The Birmingham Bar Foundation’s educational programming includes two successful programs: Resolve-2-Solve and Raising the Bar.
Resolve-2-Solve is a conflict resolution and peer mediation program developed by the Birmingham Bar Foundation and the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section of the Birmingham Bar Association to teach students positive conflict resolution and peer mediation skills. The goals of the program are to give students the necessary tools to handle conflict with peers and with adults; to help students better control their impulses and hone social skills; and to decrease the number of discipline infractions in schools.
Moreover, the program provides volunteer opportunities for attorneys in local schools. Using curriculum developed by the Foundation, the ADR Section and the pilot school (Tarrant High School), members of the ADR Section facilitate program training for volunteers who include Foundation board members, BBA members and other professionals. On a monthly basis, one hour sessions are conducted with students on the following topics: Assertiveness v. Aggressiveness, Resolving Conflict on Social Media, and Handling Adult/Teen Conflict.
After students complete the conflict resolution program, they move onto the mediation aspect of the program to become peer mediators.
Raising the Bar is a mock trial program for youth. Both Resolve-2-Solve and Raising the Bar use our Appellate Courts Oral Arguments program as a blueprint for success! Every year, BBF invites Alabama Appellate Courts to hold their oral arguments in Birmingham, Alabama to provide a unique opportunity for the community, particularly high school, college and law school students, to observe the judicial system at work.
More than 1,200 students from throughout Alabama attend the event. Additionally, BBF offers grants to assist with schools’ transportation costs which allow more students to see the courts in action! To further the enrichment experience, prior to oral arguments, volunteer attorneys and judges make class visits to participating schools to give an explanation and analysis of the cases that will be heard. The Oral Arguments event is a highly regarded program and enjoyed by teachers, students and the community!
Leslie R. Barineau
President, Birmingham Bar Foundation