Resolution Center raises money, honors volunteers

By Melanie Deeds
Legal News

As important as it is to raise funds to support day-to-day operations, it’s essential as well to acknowledge the efforts of those to make an organization succeed.
And so, as in years past, The Resolution Center of Mount Clemens will bestow awards upon a Port Huron judge, the president of the Macomb County Bar Association and two volunteers during its annual fundraiser on Tuesday evening, March 23.
The 17th annual Evening at the Movies will be held, from 5:30-10 p.m., at the MJR Marketplace theater in Sterling Heights.
The center will present its Conflict Resolution Advocacy Award to 72nd District Judge Cynthia S. Platzer of Port Huron.
“Judge Platzer has been a real champion for mediation in St.Clair County,” said Craig Pappas, executive director of the center, “and was the key to implementing it and The Resolution Center in her court.”
Pappas said Platzer began her efforts by creating a small claims mediation program “and now has a formal process for both small claims and general civil matters.
“We are very grateful for all she has done to promote mediation and the center in St. Clair,” he said, “and for that we are giving her our 2009 Conflict Resolution Advocacy Award.”
While the majority of the cases handled by the center are from Macomb County, Pappas said he’d like to handle more work from St. Clair.
Also that evening, MCBA President Anthony Bellanca will be honored for his volunteer mediation work at the center.
Bellanca, who is serving as honorary chairman of the fundraising event, has been involved with mediation work at the center for three years.
Actually, Bellanca has been involved in mediation since the late 1970s when the group in which he was involved — the Catholic Youth Organization —launched a program aimed at resolving neighborhood disputes.
Meanwhile, Jane Lehman of Lexington and Ruth Pfaehler of Grosse Pointe will be honored with Volunteer of the Year awards.
Pappas said Lehman “has been an anchor for our St. Clair County cases and still makes the drive to do cases for us all over Macomb County.”
Pfaehler “always seems to have the time to volunteer as a mediator and attend advanced trainings,” according to Pappas.
“They are two very dedicated, reliable and committed mediators,” he said.
The Mount Clemens-based center was founded in 1993. The non-profit organization has about 85 mediators serving the courts, businesses, organizations, schools and residents in Macomb and St. Clair counties.
Last year, the center handled 1,200 disputes, 848 of which were settled.
A focus of the mediation work is training more young people to settle disputes involving youth, according to Pappas, who noted that the center in 2008 received a three-year $20,000 per-year grant from United Way to support that initiative.
He said peer mediators work in four schools — Mount Clemens High School and Middle School, Roseville High School and Anchor Bay High School.
The Evening at the Movies fundraiser features hor d’oeuvres and beer and wine samplings. Ticketholders also can attend a film of their choice.
Tickets are $40 per person or five for $160. Information is available by calling (586) 469-4714 or visiting