CMC: Prairie Land Conflict Mediation Center 2:00-3:20 TR

Contact Information

Virginia Bolan, MSW
206 N. Randolph
Suite 526
Champaign, IL 61820

Organization Mission 

Prairie Land Conflict Mediation Center is a private, nonprofit corporation established in 2008 to provide residents of Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities with the option of resolving disputes themselves, voluntarily, nonviolently, inexpensively and within their own communities.
We strive to reduce court congestion, promote peaceful alternatives to litigation and provide education, training and volunteer opportunities for community members in conflict resolution and prevention.

Problems and/or Opportunities 

Many people are unable to afford attorney fees when there is a dispute between parents about child custody or visitation planning. Many of these litigants from Champaign County are referred to Prairie Land Conflict Mediation Center (PLCMC) to have a mediation facilitated free of charge.

People who are pursuing (or wish to pursue) a divorce but are unable to afford legal representation not only have to plan for their children but how to divide their assets and debts. Circuit Judge Dan Flannell, the Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Illinois has informed PLCMC that there is a backlog of litigants in need of assistance in dividing their assets and debts equitably in the Sixth Circuit.

Judge Flannell has presented this opportunity to PLCMC. However, PLCMC is a volunteer driven mediation center that currently has no source of funding. Although we currently have 10 part-time volunteers, we have only 2 full-time volunteers who both divide their time between mediation services and administrative tasks.

Solutions and Projects

In order to provide financial mediation for legally indigent divorcing clients, PLCMC will have to make some major changes. These changes include:

1. Developing ongoing, reliable internship programs with the Law School, the School of Business, the School of Social Work, the Psychology Department, the Sociology and the Global Studies Department.

2. Identifying full-time volunteers to manage the main office and part-time volunteers to manage satellite offices.

3. Free or very low cost offices to be used as satellites need to be identified.

4. Volunteers to serve as mediators need to be identified and trained in the areas where satellite offices are to be established.

5. Administrative policies and procedures need to be developed to insure that the expansion of services and staff goes as smoothly as possible.

6. A marketing plan will have to be developed that addresses the changes and growth of PLCMC.

7. Community contacts need to be identified throughout the 6 counties of the Circuit.

8. Growth of an organization to this degree will require major fundraising efforts in order to support the expanding services and to work toward being able to hire office staff.

LINC students will have the opportunity to work on all aspects of the expansion of PLCMC's program. Since an expansion of this kind requires a great deal of planning and implementation must be done gradually, this project would benefit from student involvement over several semesters. It will give students an opportunity to be involved in the growth of a young nonprofit into a new developmental phase.

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