Opinion

VOLUNTEER VIEW: Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center helps manage conflict

Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center was established in 1992 and had about 100 volunteers in 2014.

Purpose: Provide and promote constructive and collaborative approaches to conflict through mediation, training, facilitation, and community education.

Recognizing conflict is a natural part of life, and sometimes people need support, the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center provides mediation, facilitation and coaching services. Mediation empowers clients to reach mutually beneficial, lasting solutions through conversations guided by professional mediators.

Seeking to build community capacity to manage conflict and minimize its occurrence in their lives, the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center provides training and community education. Classes are offered for adults to build their conflict, communication or mediation skills. Youth classes support young people to build healthy relationships and resolve conflict without aggression through free workshops in schools, organizations and the juvenile justice system.

While conflict continues to permeate our community, the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center envisions a community in which people approach conflict in creative and healthy ways.

Volunteer highlights: Leveraging volunteer support is critical, enabling us to manage costs while maximizing available human resources to meet the community’s needs. Our programs are dependent upon collaborative efforts of a robust volunteer pool of board members, professional mediators, practicum students and administrative volunteers. “Interning with the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center has been significant to my professional and personal development. I had the opportunity to take their Understanding Conflict Workshop, which allowed me to see WDRC’s mission at work, while developing practical, necessary life skills,” Haley Herrin, program outreach intern, said. “Utilizing my skills to complete outreach projects was fulfilling, as I always saw the impact of my work. With a collaborative atmosphere and supportive culture, the WDRC works miracles in this community through their mediation and education programs. I am a proud volunteer of the WDRC. I can say with confidence that the skills I honed will stick with me throughout my professional life.​”

Signature fundraiser: 13th Annual Peace Builder Awards Gala, Nov. 13..

Wish list: Cash donations — $25-$99 supports parents in learning to help children through family changes; $100-$249 helps neighbors resolve disputes without litigation; $250-$499 provides a family access to mediation services; $500-$999 provides workshops for youth to build conflict resolution skills.

Volunteer needs: Contact Leah at wdrc@whatcomdrc.org, 360-676-0122, or visit the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center at 13 Prospect St. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Volunteer application online at whatcomdrc.org. Current volunteer openings include custodian, youth program facilitators, outreach intern, mediators , board members, training class assistant.

For more information, go online to whatcomdrc.org.

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