Fresno State Mediator Mentors project seeks Pepsi Refresh votes

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Fresno State Mediator Mentors project seeks Pepsi Refresh votes

California State University, Fresno’s Mediator Mentors program, which places university students at local schools in a peer peaceful conflict resolution effort, gets international exposure throughout August as one of the Pepsi Refresh “good ideas” that needs a financial boost.

The Mediator Mentors program serves 60 elementary and middle schools in the Fresno, Clovis, Central, Sanger and Chowchilla Unified districts, offering specially trained Fresno State students as mentors to youngsters at the schools who help resolve disagreements on their campus.

There’s enough funding to support only 30 mentors each semester with stipends, said program director Dr. Pamela Lane-Garon, a professor of education in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development. So she’s taking advantage of the Pepsi Refresh program launched earlier this year.

Each month 1,000 ideas are accepted from individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations who need funding for health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods and education projects. The ideas are posted at www.refresheverything.com with supporting videos, photos and other information.

Then, Internet users are invited to vote for up to 10 ideas per day during the month to determine who will be eligible for grants of $5,000-$250,000.

Lane-Garon registered “Grow 60 university/school conflict resolution partnerships in Fresno!” in the education category, seeking a $50,000 grant (up to 10 of which are awarded each month).

“Everybody gets free training from Fresno State,” Lane-Garon said of the Mediator Mentors program. “Teachers at our client schools receive curriculum materials and their students get real cool, smart college student mentors to ‘hang’ with. The goal is learning and practicing communication and conflict resolution skills together.”

She added, “Our university students are the heart of this program, which teaches conflict resolution skills to learners of all levels through mentoring.”

Lane-Garon said the Mediator Mentors Program serves a vital community need. “We’re teaching children how they can resolve their differences without resorting to violence,” she said, “so as they go through school and become adults they’ll be in the habit of trying peaceful conflict resolution.”

For more information, contact Kristie Ross at kristieaross@mail.fresnostate.edu or Lane-Garon atpamelalg@csufresno.edu.

How to vote: Visit http://www.refresheverything.com/, click on “Browse Ideas and Vote,” look for the $50,000 category, scroll to “Grow 60 university/school conflict resolution partnerships in Fresno” and then vote.

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