Dearborn, MI - Keeping staff, clients and volunteers healthy during this global pandemic continues to be a priority for Wayne County Dispute Resolution Center (WCDRC). Like many universities and organizations, WCDRC is now providing online mediator training classes, approved by the Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO).
According to Siham Awada Jaafar, WCDRC board president, training volunteers and others to become mediators is an important part of the organization’s mission of helping change the culture of conflict in Wayne County.
WCDRC is one of 18 dispute resolution centers in Michigan and provides mediation services for Wayne County’s Third District Circuit, Juvenile, and Probate Courts as well as mediations for general civil, small claims, landlord-tenant, neighbor disputes, elder care and Child Protective Services.
“Shifting from a classroom setting to online can be a challenge,” said Jaafar. “However, we are fortunate to have Zena Zumeta, who is internationally known as both a mediator and trainer of mediators, to lead our upcoming training sessions. She also started conducting online mediation training before it became as necessary as it is today.”
Zumeta will be leading two upcoming online class sessions—one for General Civil Mediation in June and the second for Domestic Relations Mediation and Domestic Violence Screening training in July.
The SCAO-approved 40-hour training for General Civil Mediation will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day on June 4 - 6 and 12 - 13, 2020. Topics will include measuring mediation readiness, process explanation, using neutrality to draw out information, framing issues, confronting destructive behaviors, facilitating and crystallizing negotiated agreements, assisting parties in evaluating each proposed solution, and writing agreements.
The July session is an online SCAO-approved 40-hour Domestic Relations Mediation training and a required 8-hour Domestic Violence Screening Training. Sessions will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on July 9 - 11, 15 - 16, and 18, 2020. Topics include issues related to divorce, custody, parenting time, support, and screening for domestic violence. Both programs include multiple opportunities for role playing in small groups.
“40 hours can seem like a very long time,” said Zumeta. “However, at the end of the class participants talk about how much they learned and that the topics were really interesting and kept their attention. They tell me the time really flies by.”
Training participants will need a computer camera, Internet access and receive a manual along with case studies, discussion, role play exercises, and videotapes of mediations.
Zumeta added, “I love discussion and with the online format we use, I’ve found that people are eager to participate verbally as well as writing their questions and comments into the chat area.”
Registration is currently open for both online General Civil and Domestic mediation training sessions.
Jaafar added that many of the participants in WCDRC’s training sessions come from a wide variety of backgrounds including current or retired teachers, social workers, law students, attorneys and others who are interested in volunteering their services and giving back to the local community.
As class size is limited, early registration is highly recommended.