As I watched the national news, I was pleased to hear that mediation is being used as a means to reach a resolution to the issues involving the mayor of San Diego. Mediation is a peaceful, non-judicial means to resolve many conflicts. Mediation services are available for little to no cost in every community throughout New York State through a network of Community Dispute Resolution Centers. Locally, Catholic Charities’ Dispute Resolution Center serves Chenango, Delaware and Otsego Counties. Dispute resolution services are available to anyone regardless of income, race, ethnicity, religion, age or sexual orientation.
Mediation is a process that is neutral, voluntary and confidential. Mediators are highly trained and committed volunteers who are able to remain neutral because they do not have a stake in the outcome of the mediation.
Individuals are empowered with the ability to talk to each other and to create their own resolution. Individuals who use an alternative dispute resolution process like mediation to resolve a dispute gain the knowledge that the process is individualized to them and can be used multiple times as needs change or new situations arise.
Disputes that are brought to mediation can often be resolved in less time and with less expense than traditional litigation through the court system. The types of disputes that can be resolved using mediation seem endless from very high-profile disputes like the situation in San Diego to parenting and family issues, divorce, elder issues, small claims, school-based disputes, workplace disputes, neighbor disputes, landlord/tenant issues and more.
Mediation is not about everyone getting everything that they want but is about helping individuals to work through their dispute and often reach a resolution that allows the individuals to move forward.
Christy R. Houck
Houck is program director for Catholic Charities of Delaware and Otsego Counties