Categorized | Volunteering

Fundraiser celebrates mediation center’s 30th anniversary

MEDIA RELEASE

On Sunday, Nov. 10, the Kuikahi Mediation Center — in participation with the Hawaii County Bar Association (HCBA) — is hosting its Eighth Annual Recognition Dinner and Auction in Hilo to help fund the non-profit human services agency.

“Founded in 1983 as a program of the Hawaii Island YMCA, Kuikahi became an independent community mediation center in 2005,” said board president Andrew P. Wilson.

No-host cocktails will be served at 5 p.m., with dinner served at 6 p.m. The buffet will feature three entrees — prime rib, Furikake salmon, and shrimp scampi over fettuccini — as well as salad, side dishes, and dessert.

Newton John Chu will emcee the gala event, which features a silent auction, live auction, and door prizes. Items up for bid include rounds of golf, adventure tours, entrance to local attractions, overnight stays, gift cards to restaurants and retail stores, artwork, gift baskets, flower arrangements, and more.

This year Kuikahi is giving ‘Peacemaker Awards’ to the Honorable Harry P. Freitas and the Honorable Barbara T. Takase, both District Court judges serving second terms in the Third Circuit.

“The value of the services provided by the Kuikahi Mediation Center cannot be measured in dollars and cents or even in time. What mediation affords litigants is a chance to participate in a confidential process in which a neutral third party helps people work out their differences to reach an agreed upon settlement. This agreement may include issues that would not or could not be dealt with if they decided to try the case in court,” Takase and Freitas said in a joint statement.

They added, “In court, the judge decides, based on the law and the facts which are allowed to be presented pursuant to the rules of evidence; and as participants are often told, most of the time, neither party is satisfied with a decision the court makes. In mediation, participants play an active part in and have a say in the outcome of their case. That is the value that cannot be measured.”

This fundraiser provides a significant portion of the funds that Kuikahi needs to provide free and low-cost dispute resolution services to the East Hawaii community.

More than half of Kuikahi’s clients are at or below the poverty level, meaning they are unable to pay even modest fees for their mediation sessions.

“Family Court could not succeed without the partnership of the mediation center,” said Family Court Judge Anthony K. Bartholomew, who is being honored by HCBA at the event. “I’ve begun thinking of mediation as one of the ‘healing arts’ because it resolves a form of trauma from the existence of the conflict. If you can help people resolve their conflict, it’s like a weight has been lifted, and people can move forward.”

Tickets for the Annual Dinner are $85 per person (of which $50 is tax deductible) and are available from Kuikahi’s board of directors and from Kuikahi’s office in The Hilo Lagoon Centre at 101 Aupuni Street, Suite PH 1014 B-2.

For reservations, contact Kuikahi Executive Director Julie Mitchell at 935-7844 x 116 or email julie@hawaiimediation.org.

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