“Mid Shore Community Mediation Center continues to grow as a conflict resolution resource for Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot Counties. The nonprofit organization has steadily expanded the types of mediations offered since its founding three years ago.
Growing awareness of the availability of this no-cost service has increased the number of mediations conducted by its team of volunteer mediators. “”The challenge is keeping up with the popularity of our service,”” said Mediation Center Executive Director Peter Taillie. “”It’s really catching on.””
Funding for its services comes from individual donations, foundation and other grants, and the judiciary. Taillie noted that, in these uncertain economic times, keeping up financially with the organization’s success is part of the challenge, even with its primarily volunteer work base.
While referrals from agencies and the court system continue to steer new clients to the Mediation Center, Taillie said that more and more individuals are reaching out to the organization after hearing about mediation from those who have used it successfully. “”Our biggest challenge, however, is building awareness within the low-income community of the availability of this free service that helps people take control of their lives,”” he added.
The mediation process brings parties involved in a dispute together with neutral mediators in order to work out a resolution agreeable to both sides. “”Mediation transforms ‘me against you’ into ‘us against the problem,'”” Taillie explained. “”Collaborating to a mutual resolution allows problems to be solved in a win/win manner, preserving or restoring damaged relationships.”” Often, the process keeps conflicts from becoming court issues.
Types of mediation offered by the Center that may require special training include parent/teen conflicts, separation mediations, conflicts involving elder issues and workplace disputes. As these and its other mediation services catch on with the public, the organization is reaching out to the community for more volunteers in several areas.
Basic mediation training will be offered in November and Taillie is hoping to recruit a full class of new mediators. Since the organization attempts to match mediators with clients so that parties feel comfortable that their views are being heard, volunteers of all ages and ethnic backgrounds are needed, including teens.
Mid Shore Community Mediation Center Board President Peter Rohman noted that carefully growing the board is just as important as growing the organization. The Board of Directors is currently working on the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations Standards for Excellence program. Rohman welcomed volunteers from all sectors of the community, interested in either serving on the board or as mediators, to join in the organization’s commitment to resolving conflict peacefully.
For more information on mediation, to make a contribution, or to volunteer as a mediator, call Mid Shore Community Mediation Center at 410-820-5553 or visit www.midshoremediation.org.”