Program on Understanding Mediation Set for Nov. 13

11/5/10 ASHLAND, OH -- Shelly Whalen, executive director of Community Mediation Services of Central Ohio, will be presenting the program "Understanding Mediation and How It Works" on Saturday, Nov. 13, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Kroc Center (Salvation Army), 527 E. Liberty, Ashland.

Whalen will explain mediation and demonstrate how mediation works. The program is free and open to anyone interested in learning about mediation.

The Ashland Center for Nonviolence at Ashland University (ACN) and The Salvation Army (Kroc Center) have embarked on a project to bring community-based mediation to Ashland County.  Mediation works to empower the disputants to solve their own dispute and to create agreements that meet their needs. It strengthens the social fabric of the community.

Whalen has been working with the Ashland Center for Nonviolence and the Kroc Center (Salvation Army) to train mediators. The ultimate goal of both groups is to develop a mediation program for the community.

For more than 20 years, Whalen has refined a program of training and certifying mediators. She is highly recommended by individuals who have already trained with her. Her training and testing procedures will enable the two groups to jump into this process with the expectation of having immediate successes. ACN believes that a local mediation program will prosper through word-of-mouth endorsements based on good results right from the start.

ACN and Kroc Center expect to begin in the next few months with a small group of volunteer mediators who will handle such cases as disputes between neighbors, adult children and families, and landlords and tenants. Eventually situations such as divorce, custody and workplace disputes will be mediated.

"We have developed an advisory council made up of the agencies which will be referring people to mediation," ACN Director John Stratton said. "This council includes people from Job and Family Services, Mental Health and Recovery Board, Ashland Parenting Plus, Council on Aging, Ashland Municipal Court, the Ashland Ministerial Alliance, the Landlords Association and the Chief of Ashland City Police. More local organizations will be added. From this Advisory Council, we are developing a Steering Committee to monitor the day-to-day details of setting up the program and implementing it."

The first group of volunteer mediators has had basic mediation training paid for by the ACN. They need further training and certification in order to be ready to take on mediation cases. A second group of trained and certified mediators will allow mediation to reach more people and to create more of a presence in the community.

Using estimates developed through local social agencies, the ACN expects to directly affect about 700 people per year. About one-fourth will be through formal mediations; the others will get help managing their conflicts through referral, through coaching, or through other forms of conciliation.

The mediation program is a partnership between the Salvation Army and the Ashland Center for Noviolence.

The Ashland Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center  (the Salvation Army) provides  community programs and services that encourage positive living, offer life-changing experiences for children and adults, strengthen families, and enrich the lives of seniors. These programs and services promote educational enrichment, life skills development, and spiritual and physical wellness. In accordance with the Christian mission of The Salvation Army, these resources are offered without discrimination to uplift individuals and benefit those in need.

The Ashland Center for Nonviolence, located on the campus of Ashland University, is committed to exploring and promoting alternatives to violence in ourselves, our families, our communities and our world. For more information about this event, or to learn more about the Ashland Center for Nonviolence, please call 419-289-5313 or visit us online at www.ashland.edu/acn<http://www.ashland.edu/acn>.

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