Mediation Center to offer informational seminar and training

MD-mediation center offers 3x-122714

Special to The Dorchester Banner/Mid Shore Community Meditation Center, Inc. Pictured from left, Dylan North, Perri Smith, Murph Brangenberg and Jenn Williams prepare to practice their skills using a role play format during a mediation training session.

EASTON — In addition to its upcoming basic mediation training for new volunteers, Mid Shore Community Mediation Center will offer an informational seminar for those interested in learning more about becoming trained mediators.

The free seminar will be held on Jan. 17, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., at the Talbot County YMCA in Easton. It is open to the public and registration is not necessary. Current volunteers and Mediation Center staff will offer information about mediation, the scope of training and the rewards of volunteering as a mediator. Volunteers from age 14 through senior citizens, from all backgrounds and walks of life, are welcome and encouraged.

The six-day basic mediation training itself will take place over three weekends beginning Feb. 28-March 1, at a mid-shore location to be announced. Subsequent sessions will be held March 7-8 and March 21-22. Attendance at all six full-day sessions is necessary to receive certification.

Advance registration is required for the limited spaces available for the training, and a screening process includes an application and interview. Applicants will receive information on session times and locations upon acceptance.
There is no cost for the training, but the organization asks for a commitment from volunteers to participate in the mediation services it offers to Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties.

The 50 hours of intensive and interactive training is led by experienced trainers from Community Mediation Maryland. In community mediation, parties come together with neutral, trained mediators to air differences and arrive at solutions to conflicts. Instead of top-down impositions of verdicts from judges or arbitrators, participants work out their own custom-tailored agreements that each party can accept and feel is fair.

During training, participants engage in role-playing situations with other volunteers, learning and practicing the mediation techniques that allow all parties to voice their sides in disputes and reach resolutions peacefully.
Mid Shore Mediation’s Executive Director Cynthia Jurrius emphasized that, while the training is intense, the skills learned are valuable in many areas of life. “Being a mediator is both challenging and highly worthwhile,” she added. “It is extremely rewarding to be helping others resolve their disputes in a productive manner, without resorting either to courts or to violence.”

Volunteers are trained not to judge who is right or wrong, nor do they give advice. “Mediators are trained,” explained Ms. Jurrius, “to provide a confidential process that helps people have conversations that can be transformative for difficult situations.”

Following the basic training, there is an apprenticeship and follow-up sessions where new volunteers work with experienced mediators to become more comfortable with the skills. Additional training may be acquired for specialized mediations, such as parent/teen and workplace mediations, separation and child custody plans, elder care mediations, large group facilitations and more.

Ms. Jurrius noted that the Center has been focused on promoting the entire range of mediation services it provides to its tri-county community, and that the use of mediation has grown significantly in the last few years.
“Our volunteer mediators are busy and we need more of them,” said Ms. Jurrius, encouraging anyone interested in learning more about the training to call for information.

To register for training, for more information on mediation, or to make a contribution, call Mid Shore Community Mediation Center at 410-820-5553 or visit www.midshoremediation.org.

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