The Community Mediation Services of St. Louis ia a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. CMS has acquired mediation programs previously operated by other non-profits which can be traced back to 1999.
Bringing Community Mediation to St. Louis
Mennonite Peace Center was involved with community mediation from the very beginning. Initial efforts focused on collaborating with Columbia Elementary School to provide peer mediation for students. The program trained small groups of students in empathetic, respectful listening and in conflict resolution. By 2003, the Peace Center initiated its first training sessions for conflict resolution and mediation for the broader community. In fall of that year, the mediation program accepted its first referrals for mediation. Under the leadership of Mary Hellwig, Margaret Smetana, and others, the mediation program flourished. Mennonite Peace Center was among the charter members of The St. Louis Area Restorative Justice Collaborative. The Peace Center provided mediators for now defunct Community Conflict Services.
Community Mediation Services of St. Louis, 2012-present
Despite the setbacks, the Peace Center’s commitment to providing community mediation remained strong. In 2012, John Doggette, who had mediated for Community Conflict Services for some time and had experience leading the Community Mediation Center of Knoxville, TN, became executive director, working to transform the organization into Community Mediation Services of St. Louis, with the goal of making the organization self-sustaining and the recognized leader for providing affordable conflict resolution services to the St. Louis metropolitan area. Under John’s leadership, Community Mediation Services has built strong relationships with the Citizens’ Service Bureau, the Neighborhood Improvement and Stabilization teams, and with area police departments to provide community mediation to meet St. Louis’ needs.