On Wednesday, January 24th Save our Streets, Brooklyn hosted their first volunteer training of the new year. The topic covered during the training was, “Conflict Resolution”.

The training commenced when five volunteers from across Brooklyn arrived. The training started with an icebreaker. The icebreaker activity was a simple answer or elaboration to, “What was/are your goals for the new year? Or what are you excited about for the new year?” After each person answered, the Save Our Streets managers moved forward by jumping directly into the topic by viewing, the “Health Solution to Violence” video.

The “Health Solution to Violence” video, depicting a person with first hand experience, opens the viewers eyes to the multiple issues that lead to conflict in the urban communities. S.O.S Brooklyn program managers wanted to focus on dealing with high risk folks and how to use today’s lessons on Conflict Resolution to make the connection to interrupting violence. After viewing the video, and receiving and responding to feedback, Program Manager, Tiffany Murray began to explain the “Do’s and Don’ts” of conflict resolution. Tiffany began this portion with the simple phrase, “Safety first”. A few pointers that Tiffany shared with our volunteers are: know your limits (know what you can handle when it comes to dealing with two or more parties), notice when tension is beginning to build, utilize friends, identifying the friend vs the hype man and know when you have done your due diligence.

The group learned of their, conflict by taking an online assessment. Volunteers learned that their conflict styles are either like a Boxer (sees conflict as a challenge), Smiler (usually avoids all conflicts), or a Diplomat (great negotiator and crackerjack problem solver).

The training began to move forward rapidly with P.M David Gaskin sharing with the group, “The Five Steps to Conflict Resolution.” The Five Steps to Conflict Resolution are:

  1. Identifying the source of the conflict.
  2. Look beyond the incident.
  3. Request Solutions.
  4. Identifying solutions that both disputants can support.
  5. Agreement.

The entire group held a conversation about the five steps by digging deeper into the steps and focusing on key concepts like the more information you have about the situation, the better you can prepare. As well, the group learned key things such as: conflicts are not about the situation, but the perspective on the situation, how to be an active listener, and, an S.O.S favorite–don’t add any fuel to the fire. This last piece of advice means to do everything in the mediator’s power to help both parties save face.

The group closed out with P.M Tiffany Murray asking all volunteers to share something that they learned, something that stuck out to them or a take away from today’s training. Volunteers shared, “I like the saving face strategy. This gives both parties and opportunity to gracefully bow out.” Another volunteer shared that she learned how to listen and what makes a conflict a conflict.

Violence Interrupter, Darien Jones shared with the group a few strategies to Violence Interrupting. These strategies include buying time, separating both parties, reaching an agreement and making phone calls which would help bring some type of resolution to the conflict.

Interested in upcoming trainings? The next training is a, “Shooting Response” training taking place from 6-8pm at 256 Kingston Ave on February 15th. The training afterwards will be, “Identifying the High Risk.”