Learning how to help people resolve conflicts and move on with their lives can be very rewarding, according to a group of volunteers who do just that.
Each year dozens of Oklahomans agree to give their time and energy to become a volunteer mediator through the Early Settlement Mediation Program. Garvin County, however, is a little short on mediators and needs some volunteers to assist with both community- and court-related disputes.
Kathy King, the Early Settlement East Central program director, has scheduled a two-day training session for mediators on May 14 and 15 at the University of Oklahoma School of Law in Norman. There is no cost for the training, and additional training dates may be available.
“Applicants must commit to complete 20 hours of volunteering in exchange for the training,” King said, “but many volunteers continue with the program for many years. Our volunteers often report they find mediating a personally rewarding and life-changing experience.”
Program volunteer Frank Minkner said investing in the lives of people in conflict is worth the time and effort.
“Seeing people resolve their issues, mend relationships and move beyond bitterness is very satisfying,” he said. “It amazes me how effective the process can be.”
Mediation is a powerful tool for resolving disputes, King pointed out.
“When people are empowered to make their own decisions and given the opportunity to listen to each other in a non-judgmental atmosphere, they are capable of resolving their own conflict,” she said. “And the outcome will be something that satisfies everyone’s needs.”
The Early Settlement program is part of the Oklahoma Dispute Resolution System. The East Central Program serves Garvin County and nine additional counties in east central Oklahoma. It is located at East Central University in Ada, in the Center of Continuing Education and Community Services.
Persons interested in the training should contact the Early Settlement office at 580-559-5674, or email King at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Early Settlement Mediation Program visit www.earlysettlement.net.