2011 SmallBiz Success Awards

(page 3 of 8)

     Executive Director Tracey Wiltgen says the Mediation Center
     depends on 200 volunteers and four full-time employees to
     meet Hawaii’s needs for mediation and training.
     Photo: Olivier Koning

Nonprofit Award:
Mediation Center of the Pacific

Resolving Disputes Without Courts or Violence

People tend to fight more often during recessions and economic slowdowns. Company layoffs and overworked employees, combined with tighter household budgets and uncertainty about the future, can create tension among family members, colleagues and friends.

The Mediation Center of the Pacific Inc. works to resolve that tension, so people do not resort to court – or worse, violence.

The center provides low-cost, dispute-resolution services for families, schools, government offices and businesses, and is the only one of its kind in the Pacific region. The center also trains military leaders in Guam, Japan and Korea.

Mediation cases run the gamut from child custody and temporary restraining orders, to rental disputes and workplace conflicts. The center’s average success rate for mediations is about 63 percent.

Low-income and underserved populations qualify for free services, which have increased 25 percent during the past three years, when Hawaii’s economy has taken a hit.

The center says it opened more than 1,370 mediation cases and served more than 5,800 people in the fiscal year ending July 1, 2010. Staff and board members anticipate more activity in the current fiscal year, because of the slow economic recovery.

That’s a positive thing, says Ruth Tschumy, past president and board member for the center. “Each time a dispute is settled peacefully in Hawaii, communities in Hawaii become healthier – when people talk it out rather than fight it out,” she says. “It’s important because it allows our community to settle disputes without resorting to violence or severing relationships.”

In addition to mediation services, the center holds three-day training workshops for managers, who learn to spot cultural differences, deal with difficult behavior and listen effectively, among other skills.

The center relies on 200 volunteers and four full-time employees to keep up with the community’s demand for mediation services and training. Fundraisers and gift campaigns brought in $849,476 in the past fiscal year.

The center’s largest fundraiser, Under the Mediation Moon, is April 30. “We’re excited to present our wine-tasting event paired with food and jazz music,” says Tracey Wiltgen, executive director for the center. “We also recognize individuals who have taken their mediation skills and mediation to new heights in Hawaii and beyond.”

- Catherine Cruz-George

The Mediation Center of the Pacific Inc.
245 N. Kukui St., Suite 206
Honolulu, HI 96817



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