Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan is ‘Thirty & Thriving’ — come celebrate!


Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan (DRCWM) is commemorating its 30th year with a soirée called Thirty & Thriving — Celebrating the Vision, and the community is invited to attend October 20 at 6:30 pm at The B.O.B.-Eve, 20 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.


DRCWM’s celebration will be hosted by local luminary, the Honorable Sara Smolenski, whose brother Hon. Michael Smolenski served as the first board president of DRCWM. Three individuals, responsible for transforming the idea of a center for conflict resolution into reality, will be honored with Local Peacemaker Awards:  Rev. Vernon Hoffman, Calvin College Professor Emeritus, Dr. Henry J. Holstege, Jr. and Dr. Robert Riekse.


Judge Sara Smolenski (photo courtesy of feedwm.org/)

The DRCWM is a non-profit community dispute resolution center serving seven counties in West Michigan. The organization provides mediation services on a sliding scale, mediation training, restorative practitioners, and restorative practices training.


Last year, the DRCWM served 1,302 individuals and mediated 429 cases in a wide variety of areas, 74% of which mediated to full or partial agreement. Mediation helps participants to resolve conflicts on their own timeline, in a private setting, on their own terms. The mediators are volunteers trained pursuant to the Michigan State Court Administrator’s guidelines.


Spearheaded by its executive director, Christine Gilman, DRCWM began its restorative justice program at Lee Middle School in the fall of 2013. The services target students, staff and the community. A recent $50,000 from the Steelcase Foundation enabled the organization to expand its restorative justice program to Lee Middle School in Wyoming, Kelloggsville Middle School and Wyoming High School over the next two years.


Some of the students that have participated in the restorative circles process at Wyoming Public Schools will share their experiences at the celebration, and guests will hear firsthand how effective the program really is.


Noel Webley
Noel Webley

Noel Webley and his Jazz Friends will keep toes tapping as guests enjoy a scrumptious dinner catered by the B.O.B., a cash bar, an opportunity to mingle and network, and have an opportunity to win exciting prizes in a raffle.


Tickets are available for $45 at drcwm.org. Proceeds will support the organization’s restorative justice school programs which have helped students to avoid hundreds of suspension days through restorative circles.


For more information contact: Christine Gilman, Executive Director DRCWM at 616.774.0121 x 101 or 616.581.3582. Or email her at cgilman@drcwm.org.