The Community Affairs team develops and implements programs and initiatives that help advance the mission of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations. The primary focus areas for this team are engagement and outreach, police-community relations, diversity and inclusion, strategic planning and community partnerships. This team also manages youth programs including peer mediation and conflict resolution training.
Community Relations recognizes that a key component of a thriving community is the ability of its residents to feel trust for those with whom they come into contact regularly, particularly those who may be perceived as being "different" – racially, ethnically, sexual/gender orientation, economically, geographically, politically or generationally. To bridge gaps and open lines of communication, trust and understanding, Community Relations periodically holds community forums inviting residents and local officials to build relationships through conversation, group discussion and even debate. Whether the topic revolves around schools, funding, violence or basic human rights, Community Relations, along with partner agencies like the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) and Community Building Initiative (CBI), feel strongly that honest dialogue can pave the way to a more inclusive Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Community dialogue programs are held several times a year, and residents are encouraged to inquire about upcoming programs that may be of interest.
Community Relations works closely with CMPD to develop trust and communication between officers and the community. Community Relations' community coordinators support the activities of CMPD, maintain contact with special interest and community groups, identify community needs and provide resources to meet those needs. They also work with officers to provide conflict resolution and de-escalation services to youth in schools across the community.
The Community Affairs team works hard to engage the youth throughout Charlotte-Mecklenburg by implementing new programs that focus on leadership, communication skills and relationship building.
As part of the youth programs, creating quality experiences is a priority for Community Affairs. Establishing opportunities for the youth to engage with leaders in local government, transportation, law enforcement and even sports has created lasting benefits. Through these types of programs, students (6th-12th grade) have the opportunity to:
Connect with each other through a shared learning experience
Engage with city leaders
Develop better communication and problem-solving skills
Engage with CMPD officers in an informal setting
Hear and learn from partner organizations across the community
In addition, various field trips, educational outings and youth-focused events are planned throughout the year to create a stronger connection between the work of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations and the community at-large.
PEER Mediation Program
The Community Affairs community coordinators work with pre-identified youth groups in various middle schools to train them on the foundation of conflict resolution and awareness. The groups are academically diverse and meet for at least 45 minutes per week. The goal is to provide them with the skills to effectively manage conflict and understand their own response styles when faced with challenging situations.
Community Affairs Brochure