15 counties in the U.P.
The UPCAP, Resolution Services Program provides free confidential community dispute resolution services to Delta, Schoolcraft, Menominee, Dickinson, Iron, Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton Keweenaw and Baraga counties. Areas of special interest and commitment include youth violence prevention and asset development. Our program works collaboratively with school and youth serving agencies on one-time events, after school programs, or other projects targeting youth and families. Our Peace Scholars Program trains students K-6 by developing leadership skills, problem solving and conflict resolution among peers in Delta County. Mediation training increases youth's interest in conflict resolution, justice and the American legal System while encouraging a higher level of citizenship activity. Recognizing that youth are competent to participate in management of their own disputes encourages growth and allows development of effective leadership skills.
In school surveys, students indicate that teasing, name calling, taunting and bullying are major concerns. Through Peacemaking Education, children will develop interest in conflict resolution, justice and cultural diversity. The specific audience for Peacemaking Skills for Little Kids is Kindergarten through second grade. Through lessons with the puppet, I-Care Cat, music and games, students learn the rules for important life skills like listening, cooperation and sharing. Peace Scholars: Learn Through Literature, is for third and forth grade students.
It combines outstanding literature with activities to teach students valuable critical thinking skills while enhancing their conflict resolution competency. The initial lessons are Native American and the story,
Knots on a Counting Rope, sets the tone for the next lessons. Students are divided into villages and each lesson afterward has students in cooperative learning groups. This series is used at the third and forth grade. In grade five schools have the option of using Peer Mediation Training and/or the Harassment Hurts series about taunting, teasing and bullying.
The main goal of this project is to reduce incidents of name calling, hitting, fighting, etc. and measure the number of incidents that teachers and principals spend time dealing with. These are be measured by pre and post tests of the upper elementary grades and by teacher reporting at early elementary grades. These are ongoing goals of the UPCAP Resolution Services Program.
Volunteer mediators and retired school personnel have a major role in carrying out the project. Area schools will also be partners as the teachers and administration must allow volunteers the class time and classroom so they will be adjusting their schedules.