The Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management Awarded Grant to Support Veterans Mediation
The Mandell Gisnet Center (MGC) has announced that it recently received a grant from the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) and the JAMS Foundation to support Veterans Mediation in Monterey County and the surrounding tri-County area to reach veterans across San Benito, Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties.
“Over the past 30 years, mediation programs and services have proven to offer constructive and effective approaches to resolve differences and conflicts between individuals, groups and organizations, including veterans,” explains Isabel Bjork, Executive Director and Associate Dean, Mandell Gisnet Center. “We are honored to be one of only six organizations nationally to be recognized with a grant from The JAMS Foundation and the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) to support Veterans Mediation. We believe there is a strong need in our community and look forward to helping veterans with some important challenges they face in their lives.”
The Veterans Mediation program was founded with the recognition that veterans have distinct values and experiences that shape their lives. The MGC staff works with veterans and their families to resolve conflicts about housing, family life, benefits and work through mediation in a safe environment. They also provide training by veterans for veterans and their families on communication, conflict resolution and mediation techniques. Fees are based on a sliding scale. For appointments or more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (831) 582-5234.
The program is coordinated by Jack Signorella, a veteran of the Vietnam War and a dedicated mediator and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) professional. Jack serves as the Veterans Mediation Liaison and a volunteer mediator. Jack was the recipient of a Community Service Award from the United Way of Monterey County in 2014. Following a successful career in medical education and public service, Jack has directed his time and talents to mediation, with a particular passion for veterans’ issues. Jack completed the mediation skills training course at MGC in 2012. Since then, he has been mediating in MGC’s court mediation program and NEIGHBOR Project, volunteering in over 100 cases. Jack has furthered his mediation skills with advanced mediation courses at Pepperdine Law School and Community Boards.
About The Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management
The Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management (MGC), the non-profit alternative dispute resolution education and service arm of the Monterey College of Law, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is committed to providing mediation and training services.
The Mandell Gisnet Center, housed in remodeled LEED Platinum Ford Ord buildings in Monterey County, California, was founded with the vision that conflicts can be resolved in a peaceful, amicable manner and without expensive, protracted, and damaging legal battles. In 2005, Maurice Mandell and Rebekah Gisnet left a bequest to the Monterey College of Law as a result of their personal challenges related to the legal system. Their bequest was used to form MGC. Though they lived in a beautiful area and had significant resources at their disposal, Maurice and Rebekah spent the last years of their lives involved in a bitter legal battle over a property dispute with their neighbors. They spent many years fighting in court, but neither party ever found a satisfactory resolution. At the end of their lives, as they looked back on the wasted time, energy, and money spent on that dispute, they concluded that there had to be a better way. They resolved that a large portion of their estate would be given as a bequest for the creation and promotion of mediation and training services through Monterey College of Law. MGC has fulfilled this vision by offering a variety of ADR education and services, including mediation. The mission of the MGC is to:
- Promote and apply a mediative, empathetic, problem-solving approach to reduce and resolve conflict
- Train Monterey County and tri-county residents to resolve disputes in their homes, workplaces and community
- Offer a variety mediation services to Monterey County residents regardless of their ability to pay
- Promote mediation as an alternative to hostility, court battles, and violence
- Educate law students and attorneys in mediation, and engage them in community service to resolve disputes
One popular MGC program involves their NEIGHBOR Project mediation services, a dispute resolution process in which an impartial panel of mediators facilitates a conversation in a safe and respectful environment. The mediators do not make decisions about the outcome and the participants themselves work towards a solution with which they are comfortable.