Posted by Pieter Taljaard

The speakers at today's Rotary Club of Airdrie's Tuesday lunchtime meeting were Don Schapira and Winston Blake from an organization, Peer Mediation & Skills Training (PMAST). They work with youth to develop and practice conflict management, relationship management, and leadership skills using an approach that focuses on prevention, intervention and re-connection. PMAST is responsible for the 'Restorative Action Program' in W.H. Croxford High school in Airdrie, and Don is working at the school.

PMAST is a registered charity which operates community-based initiatives that are hosted in high schools and is sustained through shared responsibility of community partners and by other supportive organizations and citizens.

It is a much needed service, with proven results and a program with independently verified statistics by the University of Saskatchewan. It is PREVENTION training programs and awareness events to help youth develop communication and conflict management skills, as well as to develop awareness of the negative impacts of hate, violence and discrimination. Through INTERVENTION, victims of bullying take an active role in the process, while offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions. Intervention focuses on a dialogue between victims & offenders. This method has proven highly effective in developing knowledge and accountability of all those involved. Trained mediators supports youth in RECONNECTING  with their school, family and peers, assisting schools and advocating for youth.