One America Community Efforts
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Program: Human Efforts at Relating Together: A Student Mediation Program, Los Angeles, CA
Contact(s): Joell T. Juntilla, Youth Relations Unit, Los Angeles Unified School District: (213) 625-6440
Purpose: To commit youth to a process that encourages them to assume responsibility for making their schools safe

Background Program Operations Outcomes


The Human Efforts at Relating Together (HEART) Program was created in 1991 by Joell Juntilla of the Los Angeles Unified School District to encourage and train youth as conflict-resolution facilitators in on-campus disputes. The program takes "at-risk" youth who have leadership potential and provides avenues for all students to invest their energy positively into their schools.

Program Operations

The HEART program sponsors several school events that promote respect for cultural diversity, such as fall and spring cultural diversity festivals that highlight the various cultures that make up the school. Throughout the year, lectures and dances that promote a philosophy of inclusivity and understanding are also held. As part of the HEART program, youth mediation groups meet weekly to address student concerns, which often deal with racial, ethnic, gender and gang issues. During these meetings, conflict-resolution techniques, presented by school peers, are used to address student concerns. All student activities are sponsored by a faculty member or school administrator. Peer mediators and faculty advisers conduct follow-up sessions with students to encourage their active involvement in all program events. The follow-up sessions also serve as a way to gauge campus safety concerns as well as foster a sense of personal responsibility for their schools.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

In 1992, the HEART program had about 180 student mediators in three different schools. By the end of 1998, the HEART program will have about 1,000 student participants throughout the San Fernando Valley.

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