After Michael Jonas walked across the Thomas Jefferson School of Law graduation stage in June 2009, he decided to use his “lawyering skills” to make a change.
Jonas has always had an interest in social change. By combining mediation, law, community outreach, and communication-based problem solving, he started a company called GRASP Mediation, which is a San Diego-based public interest conflict resolution company (www.graspmediation.com).
“Our team has extensive conflict resolution experience combined with skills and training relating to anti-violence educational program development, litigation, restorative justice, community outreach, and non-profit program development,” Jonas explains.
The goal of the GRASP is to offer not just traditional mediation services for legal cases, but also business and community services. One of the community services is called “istandup4respect” focuses on youth and conflict resolution. To give back to the community, the company is trying to start an annual tradition in San Diego called “Respect Week”.
“Respect Week” will take place the week of October 15,” says Jonas. The program focuses on anti-violence education, youth services and peer training. “Respect Week” educates against bullying and promotes respect by encouraging students to keep an open mind, to speak freely of issues that affect them, and to hear from others that they are not alone.”
Jonas says the reason he and his company are taking this issue on is because
GRASP recognizes that in recent years, bullying among youth has increased exponentially with detrimental impacts. “Bullying has branched out past the traditional ‘sticks-and-stones’ issues that past generations have had to deal with,” says Jonas. “New forms of bullying have emerged due to advances in technology and availability to youth. GRASP wants to go beyond bullying by targeting the root issues and focusing on respecting others and yourself.”
Jonas is inviting public participation from community organizations, businesses, parents and students in this movement.
“We are currently looking for community partners and sponsors for vital components of this program,” he says.
“Your support can be pivotal to the success and prevention of the damaging effects of bullying,” Jonas says. “I stand up for respect. Please stand with me for the youth of San Diego.”