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We are happy to report that the Community Mediation Center of Calvert is having a great year. Our 24 dedicated and highly skilled volunteers continue to help Calvert residents work through differences in a way that keeps conflict from escalating and resulting in litigation, violence or harm. Additionally, we work to create partnerships to build a stronger community.

We co-sponsored the International Day of Peace Celebration with the Calvert Interfaith Council again this year. The program focused on challenges faced by veterans as they return from combat or other arduous duty to reintegrate with family and community. Since 2008, we have partnered with Calvert Library to facilitate a series of community discussions. These events focus on issues important to Calvert residents. This is our fifth year partnering with Tri-County Youth Services to support an after school homework center for underserved youth. We have also begun a new partnership with the Calvert County Detention Center to provide mediation between inmates and folks on the outside to better prepare for life after release and, hopefully, reduce inmate recidivism. We just completed our final year partnering with the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, offering Operation True Perspectives, the first and only program in Maryland that offers citizens and deputies the opportunity to participate in mediation to resolve concerns or frustrations resulting from their interaction.

It takes a tremendous amount of time, energy and dedication to offer these services at no cost to participants. A grant from the Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO) helps us to do this wonderful work. MACRO requires that CMCC raise matching funds to demonstrate community support. Our goal is to raise $20,500 in matching funds by March 31, 2012, and this is where you can help.

The way in which our community handles conflict reflects upon the health and well-being of the community and most certainly affects our quality of life. Please help us continue to assist our neighbors in a manner that respects opposing views and gives individuals the option to resolve conflict in a harmonious way. Any donation is appreciated. A donation of $200 or more earns a “Peace Partner” designation.

Regardless of the amount of your donation, we hope you will help us celebrate our success at our upcoming fundraiser at Friday Creek Winery from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, rain or shine. Join us for wine tasting, food pairings, live music and fun. Tickets are $30 per person (suggested minimum). Proceeds benefit CMCC. Tickets are limited, so purchase them now by calling 443-295-7456, or purchase with PayPal at Fridays Creek Winery is located at 3485 Chaneyville Road, Owings.

Susan Rork, Prince Frederick

The writer is the executive director of the Community Mediation Center of Calvert.