Every organization is different, and so each Peer Program is different. We incorporate widely accepted principles in Dispute Resolution and Restorative Practices into each program, using the mix that best suits the purpose and structure of the group. For educational institutions, we typically use the curriculum developed by the National Association For Community Mediation (NAFCM), of which Empowered Pathways is a member, as a foundation. For businesses and community organizations, we instead begin with our own Community Mediation program, as overseen by the New York State Unified Court System.
There are three basic models available for Peer Programming, each of which can be modified to suit your needs:
In this model, your peer program is overseen by Empowered Pathways. Your peers practice in conjunction with our certified neutrals. This allows your cases to take advantage of our confidentiality protections, and provides certified practitioners for each case as well as peers from your organization. Typically, we would be involved in every step of the planning, development, and implementation of this program. The costs can sometimes be deferred in part by writing a partnership grant application.
The most popular approach to peer programming nationwide, in this approach our center forms a loose partnership with your organization. We are involved in the initial strategic plan, developing a framework for everything from peer recruitment and training to statistical analysis and file storage. We provide the training for your initial cohort of peers and program staff, but have no role in the day-to-day operation of the program. Periodically (for instance, every two years) we train another cohort, as well as providing a refresher for program staff.
One and Done
In the final version, your organization simply uses our expertise in training your peers in dispute resolution. The framework for your program overall, including its planning and implementation, is handled by your own organization, or by another contractor. Empowered Pathways would work to ensure that our training model meshes well with the other elements involved, making adjustments to our language, terminology, and process where needed. Future trainings would be negotiated on a case-by-case basis, as would any potential train-the-trainer services.