Community mediation centers influence the community culture and teach people that options exist beyond the court system. People are encouraged to work together in a search for answers that will accomplish long-term resolution and promote change whenever possible. One result of this type of dialog is the feeling of satisfaction of both parties having a voice and having that voice heard.
Community mediation is necessary and successful because it is community driven; taking on the multifaceted nuances of the community it serves. Mediation centers serve the community with mediation services, educational training, and dialog facilitation while working for social justice.
The purpose of a community mediation center is to affect change by availing to the community a new method of handling disputes peacefully, in turn fostering a sense of unity and empowerment, and a lessened dependency on the judicial system.
Those who seek assistance through community mediation centers will often have their cases mediated and resolved long before the courts would have handled the case, saving the courts and community member's time, aggravation and money. Most community mediation centers offer their services at a very low cost and quite often at no cost to the parties.
Those who serve as volunteer mediators are trained to look at the whole picture, and whenever possible, assist in preserving and building relationships, a concept that is rarely seen in the courtroom. The volunteer mediators and the disputants go back out into the community with new conflict strategies and begin a rippling effect of positive changes. Ultimately, community mediation centers are responsible for initiating a higher sense of community, greater sense of compassion and understanding.
Finally, community mediation provides a vehicle for self-determination and empowerment by stressing the belief that everyone is capable of resolving their disputes on their own, effectively and peacefully outside the judicial system through dialogue.