The CDR provides support for various special programs. Currently, with the support of a grant from the Junior League of Springfield, the Center for Dispute Resolution is sponsoring the curriculum-based Program for Young Negotiators (PYN). We are excited about this program and believe that it has tremendous potential to educate Springfield middle school youth in negotiation and conflict resolution skills. To date, the program has been successfully implemented at Reed, Cherokee and Jarrett middle schools.The Program for Young Negotiators (PYN) teaches effective negotiation and conflict-resolution skills to youth so they can resolve conflicts without resorting to violence, and without having to rely on a third-party mediator. Conceptual frameworks for the program were developed at Harvard University and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have recognized the Program for Young Negotiators as one of the nation's leading conflict-resolution programs for schools, youth-serving organizations, and community and juvenile justice settings. The PYN is a 10-12 week program that is mapped to national education standards.
The Program for Young Negotiators is based on the international best-selling book Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreements Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Negotiation Project. The program has a number of strengths:
- It improves participants' abilities to talk through disagreements, thus reducing violent conflict;
- It aims to teach all young people problem-solving skills rather than teach a core group to mediate as a third party;
- It provides tools for coping with conflicts, solving problems, and achieving goals;
- It provides teachers with an opportunity to assess their own conflict-management approach;
- It adapts to a variety of learning styles.