For a non-profit organization, discovering community partners is always a thrill. Recently, the Community Mediation Center (CMC) stumbled upon a team of five Organizational Development graduate students from Avila University. Following the first meeting, one of the students was heard to exclaim, “This is exactly like we read about in our text!”
What began as a required project for Jenifer Wilson, Victor Mrosso, Marcel Carter, Felicia Black and Jennifer Flemons, morphed into a collaborative adventure . The students brought newly acquired theory and general process capabilities to the table and CMC brought a desire to find expression for their passion for peace and justice through organizational re-vitalization. As we began working together, my belief in the power and creativity of diverse contributions and perspectives was affirmed.
The students observed an Executive Board meeting and a four hour mid-week Board Retreat. Then they conducted individual, qualitative interviews with board members as well as with CMC staff. The team also studied many of the written historical documents of the organization.
From their research and observations, the Avila students were able to craft recommendations for strengthening the Board of Directors – the foundation for the professional conflict resolution services that CMC brings to the Kansas City area. By invitation from the blossoming MSOD (Master’s of Organizational Development) candidates, the Board of Directors has embarked on a new phase of leadership for CMC, with a clear intent to create a board pledge, review and re-affirm the by-laws and develop active committees.
When asked her thoughts about the project with CMC, Felicia Black stated, “Working with CMC has allowed me to believe in community again”. She went on to say that at CMC she found a group of professional, passionate people who are willing to put aside individuality in order to progressively work together to support the mission of peace building. These are five young people who care about contributing to the success of a not-for-profit peace building organization. Welcome to the Peace Party!
You are invited! Be open to opportunities in your relationships, families and organizations for all voices to be respectfully heard and valued.