We cultivate positive communication and develop fundamental understanding so that all people can be in productive relationship with each other. We do this through mediation, facilitation, training and restorative practices.
We see conflict as an opportunity for positive growth and transformation in our society. We envision a future in which all individuals, organizations and communities have the skills and capacity to engage in effective dialogue and promote peaceful resolution of issues and conflicts.
Who We Are
SEEDS Community Resolution Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community-based organization that has been providing mediation, facilitation, training, and restorative justice to residents, organizations, and schools in the Bay Area since 1983.
Mediation. With a diverse group of volunteers whom we train in communication and conflict resolution skills, SEEDS mediates disputes between neighbors, friends, families, landlords and tenants, those in business relationships, and court litigants.
In addition to that, SEEDS provides conflict resolution counseling services. We also refer disputants to other services and agencies and serve as a general resource for people wanting to learn about mediation and other ADR related issues and activities.
Facilitation. SEEDS continues to expand its facilitation programs, helping to guide organizations and groups in their deliberation and decision-making processes. We also convene forums and dialogues around issues and problems that have serious impacts in our neighborhoods and communities.
Workshops and Training. SEEDS offers high quality conflict resolution workshops as well as mediation and facilitation certificate training to individuals, corporations, and city agencies. It is an integral part of the SEEDS mission to sow these skills and processes as widely as possible throughout our communities.
Restorative Justice. SEEDS provides training on restorative practices for individuals, schools, and other organizations. The focus is on creating a safe space that enables the restoration of relationships and community healing through dialogue.
SEEDS envisions a future in which all individuals, organizations and communities recognize conflict as an opportunity for positive growth – and have the skills and capacity to engage in effective dialogue and promote peaceful resolution of interpersonal and intergroup challenges and conflicts.
Toward this vision, SEEDS’ mission is to increase the capacity of individuals, groups, and organizations to build healthy relationships and to restore relationships in the face of conflict.
We do this through mediation, facilitation, training, and coaching. We develop programs, models, and competencies that help bridge cross-cultural and other differences. And we design our services to respond to the needs of the diverse communities we serve, reduce barriers to participation, and reach underserved communities.
Relationship: Fostering healthy relationships, communities, and institutional cultures rooted in dignity, respect, and self-determination.
Empowerment: Creating spaces and opportunities for volunteers, community members, teachers, students, and co-workers to develop, use, and share the capacity to transform conflicts and (re)build relationships.
Collaboration: Supporting participants in working together respectfully to address shared problems and to develop mutually agreeable and effective solutions.
Impartiality: Holding space in a manner that builds trust among all parties by recognizing the dignity, needs and interests of all individuals and supporting participants in mediations, and facilitated processes to determine their own solutions and agreements.
Equity: Seeking justice, self-determination, and equal power and influence for all. Implementing our Mission in a way that disrupts systems of marginalization.
Inclusion: Striving to ensure that our staff, board, and volunteers reflect the diverse communities we serve. Developing programs, models, and competencies that help bridge cross-cultural and other differences.
Access: Designing our services to reduce barriers to participation and seeking to broaden our reach to underserved communities.
SEEDS and Social Change
SEEDS recognizes that the achievement of our vision will require profound and sustained changes in the way our society understands, relates to, and seeks to prevent and resolve conflict. Sustained effort to disrupt current patterns of power, privilege, and oppression and achieve equity in our communities is necessary.
In our work, we seek to engage and empower individuals in a manner that contributes to shifting the distribution of power and privilege in our society at the relational and interpersonal level.
We actively cultivate and integrate recognition, among ourselves and among participants in our trainings and processes, that patterns of power, privilege, and oppression contribute to and shape interpersonal and intergroup challenges and conflicts.
Our particular mission and competencies are focused on developing skills and capacities and providing services that support effective dialogue. Such dialogue builds bridges and relationships among diverse individuals and groups that prevents challenges from becoming open conflicts, supports collaborative problem-solving, and leads to non-violent resolution of conflicts and the restoration of relationships when conflicts do occur.
We advocate for universal access to conflict resolution training, skills, and services in the communities and organizations in which we work.
We recognize that our work is necessary but not sufficient to change the laws, policies, and formal institutions that structure power in our society. That work is best undertaken by organizations that have developed the competencies and resources for effective organizing and activism.
SEEDS acknowledges that we are operating on the ancestral lands of the Ohlone people. We support the sovereignty of the Ohlone people by paying Shuumi Land Tax to the Sogorea Te Land Trust. To learn more, visit their website: https://sogoreate-landtrust.org/
SEEDS began as East Bay Community Mediation. It represents the union of three community mediation programs in the Bay Area: Berkeley Dispute Resolution Service, Conciliation Forums of Oakland, and Mediation Services covering Hayward/Castro Valley/Fremont.
Conciliation Forums of Oakland (CFO) began in 1983 as a group of dedicated North Oakland community volunteers, and later found a home in beautiful Preservation Park. In addition to providing a wide range of conflict resolution services, CFO pioneered both school-based and parent-teen mediation programs in the Bay Area.
Berkeley Dispute Resolution Service (BDRS) opened its doors for service in 1988. A blue ribbon committee of the Berkeley Mayor and City Manager discovered that conflict had impaired civility and brought gridlock to some aspects of civic life. The committee recommended that the City provide initial funding to a group of citizens who had begun to develop an independent, community-based conflict resolution program. This financial support and enthusiasm from the City of Berkeley enabled BDRS to get off to a fast start. In addition to offering community mediation services, BDRS piloted city-based services in Alameda County: using mediation as an integral part of administrative processes for zoning/land use permits, tree-view ordinances, and police-citizen complaints. BDRS also became highly regarded and sought out for its conflict resolution training workshops and programs for individuals and organizations.
The First Merger: In 2004, after many years of collaboration, the staff and Boards of BDRS and CFO formally consolidated the operations of both organizations into East Bay Community Mediation (EBCM). Mediation Services began as a community mediation program in 1993 in Hayward & Castro Valley, later expanding to include Fremont, Union City, and Newark. In addition to mediation programs for the community, Mediation Services offered an expanded menu of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes, including arbitration and administrative hearing panels for public agencies. Mediation Services also successfully introduced court-based services to provide same-day mediations for small claims litigants in the Alameda County Superior Courts in Hayward.
The Second Merger: In 2006, following the success of the merger between BDRS and CFO, the new East Bay Community Mediation and Mediation Services began exploring the further consolidation of staff, volunteers, and programs to become a unified organization providing conflict resolution services to nearly all of Alameda County. This effort reached fruition by the end of 2007.
On the heels of this second merger, the Board and Staff decided to take on a new name and identity that would reflect the broadening of programs and services offered by our evolving organization. The new name needed to symbolize the growth, transformation, and connections people experience when they engage in effective dialogue and develop their own creative solutions to the conflicts and problems that inevitably arise in life.
SEEDS Is Born: In 2008, we formally adopted the name SEEDS Community Resolution Center. SEEDS incorporates those founding values: Services that Encourage Effective Dialogue and Solutions.