This is National Volunteer Week! CMC wants to celebrate our talented volunteer mediators without whom we could not do what we do. Volunteers are essential for CMC to provide mediation services to those regardless of their ability to pay and to mediate in a way that allows ordinary people to make decisions and resolve their own disputes on their own terms. At any given moment, CMC is lucky to have 50 or more mediators who send us their availability every month and stand ready to mediate when a case is set.
In our photo, you will see two of our best and most prolific mediators, Emil “Bud” Muly and Marita Vornehm. They’ve both been mediating for CMC for 20 years, and when you add up what they’ve done, they’ve mediated more than 750 mediations between them, many of them as co-mediators in our Day of Court Civil Sessions Mediation Program. They do what good volunteers do—they show up, and they provide excellent mediation service for folks who need it, giving freely of their time and considerable experience.
At any given moment, CMC is lucky to have 50 or more mediators who send us their availability every month and stand ready to mediate when a case is set. Our staff program directors stay busy conducting intakes and screenings to make sure mediation is the safe and appropriate choice for disputants, and so the mediation can be scheduled efficiently with two available co-mediators.
CMC defines “best practice” of mediation by looking to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 which provides guidance and regulation of the mediation profession in Tennessee, including volunteer mediators. We also model our Center on the 10 Hallmarks put forth by the National Association For Community Mediation (NAFCM).
A Community Mediation Center:
- Is a private non-profit or public agency or program thereof, with mediators, staff and governing/advisory board representative of the diversity of the community served.
- Use trained community volunteers as providers of mediation services.
- Strives and is committed to providing mediation to all people in their community.
- Provides direct access to the public through self-referral and strives to reduce barriers to service including physical, linguistic, cultural, programmatic and economic barriers.
- Provides service to clients regardless of their ability to pay.
- Provides service and hiring without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, disabilities, national origin, marital status, personal appearance, gender orientation or identity, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, or source of income.
- Provides a forum for dispute resolution at the earliest stage of a conflict.
- Provides an alternative to the judicial system at any stage of a conflict.
- Initiates, facilitates and educates for collaborative community relationships to affect positive systemic change.
- Engages in public awareness and educational activities about the values and practices of mediation.
Volunteers exemplify that the practice of mediation is open to all. They are often CMC’s greatest referral source because they know how mediation works and how many advantages and benefits it offers. Through their volunteer mediation, they are always striving to figure out how to reduce barriers to service including linguistic, cultural, programmatic and economic. Volunteers are the face of CMC in our community and are always engaged in public awareness-raising and educating about our values and mediation practice!