S.O.S. workers at the S.O.S. Peace March, October 2011.
Crown Heights Community Mediation Center
The Mediation Center is a unique neighborhood institution that works to improve community problem-solving, collaboration, and inter-group relations in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Operating out of storefront offices since 1998, the Mediation Center seeks innovative ways to promote community cohesion in a neighborhood known for fragmentation. This includes providing residents with links to resources on issues like education, parenting, housing, and immigration; providing support to young people navigating the challenges of violence, drugs, and poverty; and galvanizing neighborhood stakeholders in order to improve the quality of life for all residents. To learn more about current programming, click to see our website.
How It Works
The Mediation Center's services include:
Neighbor Services: As a walk-in community center on a busy street, the Mediation Center is well-positioned to understand and address neighborhood concerns. The Mediation Center’s storefront location and open-door policy enables hundreds of residents each year to receive assistance, resources, and referrals related to housing, education, benefits, community concerns, unemployment, and legal issues. The Mediation Center has also published two resource directories, one focused on the needs of people returning to the community after having been incarcerated and one that lists general services including counseling, job training, and daycare. Click here for the reentry resource guide and here for the general community guide.
Workshops: The Mediation Center offers workshops for schools, community-based organizations, and religious groups on a variety of topics including trauma, art and social change, gun violence prevention, conflict resolution, mediation, intercultural communication and more.
Save Our Streets: Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) is a community-based effort to end gun violence. In Brooklyn, S.O.S. works within the neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. There are also two sister-sites operating in the South Bronx and Morrisania. S.O.S. works closely with local organizations, neighborhood faith leaders, community residents, and the individuals most likely to be involved in a shooting.
The S.O.S. staff prevent gun violence from occurring in the program target areas by mediating conflicts that may end in gun violence and acting as peer counselors to men and women who are at risk of perpetrating or being victimized by violence. S.O.S. works closely with neighborhood leaders and businesses to promote a visible and public message against gun violence, encouraging local voices to articulate that shooting is an unacceptable behavior.
The S.O.S. programs collaborate with the Brownsville Community Justice Center's Anti-Violence Project to provide work readiness opportunities for participants in our program. These opportunities include: work experience placements, hard/vocational and soft job skills development, and job search and career awareness/planning competencies. The program emphasizes work readiness opportunities that link to trades/vocations and soft skills taught in a workplace context such as during a community benefit project or an internship. Participants meet with a case manager who help them create individualized plans and goal setting as well as create meaningful opportunities for them to get work experience.
Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets: YO S.O.S. is the youth mobilization arm of S.O.S. The program aims to empower young people to become peer educators and community organizers around issues of violence, trauma, and conflict mediation. Through a combination of experiential workshops and community organizing opportunities, participants develop fundamental leadership skills including public speaking, group facilitation, networking, resume writing, event planning and campaign implementation. Participants who successfully complete the program receive community service hours, a stipend, and assistance securing summer internships and jobs. YO S.O.S. meets twice weekly throughout the school year and is available to youth ages 14-17.
Make It Happen: Make It Happen is a program for young men of color between the ages of 16 and 24 who have been negatively impacted by community violence. The program provides supportive services to young men of color who are dealing with trauma, but are not in a position to acknowledge and process it. Make It Happen is a trauma-informed and culturally competent program that provides mentorship, intensive case management, clinical interventions and supportive group workshops.
6 Feet Above: 6 Feet Above is a multimedia anti-violence campaign created by Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets in collaboration with Urban Art Beat, Urban Arts Partnership, and Urban Word NYC. The initiative brings a vital youth voice to the anti-violence movement, and emphasizes peace, healing, safety, and community pride. Harnessing the talents of Brooklyn youth, 6 Feet Above has produced three video projects using hip-hop and spoken word poetry, One Shot, We Care, and a series of individual youth poems. Six Feet Above has been covered in the news by DNA Info and PIX 11. It can be found on Twitter as #6FeetAbove.
In the News
How Crown Heights Healed Itself: In an op-ed for New York Daily News, Errol Louis writes about the efforts of local residents, politicians, and community organizations, including the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, to end violence in Crown Heights.
Crown Heights Mediation Center Blogs
January 19, 2017
So, you want to work at the Mediation Center?
We are so moved by the enthusiastic response to our job openings! Here are some tips on how to strengthen your application. Review our website so...Read More
January 10, 2017
S.O.S. Bed-Stuy MLK Community Canvass
Join S.O.S. Bed-Stuy and Repair The World for MLK Community Canvassing! Volunteers will be canvassing in the Bed-Stuy community to promote a visible...Read More
January 4, 2017
Did you know? S.O.S. Crown Heights is proud to announce that in 2016 we reached the lowest number of shootings ever in the S.O.S. Crown Heights...Read More
YO S.O.S. 2011-2012
S.O.S. Peace March, October 2011
CHCMC Volunteer helps out at the annual Family Day picnic, June 2011
S.O.S. Lead by Example Basketball Tournament
Check out our "events" page for more info on this upcoming program!