CJ Careers: Community Relations Specialist

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    • 00:04

      TERRY STOKES: My name is Terry Stokes,and I am a community relations specialistwith the city of Charlotte community relations department.I am a certified mediator with the community relations,and it is a part of our city manager's officethat we serve the community.[Career Story]

    • 00:26

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: While pursuing my bachelor's degree in criminal justice,I attend Charlotte University in Raleigh, Northern Carolina.A professor by the name of Professor John Stewartactually chose me out of a class to mentor of mineand to become a mediator.I never, ever knew about mediation

    • 00:49

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: until he actually became my mentor.And he saw that had the skills to become a mediator, because Ihad the listening skills and I asked a lot of questionsand I also had a passion for the work that I was doing.Now what he did for me was bought me to his house, him

    • 01:10

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: and his wife, and he allowed me to stay with him for a weekto attend a basic mediation class.During my stay at Professor John Stewart's house,I attended a 40 hour training in a basic mediation.And from that training, I actually startedlearning the basics of mediation and became

    • 01:31

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: very interested into becoming a mediator.So after the training, he contacted a personat community relations in Charlottethat after the basic mediation training,I had to attend a program to become a co-mediator

    • 01:51

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: and just go and observe.So once I completed that training in Charlotte,I then became more interested and more excited about becominga mediator.And so I started volunteering with the community relationsdepartment for approximately 10 years.So I wanted to get the training, the experience,

    • 02:12

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: and to specify in what area I wanted to become a mediator in.[Daily Operations]As a community relations specialist,we actually-- for the city of Charlotte,promote harmony and peace within the community.What we do is actually go out into training.

    • 02:34

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: I am a part of a team that training peer mediation.We go into the schools.We also work with the courts.I specialize in victim offender mediation,and I also teach anger management,and I am a manager over the truancy mediation program.So therefore, I'm working into all juvenile programs.

    • 02:58

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: That's what I specialize in.And I received all of this trainingthrough in that 10 year of volunteering.So that's where I particularly found my niche.And so therefore going out to the schoolsand promoting harmony and peace has been most effectivefor the juveniles.

    • 03:18

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: That's my particular interest.We also go out to the communities.We help with neighborhood disputers.We have a private warrant court mediation.So we go into the courts once every Monday.And it's called a private citizens court.And we provide mediation to the citizens

    • 03:39

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: that want to go through mediation insteadof going through the court system or talk to the judge.So mediation and alternative solutionshas been a most affective programfor community relations.[Advice for Students]

    • 03:59

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: Well, as far as the intro to criminal justice,the basic criminal justice courses are very helpful.But as far as in mediation, mediationis a concept to where you do not apply the law.You just utilize your skills.So being a good mediator, you have to be very non-biased.

    • 04:23

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: You have no opinion, but allow the skills to work.And those skills come with being pretty much a negotiator.But a good listener is one of the strong key elementsof being a great mediator.And actually, you have no recourse.

    • 04:45

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: It's not your battle.And just to see how the two parties come togetherand resolve their own disputes-- that is the most powerful toolthat you can use.So the skills, I would say, is just to have passion.Have a very open mind, and to listen.

    • 05:06

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: And then as you utilize your negotiation skillsor you know what questions to ask,you will know the moment when youneed to stop asking questions.And in order to get the parties to come up with an agreement,you must be able to write a great mediation

    • 05:28

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: with a resolution.You come up with-- let the parties tell you,in their own words, how they want to resolve their dispute.And all you need to do is write it up, have them sign it,and let them go.The tips that I would suggest is that you are alwaystrying to go and volunteer.

    • 05:51

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: Seek for internships within-- start with a community center,as I did.We're are always open to help people come in-- especiallystudents-- to come in and follow usso that we can pretty much mentor themand show them the different types of mediation.

    • 06:11

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: Although you don't get paid, but youwill get the experience on it.And also, I would suggest that as long as you have passionfor peace and for people and not to judge people--because as a mediator, you don't know what it takes for someoneto become whole again.Because obviously, something has occurred.

    • 06:34

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: We wasn't there.We can't judge.But we can utilize our skills to make itin a peaceful environment for someone to feel safeand that they are willing to go ahead and discuss how it madethem feel, and then to have it written down,and it will empower them.So as a student, you must be able to have compassion

    • 06:57

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: to listen, as I say again, not judging,but you know, as a criminal justice student,there are certain areas that someone has broken the law.But we are not the law.So it's really hard to try to pull back and notapply the law.But once you get your skills, then you'll

    • 07:19

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: know when and when not to be judgmental or to apply the law.Also, as a student, in my particular case,the professor sought me out.But if you're really interested in alternative resolutionsand mediation, it would behoove youto go to one of your professors and letthem know your interest.

    • 07:40

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: And once a professor-- because theyknow the different types of mediation,and who's in the area, who's in the field.So you may need to go and address it with your professorand show them your interest.[Diversity]Diversity is very important in our role,

    • 08:02

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: because, as I stated before, as a community relationsspecialist, we serve the community.The community is diverse.So therefore we must know how to communicate effectivelywithin the community.The cases that I have or the cases that are referred to me

    • 08:23

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: normally are just pretty basic cases between male and female.My cases are being increased by LGBT clients,and in order for mediation to work effectively-- as I said,you cannot judge-- but by utilizing some of the skills

    • 08:50

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: that we have as a community relations specialist.I've seen a turnover and those type of casesto where they're beginning to trust the mediation program,because there isn't any judgment,and the parties are treated just like any other party.

    • 09:13

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: And the cases are being resolve.So as far as gender and race, it doesn't matter.It's a conflict.So in order to get the conflict resolved,the parties must communicate about how it affected themand what's going to happen in the future.

    • 09:34

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: So as far as diversity, yes.Diversity plays a big part in what wedo because that's who we serve.We serve everyone.So therefore, diversity-- and we're talking about not onlywith gender, we are actually-- we received

    • 09:54

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: training in different cultures.So in order to be effective, you mustknow how to communicate with somebody regardlessof who they are.[Future Directions]In the field of mediation, I see in the futurethat mediation is going to be the going trend in careers,

    • 10:20

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: because we have a lot of attorneys,we have police officers, we have judges.For instance, in our private warrant court,obviously the courts are running over with so many lawsuits.So therefore, our private warrant mediation, that

    • 10:40

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: has been the going training to eliminatea lot of these cases being heard by the courts.So mediation-- within the next 10 years,I think mediation will be the foregone trend for conflictresolution.It has worked thus far.I think that [INAUDIBLE] is not being promoted as it should.

    • 11:05

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: But as far as conflict resolution,mediation is the number one sourceto getting parties to come to the table,resolve their disputes, and to and walk away in peace.One particular case I can rememberis a mediation-- I was called to come in and do this specialized

    • 11:31

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: mediation.It was a case that was-- a judge had calledthe center, community relations, to come,to send their best mediator, for the partiesto come to the center to have the case mediated.It was a family, particular case with a father.

    • 11:54

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: The mom had passed.And the two adults, brothers, sisters-- and Imean, they were in like their 50s-- they almosthad an altercation in the courthouse,so they just decided to send them through mediation.And I have never seen any type of case like this before,

    • 12:15

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: where the brother and sister literallywanted to kill each other.And because by the mom dying, the father--he was in the middle between two siblings.It was such a sad case.However, I was elected to be that mediator.And by listening to both parties--

    • 12:38

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: both wanted the same thing.They just didn't want to listen to one another.And the father was just on pins and needles,because he didn't know which side to choose.So therefore by listening to partiesand actually letting the father wrap up the mediationand include him and to him speak,

    • 13:01

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: as well, this case went on for like 2 and 1/2 hours.But at the end, all our parties came to a resolution.And I had to write this up to whereif the son wanted to visit the father on a particular day,

    • 13:23

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: I had to have all of that dictatedon the actual resolution.And lo and behold, it worked out.So out of the seven days, once the son had three days,the daughter had an additional three days to visitwith the family, because they justcouldn't be in the same room.

    • 13:43

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: So I think that was my greatest challenge, is justto have that type of mediation between the families, and grownand dulls couldn't even go visit their father at the same time.[A Word to Students]

    • 14:05

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: I just want to tell the students that if theyare very undecisive or are not knowingwhich particular career to choose, start out with serving.Just volunteer at a community centeror at any one of the nonprofit organizations.Become an intern, and just look into the field of mediation

    • 14:31

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: or conflict resolution.Not only do I actually provide mediation, I also train.I facilitate.I instill in people-- and the young people,they are most appreciative when you come inand you pay them some attention and you

    • 14:51

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: listen to their questions and make themfeel like they're important.So as a student, I would suggest goingto any area in that particular capacityand just seek out mediation.And I know that some may want to be attorneysand some may want to be judges and all that,

    • 15:12

      TERRY STOKES [continued]: but just start out with mediationand just see if you would like that particular skill.Because mediation is the forefrontof bringing peace in the world.

CJ Careers: Community Relations Specialist

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Abstract

Terry Stokes discusses community relations and mediation. She helps people resolve their own conflicts by simply listening and asking the right questions to find a solution. Stokes describes her career path and offers advice to students.

CJ Careers: Community Relations Specialist

Terry Stokes discusses community relations and mediation. She helps people resolve their own conflicts by simply listening and asking the right questions to find a solution. Stokes describes her career path and offers advice to students.

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