Rotary kfar Saba, Israel
Community service's Project
Peer mediation and training of mediators at school
Edited and written by Ran Pridor
"Every Rotary club and every Rotarian assumes a responsibility to find ways to improve the quality of life for those in their communities and to serve the public interest". (Rotary Community service Policy}
One of the most important goals of "rotary" club in Kfar Saba, Israel is educating kids and teenagers how to manage their lives in ways of peace and to prevent as much as possible disputes and violence among them.
Bearing this goal in mind, "Rotary" club kfar Saba has initiated an educational project of training peer mediators among primary schools students.
The uniqueness of this project is the emphasis on the choosing the candidates for the mediation course so that most of the students chosen will be those who need to be empowered. Those students usually tend to be more involved in quarrels and violence, and choosing them to participate in this course helps them acquire positive behavior patterns and go through a change process.
Other candidates are students who need to be socially empowered
This course will help them acquire social skills and experience being in an influencing social position.
Richard Bach said; "you teach the best way what is the most important for you to learn.
Researches show that students who are involved in mediation projects learn to deal with conflicts well. They develop empathy, non – violent communication patterns, positive self – esteem and self-confidence and prefer to solve conflicts and frustrations in a non – violent way.
There was a need of full cooperation between Rotary club, the education department of Kfar Saba and the school management.
Rotary club, which initiated this project finance the first stage, follows the progress of the project and its goals achievements.
The municipality finances the other stages, determines which schools will take part and chooses the professional mediator that will lead this course.
The school management is in charge of choosing the candidates and being in a constant contact with the professional peer mediator.
At the end of the course, the setting of the mediation process is determined – reserving a special room, creating a special form of applying mediation and appointing the mediators a weekly schedule.
This project has been working successfully in grades – 4 – 6 at "Brener" primary school in Kfar Saba for the last four years.
The mediation process was fully assimilated.
The school's teachers and students are aware of the project's importance and cooperate with the mediators.
The schools principle reported that since mediation process started there were no cases of students complaining about other students to school management.
During the first two months, there were 12 applications for mediation.
In cases of disputes, the kids prefer to turn to mediators rather than the teachers. The mediators also manage to set\determine new safe behavior rules at school. For instance, during ball games it is absolutely forbidden to throw the balls to someone's face.
The peer mediators were very enthusiastic to tell about their experiences and their satisfaction during a meeting with Rotary club representative, the school principal and the school counselor. One student said that he does not fight with his brother at home anymore.
Another peer mediator told about a quarrel between students which ended with a close friendship.
Due to the project's success and the positive responses of all the participants, the city council has decided to fund this project in other
schools in Kfar Saba.
Rotary Club in Kfar Saba highly appreciates this move. Several Rotary clubs in other cities have managed to promote this project in their cities/joined this project.
Mrs. Mali Levi, the governor of Rotary club during the years 2014 – 2015, who visited Kfar saba and heard about the project's great success, asked the club's management to create a file for the mediation project. This special file could serve the whole area.