Mediation Center, Greenbriar Partner to Offer COPE Program

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

The Mediation Center of the Coastal Empire’s “Children of Peaceful Engagement” program – or COPE – is now available to the residents of Greenbriar Children’s Center. 

The COPE program teaches children who are going through stressful situations how to better cope with their anger and other emotions and manage their response using proven engagement strategies that focus on understanding and emotional learning. Typically, attendees are early school-age children and participation consists of two one-hour lessons, which take place during a one-week period.

COPE – provided by the Family Law Resource Center and its parent organization, the Mediation Center – is an interactive program designed through collaborations with educators and therapists. It is administered by Crystal Commodore, the Mediation Center's Director of Youth Programs. Over the summer, it was added to the Mediation Center’s programs roster and was implemented it at Park Place Outreach, which provides services to at-risk youth and their families, aims to increase their functional levels, and reunifies families whenever possible. On Dec. 5, this beneficial service was launched at Greenbriar, another Savannah nonprofit committed to helping the community’s young people.

Greenbriar Children’s Center promotes the healthy development of children and the strengthening of families by providing services that include an emergency shelter, runaway/homeless, residential care, independent living, family preservation, early childhood education and care, and Project Safe Place. Once per month, the FLRC will provide a one-hour lesson, followed by another one-hour follow-up segment, taught later that week. The first session focuses on understanding emotion, managing response and owning actions, while the second session educates participants on communicating when in conflict with others.

Mediation Center Executive Director Jill Cheeks is delighted COPE has been well-received and looks forward to increasing its availability by partnering with more Coastal Empire organizations and educational institutions.

“The community already knows we offer a variety of conflict-resolution services, but we also are pleased to be able to provide programs like COPE. These resources enable us to educate youth at an earlier age and equip them with skills to handle difficult situations and respond in a more positive manner to stress and conflict,” Cheeks said.

Greenbriar provides homes for orphaned and homeless juveniles as well as housing for young adults who have nowhere else to turn. The organization, which was founded 68 years ago, has more than 75 locations established around Savannah as Safe Places, where anyone can seek help or report a child they suspect is being abused or is in need of care.

“Greenbriar’s life skills training program has an emphasis on motivating and encouraging individualized processing. The COPE program further enhances the value of independent thinking and increases youth’s problem-solving skills,” Greenbriar Executive Director Gena Taylor said.