Each year a dozen Southwest Oklahomans agree to give their time and energy to become volunteer mediators through the Early Settlement Mediation Program. Comanche County, however, is a little short on mediators and needs some volunteers.

Sarah Head, the Early Settlement Southwest Program Director, has scheduled a two-day training session for meditators on Feb. 27 and 28 in Lawton. There is no cost for the training.

“Applicants must commit to complete 20 hours of volunteering in exchange for the training,” Head said, “but the majority of our volunteers continue with the program for many years. Our volunteers often report that they find mediating a personally rewarding and life-changing experience.”

Long time program volunteer Ron George 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 mediation process is.”

Mediation is a powerful tool for resolving disputes, Head said.

“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 Mediation Program is part of the Oklahoma Dispute Resolution system. The Southwest Program serves Comanche County and 11 additional counties in Southwest Oklahoma.

People interested in the training should contact the Early Settlement office at 580-581-5420, or email Head at earlysettlement@cameron.edu.

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