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While some people find retirement as a time to relax, Chickasha resident Joyce Belville decided to use her time and talents to help others.

Just a few days after retiring from 36 years of service at Fort Sill in Lawton, she attended the Early Settlement Mediation’s Basic Training in 2009.

Three years later, Belville has been selected as Early Settlement-East Central Volunteer of the Year.

The Early Settlement-East Central Program is one of 11 statewide that serves communities and local courts by training and providing local volunteers to assist with conflict resolution. The Administrative Office of the Courts administers the program while East Central University serves as the East Central Program sponsor.

“Joyce’s dedication, professionalism, and outstanding skills as a mediator make her selection as ES-EC Volunteer of the Year simple,” said Early Settlement-East Central Program Director Kathy King. “When a case is assigned to her, I’m confident the parties are in good hands.”

After first reading about the mediation training in the local newspaper, Belville contacted the Early Settlement Program for information.

“To learn that Early Settlement provided a free service for those needing mediation, saving them money from possible attorney fees and court costs and giving those involved the power to make their own decisions concerning the most important things in their lives, sold me on the value of the program” she said.

Belville is certified to mediate with Early Settlement through the Oklahoma Supreme Court. She mediates small claims and civil cases as well as family and divorce cases.

“During my career at Fort Sill in the Legal Assistance Office, I had attended some mediation training which was very helpful in my responsibilities in assisting immigration and naturalization clients, as the post’s victim/witness coordinator, and administering the tax assistance program,” said Belville.

She believes mediation is never a waste, particularly in divorce cases where children are involved.

“At mediation, the parties learn to have better communication with the other parent. Working together is helpful as they must continue to co-parent in the future,” Belville said. “Early Settlement provides a resource for helping those needing mediation through no-cost professional services. It has a reputation of caring for the needs of community residents during a very stressful period in their lives.”

The Early Settlement Program serving the East Central Oklahoma area is located at East Central University in the Center of Continuing Education and Community Services. It includes Garvin, Grady, Hughes, McClain, McIntosh, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie and Seminole Counties.

Those interested in obtaining more information about the Early Settlement mediation Program or training to become a volunteer can contact the ES-EC office at 580-559-5674 or email Kathy King at More information can also be found on the program website:


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