Following a successful thirteenth annual Peer Mediation Invitational (PMI) on February 23 and 24, Western Justice Center (WJC) hosted 13 students who weren't able to come to PMI from Ramona Elementary School in Hawthorne on June 6.
At the Invitational, which took place at the WJC offices and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 112 elementary, middle and high school peer mediators from 23 schools were entertained by fabulous student actors from the LACHSA service-learning class that is part of WJC's programs. These actors used improvisation to warm up the audience while exploring mediation skills. Then the students were able to exercise their skills with their counterparts from other schools while professional and community mediators coached them with expert feedback to improve their practice. At the same time, the school peer mediation coordinators were able to network with one another and share information on successes and challenges.
On June 6, the students from Ramona Elementary were also engaged by actors who had been part of the LACHSA service-learning class, at one point providing constructive feedback to "bad" mediators on what they could do better. The students had a chance to practice mediation with the actors playing disputants and received coach feedback. They also had a chance to tour the Courthouse with Judge Dorothy Nelson, founder of WJC. As one student said in the post-event survey to the question of how the day could improve, "N/A It was awesome.”