Cassidy Takacs and Hailey Madigan are known to be the best of friends ever since they met in high school but their relationship met some challenges last year after it has been subjected to a test.
The best friends are both students from Westgate Collegiate and Vocational Institute. After the problem in their relationship surfaced, they thought that it would be the end of their friendship. It was then at that time that the two were introduced to a new program that is currently in the development stage at their institution. The program tackles conflict resolution through peer mediation.
Madigan admitted that if they had not joined the program, they might not be friends until now. The two of them are forced to sit down and talk regarding what happened between them. Through this, they were able to hear both sides of the story and it made her realize where she had done wrong and then they were able to own up to their own mistakes by apologizing.
The peer mediation program of the school is called On Track and it aims to give students a voluntary measure wherein they can solve their disputes through meeting and talking about the problem in a private and confidential setting. Through the discussion, they will be able to create a solution together with the supervision of fellow students who were able to receive the necessary training regarding conflict resolution.
Takacs shared that through listening she was able to understand her friend’s point of view. Sitting there made her realize where the other person is coming from.
The program is the brainchild of the partnership between John Howard Society of Thunder Bay and Lakehead District School Board. It was made possible by the funding they got from the provincial branch of Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
Westgate is the first of all Thunder Bay school to start such type of program.
The coordinator of the program is Domenic Barbiero who is Westgate’s long-time student support professional. The conflict resolution training made it possible for them to address important issues such as bullying, communication and relationships.