I’m delighted to begin my message this month with some genuinely exciting news. Last week,the SCMA Education Foundation (“SCMA-EF ”) was awarded a $10,000 grant to support the development of Peer Mediation Programs in local middle schools and high schools!! The grant, generously awarded by the Judicate West Foundation, will enable SCMA-EF to continue — and expand — its invaluable work in this important area. Congratulations to SCMA-EF President Maria Simpson and the entire SCMA-EF Board for this wonderful achievement!!
For those who may not be aware, SCMA-EF is the charitable and educational arm of SCMA. Established in 2007 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, SCMA-EF complements the work of SCMA by, among other things, providing financial support to organizations that offer mediation training and mediation services to the public. SCMA-EF seeks “to build a more peaceful society by having the benefits of mediation so clearly understood by the public that it becomes the preferred conflict resolution process for disputes at work, at home, in school, and in the community.” Toward that end, SCMA-EF supports “projects that educate the public about mediation and teach mediation skills, beginning at an early age with school peer mediation programs, and continuing with high-quality community mediation services.”
The grant from the Judicate West Foundation might not have been possible but for the
generosity of SCMA members and others who have contributed to SCMA-EF throughout the past year, especially during SCMA’s recent Challenge Grant. By showing that it has the ongoing and enthusiastic support of SCMA and the rest of the mediation community, SCMA-EF was able to establish that it would be a worthy recipient of the grant. Many thanks to Darrell Forgey, President of the Judicate West Foundation, and the other members of the Judicate West Foundation Board of Directors for recognizing and supporting the exceptional work of SCMA-EF.
I hope you will continue to support SCMA-EF in the coming months. Every contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference. Donations can be made at www.scmaedfoundation.org.
In other SCMA news, the Santa Barbara Professional Development Group is planning a special program for the evening of July 27th. Although the specific details are still being worked out, including the exact time and location, the program will feature a timely discussion on marketing led by Lee Jay Berman, with the possibility of additional panel members as well. The program will be open to all SCMA members, and others, so be sure to mark the date on your calendar if you live or work in Santa Barbara, Ventura County or the San Fernando Valley, or simply wouldn’t mind taking a drive along the coast to beautiful Santa Barbara for a terrific program.
Other Professional Development Group meetings in July include: Pasadena (July 11), South Bay (July 12) and San Fernando Valley (July 20). For those who still haven’t been to a Professional Development Group meeting, many members believe it may be the single most valuable benefit of membership in SCMA!
Speaking of member benefits, Early-Bird Registration for the 2016 Annual Fall Conference is now open — earlier than ever because of the unprecedented interest in seeing and hearing Senator George Mitchell! And for those interested in presenting a workshop at the Conference, the deadline for submitting a response to the RFP has been extended to July 15th.
Finally, for those who haven’t already done so, be sure to register for SCMA’s Summer Soiree, honoring Forest Whitaker, on August 10th, from 6:00-8:00 pm, at the USC Gould School of Law! We are expecting a full-house!! With the expansion of the Expo Line to Santa Monica, it is now easier than ever to get to USC from virtually anywhere in the greater Los Angeles area. No need to worry about rush-hour traffic or parking — the Expo line stops directly across from the USC campus and is a 5 minute walk to the law school. Public transportation in L.A. has never been better nor more accessible!! For more information, visit www.metro.net/riding/maps.
Wishing everyone a happy 4th of July!!
Floyd J. Siegal, President
Southern California Mediation Association