Mid Shore Community Mediation Center recently held its Annual Meeting and Conflict Resolution Day celebration. About thirty mediators, board members and staff came together for an evening of dinner, music and dialogue.
Executive Director Peter Taillie commended the volunteer mediators who make the nonprofit organization’s no-cost services possible. “I know the hard work the people in this room do,” he said. “Our commitment and shared interest in peaceful solutions give us a camaraderie and caring you don’t find in most places.”
Only four years old, the organization is helping more clients in its three-county area of service than ever before. With thirty percent more mediation sessions than the previous year, Taillie indicated that they were on track for another banner month in November, having conducted a record six mediations in one day the previous week.
While he described Mid Shore Community Mediation Center as “alive, well and growing,” he also noted that the courts and the communities are demanding higher and more consistent standards of practice in mediators throughout the state.
Taillie expects Community Mediation Maryland to implement role-based evaluations within the next five years as part of a state certification program for mediators. The Mediation Center is preparing its own volunteers in advance of that program by offering refresher courses to keep their skills at the highest level.
Further enhancing its mediators’ proficiency, the Center is encouraging volunteers to take part in the Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence Mentorship Program. Experienced, active mediators pair up as mentors with either trainees or mediators who have not been recent active volunteers.
Organization excellence was the focus of Mediation Center Board President Peter Rohman’s remarks, as he described the need for new individuals to fill openings on the Board of Directors. “We look to the board to help the whole operation run better,” he said.
“Our board members are people with excellent work and life experiences,” Rohman added, noting that they need not be mediators. “We would love to have individuals from all the counties and communities we serve.”
While there is no cost for the services that the Mediation Center provides, administering the program has expenses that must be met with grant funding and donations. Board Member Judy Anglada announced a challenge pledge from a benefactor offering to match donations from mediators.
“With the gift of mediation training comes responsibility,” she noted. Anglada encouraged mediators to “show up and volunteer” in addition to supporting the organization with their donations.
Taillie concluded the evening with individual recognition of volunteers and staff for their contributions to the organization’s successful year. He thanked Steve and Ali Quillan, the musical duo Kindred Spirits, for providing the evening’s entertainment, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship for hosting the event.
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.