SEEDS' Mission, Vision, and Values
SEEDS began as East Bay Community Mediation. We represent 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.
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.
SEEDS’ seeks to fulfill our mission through values-based practices:
We foster healthy relationships, communities, and institutional cultures rooted in dignity,
respect, and self-determination.
We create 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.
We support participants in working together respectfully to address shared problems and to develop mutually agreeable and effective solutions.
We aspire to facilitate restoration of all that has been lost through conflict, including trust,
dignity, respect, self-determination, capacity for collaboration, and meaningful relationships.
We recognize and surface patterns of inequity, marginalization, and oppression in our work and among our participants and are committed to disrupting these patterns in our organization.
We build trust by recognizing the dignity of all individuals and serving them equitably in
mediations and facilitated processes.
We seek to prevent conflict by fostering resilient relationships and building community.
We strive to ensure that our staff, board, and volunteers reflect the diverse communities we serve.
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.