The Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership’s (RYASAP) Restorative Justice Division recently awarded Taryn Bartolucci, a Trumbull High School senior, with the 2013 Young Mediator of the Year award.

The award is part of RYASAP’s Mediation program and recognizes the important work done by students using mediation to address disputes in their schools such as name calling, physical fights, rumors, property disputes or love triangles.

In mediation, a student or staff member who has received training, acts as an impartial facilitator of a dialogue between students involved in a dispute. When the disputants come face to face, in a safe, private place at school, they can obtain a better understanding of what happened, why it happened and how to keep it from happening again. The student mediator helps them get at the root of the problem and to devise their own solutions for which they are more likely to take ownership.

“Becoming a mediator has taught me that there is a mature, appropriate way to resolve conflict,” Taryn said. “I no longer look at conflicts as something that will just go away or that can be ignored. Everyone handles conflict differently and the many people that I have mediated over the last two years have shown me multiple ways that people cope with conflict.

“Most of all, I understand that conflicts need active work to be resolved and exploring the problem in a calm, verbal way, breeds the best results,” she said.

Taryn was nominated by Trumbull High School’s mediation program coordinators Dennis McLaughlin and William Mecca and selected by a panel of independent judges.

“Taryn stood out from the other nominees because of her depth of understanding of mediation,” said Elizabeth Murphy, RYASAP’s Mediation Coordinator. “She not only mediates conflicts, but has been a willing participant in the process as a party to a conflict. Also, she has promoted the use of mediation in schools by presenting at both regional and statewide events. However, the most compelling reason why she was selected, is because she has demonstrated an understanding of the need for empathy and kindness in order to avoid conflict in the first place.”