The Higher Ground Initiative represents a truly holistic approach to addressing family and community conflict. At the heart of its mission is the conviction that, far from being a negative experience, conflict is a positive and necessary element for the betterment of relationships in families, communities, and cultural and ethnic groups. Conflict drives creative innovation and makes possible what may have seemed beyond reach: collaborative solutions to community challenges.

The very nature of the work of addressing and managing community conflict is the work of the community, and calls for the full participation of all members of the community. While our initial efforts have been initiated and refined in Carbondale and the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado, continuing research and practice are driven by the need to create models for conflict resolution that can be adapted for any community.


Why mediation?

There will always be situations that require competent legal assistance, but many disputes can be resolved more quickly and inexpensively by non-adversarial processes like mediation, group facilitation, family conferencing, and many others. The Higher Ground Initiative is dedicated to making such “alternative” dispute resolution (ADR) available to everyone in the community, from families in crisis to feuding neighbors, tenants and landlords, municipal organizations, and much more.

What’s the secret?

There isn’t any! Mediation and related processes may feel like “the best kept secret in town”, but already people and groups in all walks of life all around the world have discovered the benefits of ADR, some of which include:

* Faster resolution of disputes and disagreements

* Less expensive than legal processes

* More durable agreements made by the parties involved, NOT imposed by a judge.

What other developments does the new
Higher Ground Initiative 
 plan to introduce?

In addition to making mediation and other ADR practices more widely available, The Higher Ground Initiative will introduce a revolutionary approach to growing the field of mediation in ways that only a non-profit, commuity supported effort can. These include (just to name a few):

* More programs to raise public awareness of the benefits of ADR/mediation, including marketing and promotion of the field, workshops and community presentations, and events celebrating the power of individuals to resolve their own disputes with minimal outside help;

* Introduction of basic ADR skills at all levels of public and private education;

* Networking of ADR practitioners to create a collaborative field, benefiting the consumer with referrals to the best practitioner for your needs, and creating opportunities for professional development for all ADR professionals;

* And with perhaps the most innovative development, The Higher Ground Initiative will conduct community-specific research on the dynamics of community conflict, continuously reflecting on the quality of practice to better serve the community.


My name is David Troxel. I’ve been developing mediation programs and practicing mediation in Carbondale and on the Colorado Front Range since 2011, when I received my Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution from the Conflict Resolution Institute at the University of Denver. Prior to that, I took my B.A. in Sociology at the University of Colorado, with emphasis on the Sociology of Religion and Community Sustainability. I also graduated Summa cum laude and with Honors of Distinction  for my social/cultural research design.

In addition to my mediation practice, I’ve been involved for the past decade in developing non-profit court mediation programs, facilitating public forums, supporting community organizing initiatives, and assisting in juvenile Restorative Justice processes. Since 2015, I have also provided services to the Colorado District Courts as a Child and Family Investigator, working with families in crisis to help guide and support at-risk youth and recommend allocation of parental responsibilities to the court.