CMS Mediator Training Update

Our mediators are the life blood of CMS. We are so thankful for our committed volunteers.

If you are interested please let us know  below and we will get you additional information on upcoming training.

There are other ways to volunteer at CMS. Check it out here or give us a call

You may fill out a registration below or you may call our office  865-463-6888.Thank you!

Attendance Awareness Month

school attendance.jpg_smallSeptember is attendance awareness month  . It is a nationwide event recognizing the connection between school attendance and academic achievement. 7.5 million students miss 10% of the school year .  Community Mediation Services is partnering with the Anderson County Schools in an effort to improve attendance and combat truancy in Anderson County Middle Schools. With a grant made possible by the East Tennessee Foundation ,  CMS has created an attendance mediation model that includes counselors, parents and student who will talk together to determine what the barriers to education are and how to combat them.  Each family has different issues and there will  be different solutions  determined in the mediation process.  This team approach seeks to address beyond the classroom reasons for absenteeism and strengthen families as they work through the issues.

Learn how parents can improve school attendance in this new video from attendance works : 

Want to become a volunteer mediator or volunteer for CMS, contact us at

Can Attendance Mediation Prevent School Dropouts? Can you help?

Are you interested in investing your skills and talents back into our community and helping children stay in school?  Truancy is an epidemic plaguing most school systems. According to John Hopkins University ,  there can be a national rate of 10-15 percent chronic absenteeism , meaning that 5 million to 7.5 million students are chronically absent.  Community Mediation Services (CMS) , a local nonprofit,  is joining forces with Anderson County Schools to conduct a pilot project  using attendance mediation as a measure to help families combat truancy and improve student attendance.

Did you know…

  • By the 6th grade a clear warning sign for a student being at risk of dropping out of school is missing school on a regular basis.  By the 9th grade, students missing school 20% of the year is a bigger warning sign of a child being at risk of dropping out of school then test grades.
  • The majority of students who eventually drop out of high school enter 9th grade with a pattern of chronic absenteeism that goes back at least several years, the study shows from Baltimore Education Research Consortium.
  • A study  by the University of Chicago found that attendance and studying more predictive of dropout than test scores or other student characteristics. In fact 9th grade attendance was a better predictor of dropout than 8th grade test scores

Although these  national statistic are staggering,  truancy is an issue that can be addressed at the community level.  Through a grant from East Tennessee Foundation , the  CMS attendance mediation project will facilitate a mediation between the parents,  the student and a school representative at the middle school level. The goal is  to determine what barriers to educational success exist at the present , and how, in the student’ best interest, can those barrier be eliminated or overcome. The school  and parents wants the student  to succeed.  CMS will act as a neutral party to help the school, the student and the parents work together on a plan for the student’s success. Mediation brings about an environment for collaboration which is a health way to facilitate change.

What can you do?  Are you interested in investing your skills in our community and helping children stay in school ? Become a community mediator.  Community Mediation Services will be holding mediator training sessions March 1-2 ( basic) and March 7-8 ( attendance) . There is no charge for training but you must attend all session and submit to a background check.  Attendance mediators will be asked to mediate one day a month during school hours.  Other CMS mediation programs training will be available in October but basic is required for all program. You can find more information on CMS mediator training here…


CMS Truancy Project

According to Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, truancy, or unexcused absence from school, has been linked to serious delinquent activity in youth and to significant negative behavior and characteristics in adults. Their recent bulletin On Truancy Reduction: Keeping Students in School, supports and reenforces CMS’s   initiative to establish a Truancy Mediation Project. According to the bulletin ” the juvenile justice system is increasingly serving as the final stop for truants and as a mechanism for intervening with chronic truants. Recent statistics available on the extent of truancy cases in juvenile court clearly demonstrate how important it is for schools and communities to confront this issue”. CMS has received funding from East Tennessee Foundation to work with our stakeholders to determine how mediation might help with this growing problem. We welcome input from all our stakeholders and the community as well. You may contact us at



What Does Mediation Mean to Me?

What is mediation ,what does it  REALLY mean and what does that look like for ME?.  Clients often bring such questions when they find themselves being referred by the court to our office for mediation.

Webster defines mediation as the ” intervention between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or compromise “. The mediation process is an opportunity to encourage conversation and the nonviolent resolution of differences between people in pursuit of a more just and peaceful world. It is about sitting down in neutral location outside of the court system and having a conversation about whatever conflict has brought you to this point . It is about managing this conflict, and learning to manage future conflicts, in a more constructive rather than destructive manner. Studies show that the earlier in the conflict parties can mediate the quicker  and more likely they are to reach an agreement.

Mediation is NOT about always getting EVERYTHING you want. It is about all parties being able to articulate concerns, needs and wants and then, with the guidance of a mediator, working through a process toward agreement. It is NOT about rehashing every detail of past hurts, it is about moving forward toward a future oriented agreement. It is not about constantly defending your position but rather hearing the other person’s side and working toward solutions  that all parties can embrace. It is about only the parties involved crafting a solution- not relatives, not the court, not an attorney, not the mediator- just the people directly involved with the conflict.

Is it always easy? No, it is not easy. It requires all the parties to move from everything being personal to a problem-solving mindset. How can we, working together, make this better?  The mediator is trained to guide you through this process and to keep everyone focused on the end goal.

In mediation you will have a safe place to be heard and to listen, to express your feelings and ideas without risk. Most other ways of resolving conflict provide no opportunity for this type of openness and creativity, and some even discourage it.

At CMS we mediate three programs: Victim Offender Reconciliation ( VORP),  Teen and Parent Mediation ( TPM) and  Visitation Mediation. All three program strive to be forward thinking and to assist parties in coming up with their own solutions.


Community Mediation Services receives award from East Tennessee Foundation

Community Mediation Services Award from East Tennessee FoundationCommunity Mediation Services received at grant award from East Tennessee August 4th as part of the ETF 25th anniversary celebration. In order to demonstrate what the Foundation does in its 25-county service area,  ETF awarded  25 grants  of $2 500 grants to one nonprofit in each of the 25 counties they serve. ETF honored CMS for its extraordinary programming and services that help improve the lives of East Tennesseans.  Read more here

Board members; Lisa Winkle,  John Hicks, Bill Issel, Willow Reed and Scott Smith, along with CMS Executive Director, Cindy Helton and CMS Program Coordinator, Patti Lamberti were on hand to receive the award from ETF Sr. Vice President for Programs and Regional Development, Terry Holley and  Vice President for Advancement, Bob Caldwell.

CMS receives State Proclamation

Representative John Ragan stopped by the office to  present Community Mediation Services with a Tennessee House Joint Resolution honoring the positive impact CMS and its three programs have made in Anderson County.

Senator Randy McNally and CMS President Lisa Winkle

At CMS annual appreciation dinner State Senator Randy McNally read the Resolution to a crowd of CMS supporters and volunteers.

We are very grateful both these men took time to be part of celebrating our 25th Anniversary.

Run, Bike or Walk for CMS


April 13, 2013. Looking forward to a great event!

April  13,2013, make plans to join the staff and Board of CMS as we run, bike or walk to raise money for CMS at the third annual Wells Fargo Heels and Wheels Duathlon

The Wells Fargo Heels & Wheels Duathlon consists of a 5k run/18k bike/3k run Duathlon, a 5k run, a Fun Walk, a family-friendly, festival-like atmosphere, and lunch. The running portion of the course is on a variety of surfaces: partly wooded trail, grass, crushed stone, and paved road. The cycling portion is all paved roads. The 5k run is on the same course and time as the first 5k portion of the Duathlon. The 1 mile Fun Walk is all paved, completely on campus, and occurs at the same time as the Duathlon.

Fifteen community nonprofit organizations are recruiting volunteers and participants to secure pledges in order to participate. These “fundraisers” can participate in any of the events of the day! 100 percent of proceeds you collect as a  CMS fundraiser go to CMS. If you are interested in participating or fund-raising read more details here or check out the Heels and Wheels registration form.

Call our office for details- 865-463-6888

CMS Training News



We will start with basic training which teaches  conflict resolution techniques and helps student develop listening skills .  You must attend both classes. There is no charge for training if you commit to mediating for CMS  for one year. Light meals will be provided. An interview and an application  with references  and background check must be completed in advance of training.

Basic training is the first component of all four programs. After completion,  student may then choose program specific training they are most interested in. 

Upon completing program specific training student participate in an apprenticeship with a experienced mediators. Student are asked to commit to mediating for CMS for at least one year with a minimum of 4 mediations.

Next Program specific training will be Fall 2017

Call 865-463-6888 to register or email us at  Class size is limited.

photo by kharied

Golf SAVE the Date

The Annual Big Ed’s Memorial Golf Tournament is set for April 28th, 2017.  Mark your calendar!

If you would like to be a sponsor give us a call 865-463-6888 .

Sponsors who sign up by January 6th will be included in registration brochure. AFter the 6th you will includes on website, at the tournament and in social media.

All levels of sponsorship are available. More information here

Players can get on our mailing list for the golf tournament by emailing or calling 865-463-6888

photo by purolipan