Newly formed nonprofit aims to be a resource
By Ellen Pill
“We really want to work ourselves out of the job,” said Lydell Steiner, board member of Connexus. It’s an unexpected comment from a newly formed local nonprofit organization.
“We want to be a resource,” Steiner said.
The newly formed Wayne/Holmes County group stems from a belief that conflict is a natural part of living with others in every aspect of our lives: everything from family and friends to school, work, faith, volunteering and social advocacy.
According to their website, www.ourconnexus.com, “It is common for our culture to view conflict as something to be avoided rather than an opportunity for growth and restoration.”
Connexus was born to offer assistance and training in navigating conflict, whether that occurs by making a referral to a trained mediator to help a family or working with a community group to have an unaffiliated mediator present in a group meeting. The possibilities and the need for the nonprofit’s stated goal of “reconciling relationships and developing community through education and dialogue” are multi-faceted and seemingly endless.
“In essence the goals of our organization are to provide training and education in our community, developing healthy conflict-management skills for individuals to use in their homes, places of worship, work, schools and with neighbors,” Steiner said. “We believe strongly that using trained facilitators ... many conflicts large and small can be resolved in a healthy way, helping both sides achieve some of their goals, but more importantly guaranteeing that the issues are addressed rather than fighting, litigating or ignoring the conflict.”
Shifting a focus toward working through conflict can be viewed as coming to conversations and situations with a sense of curiosity and interest in the differing viewpoint rather than looking for a win/lose outcome.
A basis for many views of conflict-resolution training is the premise that if different viewpoints are pared down to the underlying issue, there is nearly always a shared common goal or need. That commonality may be a starting point toward resolution.
By coming together and listening to the other person’s story, true understanding can be achieved. There still may not be agreement, yet the way is paved for respect and a workable solution.
“We don’t reflect any certain worldview,” Steiner said. “Connexus wants to work within the many sectors of the community: neighbors, businesses, organizations, courts. We would love to see persons of a variety of backgrounds work with us and be part of the group.”
Steiner describes how people come to a situation with their own expectations, their own narrative or framework for the situation, whether it’s a disagreement between life partners, a conversation among neighbors or even the way we view a political situation.
“One narrative is that you have to push to get your own way. The other narrative is submissive: walk away and let it go, don’t ruffle the feathers. These two narratives are pushing and pulling the culture,” she said. “Conflicts in and of themselves are not the problem. Conflicts can be a positive thing and can help on focusing in helping direct and guide or shape vision. It’s how we engage with it. We want to change the narrative so people are comfortable saying, ‘I have a conflict.’”
What Connexus has set out to do will take a community of participants. They are open to anyone who has an interest in the mission regardless of skill set. Their “get involved” page has a few suggestions of roles to be filled including “cookies and more.” Connexus knows that it takes individuals coming together to do a lot of things to grow an organization and have an impact.
Connexus has upcoming events designed to get the word out. “We want more people to find us, and that is why we are doing these storytelling events,” Steiner said.
These events are free and open to the public. Conflicts Transformed is described as a storytelling event.
Conflicts Transformed Wayne County is Oct. 24 at 6:45 p.m. at the American Red Cross, 244 W. South St. in Wooster. Conflicts Transformed Holmes County is Nov. 7 at 6:45 p.m. at the Holmes County Public Library, 3102 Glen Drive in Millersburg.
For more information go to www.ourconnexus.com. Anyone interested in organizing refreshments for either event can contact Connexus via the website, by emailing them at email@example.com or by calling 330-960-1175.
Published: October 14, 2016
New Article ID: 2016710149981