November 9, 2012

Volunteers needed to mediate in local courts

The Express-Star

— Learning how to help people resolve conflicts and move on with their lives can be very rewarding, according to a group of volunteers who do just that.

Each year dozens of Oklahomans agree to give their time and energy to become a volunteer mediator through the Early Settlement Mediation Program. Grady County, however, is a little short on mediators and needs some volunteers to assist with both community- and court-related disputes.

Kathy King, the Early Settlement East Central program director, has scheduled a two-day training session for mediators on Nov. 27-28 in Chickasha. There is no cost for the training.

Joyce Belville, a local program volunteer, believes that Chickasha and the surrounding area gains by having Early Settlement in the community.  “Early Settlement provides a resource for helping those in need of mediation through no cost, professional services.  It has a reputation of caring for the needs of the community residents during a very stressful period in their lives.”  

Mediation is a powerful tool for resolving disputes, King pointed out.  “Seeing people resolve their issues, mend relationships and move beyond bitterness is very satisfying,” said King. “It amazes me how effective the process can be.”

“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 program is part of the Oklahoma Dispute Resolution System. The East Central Program serves Grady County and eight additional counties in east central Oklahoma. It is located at East Central University in Ada, in the Center of Continuing Education and Community Services.

Persons interested in the training should contact the Early Settlement office at 580-559-5674, or email King at For more information about the Early Settlement Mediation Program visit .