2014 marks the year that parent/teen mediation has been helping families in crisis for 20 years.
Funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, there is no cost for the service. Contact with families occurs within 24 hours of first notice.
Any member of the community, parent or teen, can request mediation. The phone number in the Comox Valley is 250-335-2343.
They follow a standard mediation formula — to be a neutral helper, to respect confidentiality, to interview each participant in the mediation separately to discover the ins and outs of the conflict, and finally to gather together all participants to develop a resolution that will best suit everybody.
The mediators do more than just mediate.
To support resolutions over a longer time period, they have a referral knowledge to other organizations such as Comox Valley Youth as Caregivers, Parents Together, Link Youth Centre, Wachiay Friendship Centre, BladeRunners, Comox Valley Community Justice and the many other social/medical agencies in the Valley.
The issues and disputes read like anything one would see on a reality TV program — alcoholic parents, drug-addicted youth, drug-addicted parents, youth crime, family member rivalries, school absenteeism, personality conflict, single-parent families, blended families, divorced families, unemployed families, computer and video addictions, unhappy families — even sometimes happy families that need a neutral third person to help reveal a solution to a dispute.
For those involved, parent/teen mediation can provide a little sunshine on a very dark and stormy day.
For the two current mediators, Jenn Errico and Adrian Symonds, there can be no greater pleasure than to see a previously named high-risk teen now actively involved in the community in a safe and productive manner.
Is your family in dispute? Give them a call. There’s nothing to gain but a little harmony.
Editor’s note: Adrian Symonds is on contract to the Ministry of Children and Family Development.