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MidWeek Staff

Pledge To Try Mediation First To Solve Conflicts

By Jerry Clay, president of the board, Mediation Center of the Pacific

When young parents are locked in a battle over custody and access to their child, mediation helps. When family members struggle with how best to care for aging parents, mediation can produce creative solutions in regard to guardianship, competency and estate matters. When people are separated not just on the issues, but by geography, the use of technology at Mediation Center of the Pacific helps keep communications open.

Founded in 1979, Mediation Center of the Pacific provides affordable mediation and dispute resolution services to more than 6,000 people directly every year.

Those services touch thousands more indirectly, allowing healing to take place and relationships to continue.

The ability of the Mediation Center to be of service is enhanced through its collaborations with the four other community mediation centers throughout the state, the Hawaii State Judiciary, the Department of Education and the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. While the Center’s accomplishments are significant, there is more to be done.

The public is generally unaware of the availability of mediation. About nine percent of the Center’s cases are self-referrals – and of these, less than half actually get to use mediation because the other party does not understand it, or declines to participate.

Taking the Pledge

That is why the Center is engaged in an effort to get more organizations to take a pledge to try mediation first when conflicts arise. Rather than become adversaries in the judicial system, members of community groups, churches and other organizations are encouraged to negotiate customized agreements to resolve disputes. A searchable database will allow people to check if the other party in a dispute has taken the pledge. This opens the door to mediation.

The Board of the Mediation Center is reaching out to encourage more people to take the pledge. Call Jerry Clay at 535-8405 or email gclay@paclawteam.com to have someone speak to your group about how taking the pledge can help repair and improve relationships. For more information go to mediatehawaii.org.

Hawaii charitable organizations may send requests for space in either Proof Positive or the free advertisement below to dchapman@midweek.com.

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