NEW TEEN CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROGRAM
Commissioner Pepukayi expects that the project will have a positive impact on the Judicial Branch as well as the students since, as he says "it should foster lifetime skills that will help to prevent involvement in the juvenile and criminal justice systems."
Starting in September 2009, ten students under the age of fourteen have been participating in an innovative alternative dispute resolution program, known as the Resolve and Dissolve Conflict Resolution Program, thanks to the efforts of Commissioner Bernard Pepukayi of the Family Court, who came up with the idea and got it off the ground. Working in partnership with the H. Fletcher Brown Boys and Girls Club in Wilmington and with financial assistance from several members of the Delaware Judiciary, the program will involve the students over the course of an eleven month time period.
The students, who were selected from among volunteers participating in the Boys and Girls Club, are learning successful techniques to Resolve familiar issues in order to Dissolve unnecessary conflicts through a three phase program. The first phase is 33 weeks long and involves weekly dinner meetings/classes at which students learn conflict resolution skills to enable them to Resolve their own conflicts. Classes are taught by Commissioner Pepukayi, along with a staff member from the Boys and Girls Club. In phase two, the students will participate in a four week counselor’s training program in which the focus will be on developing their ability to Dissolve disputes between younger children attending the Boys and Girls Club during summer camp. Phase three involves the possibility of summer employment with the H. Fletcher Brown Boys and Girls Club for participants 14 years of age and older, if the funds are available to hire them, and of volunteer counselor-in-training work for those who are younger than 14.