Matt Daniels, guest blogger, is a volunteer with NCRC and splits his time between doing leadership development work and overseeing construction at the Nashville Zoo.

August, 29, 2017

It was Monday, and my 17-year old texted to ask if she could go to the mall after practice instead of coming straight home.  I was about three rounds into my standard sms parent-teen negotiation, telling her we hadn’t seen her much lately, when my phone rang.  It was her.  She was actually calling me from school.  Either really bad, or really good.  This time, for her at least, it was really bad.

“Dad, there’s kind of a situation going down, and we need a mediator!” I asked a little more, and it turned out that there was an altercation between one of her team mates and a young adult who was helping them.  I tried to listen well and not do the classic act of “dad-invalidates-teen.” This time, for the most part, I was able to show up.
I wasn’t neutral, but I knew I could at least try to act neutrally for the moment, and just take it all in and form a picture of what was going on.
“Well, so-and-so did such-and-such and was falsely accused of…”  And so went the tale.  I promise I really did listen, but the details are just that. Details.
I told her, “Hey sweets, you know I am connected as a volunteer with Nashville Conflict Resolution Center.  We can call them up right now, and they will come.  Would you guys like that?”  A few minutes had already gone by as she vented.  She had been listened to, and the situation was improving itself in real time.  She was in a different frame of mind, was pretty sure they could work it out, and just wanted a little time to get a coke and debrief with friends at the mall.  Another adult was able to step in and get people talking to each other.  But none of that really mattered.  What stuck with me the most was one sentence:
“Dad, we need a mediator.”
Seventeen years old.  In high school.  And mediation is a go-to for her.  Mediation as a construct did not even exist in my mind until after forty.  But at seventeen, my daughter has been raised in a world where problems get solved, and relationships re-orient toward truth and understanding, because of mediation.  Knowing mediation is there, that it is useful, and that it is accessible, makes her world a much safer place.
Can you imagine what our city might be like if we all walked around with that same awareness?

NCRC’s Year In Middle Tennessee

Check out NCRC’s impact on Tennessee (and a bit into Kentucky) in the year spanning June 1, 2016-June 1, 2017. This is a map of our participants by their residential zip code, laid over a map of TN counties. We had quite a year, and we are very proud to serve so many deserving Tennessee residents who benefitted from our restorative mediation practice.






June 15, 2017

This 2017 summer, two interns have joined the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center team to add some extra hands and help out. They come to us through the Mayor’s Opportunity NOW initiative, and their salaries are generously provided by the engaged and visionary HCA Foundation. Yitu and Tiobista, one a rising senior and the other a rising junior at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School, will be at the office Mondays through Thursdays–unless they are out in the field with Brandon. We are glad to have their energy and dedication for the next six weeks, and we hope you will come in and get to know them!


My name is Yitu A. Ikapitte, I am 17 years old and i am a rising senior at MLK High. I came to temp at the NCRC because I was interested in the voluntary work of helping people who are having serious issues in their lives and to learn proper procedures to calm down and mediate serious situation. This summer I will spend my time to help out this important organization in any way possible as well as gain experience working with real mediators. I am proud to be part of this extraordinary team and look forward to the projects I will be taking part in this summer.

My name is Tiobista and I am 16 years old. I go to MLK High School and I am about to be a Junior. I am Ethiopian American, first generation born here in the states. There are many things I enjoy to do but mostly I like to help people, which is why I really like this organization, and am so glad to be spending my summer here. I really think I will gain a lot this summer so I am very excited to see where this internship will take me and what I will learn from it.


May 23, 2017

Earlier this month, NCRC joined with Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee to screen the documentary film, Resilience: The Biology Of Stress & The Science Of Hope. Several staff members had seen the film already, and we agreed that sharing it with all of our mediators would be of tremendous value to them and, by extension, to the people we serve. We put quite a lot of time and thought into our ongoing education for mediators, and one area of focus is sharing best practices for supporting mediation clients with trauma history. This film, we felt, would be perfect. But where could we hold a screening?

Enter the Joy in Learning committee of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Recognizing that Resilience would also be of great interest to the many parishioners who engage in outreach and mission work through the church, the church generously offered the use of their beautiful new gathering space for the screening. This venue was ideal, and it allowed us to gather a large and diverse audience. After the screening (lasting about an hour), the audience engaged a lively discussion of how best to use the lessons of the film. Reluctantly, the group broke up after another hour, as people finished the last delicious brownies (made by congregants) and returned to their afternoon obligations.

If you have not yet seen this film, we urge you to do so. For information on screening options, contact Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee.


March 22, 2017

The amazing group of students from WNE Law School on Alternative Spring Break, serving NCRC and exploring Nashville.

If you want to know what discipline, talent, teamwork, creativity, energy, and sparkling good humor look like in action, you need to meet these law students from Western New England University School of Law. Twenty talented students spent their Alternative Spring Break with us, producing a prodigious amount of much-needed research with aplomb. And laughter.

The law firm Nelson Mullins generously stepped in to support the group by providing a large conference room for the week where they could work. The students very much appreciated the opportunity to spend time at Nelson Mullins’s gorgeous downtown space, absorbing the professional culture of that environment. The other half of their time was spent at the NCRC office — far less glamorous than Nelson Mullins, but we did bring in lunch and keep them fueled with good french-press coffee.

The NCRC office feels oddly empty, now that they have returned to Massachusetts. We hope they decide to come back next year. And maybe, if we are lucky, a few will decide to launch their careers here in Nashville!