Garvin County residents will soon be among those in the region who can get involved in a program designed to help solve some types of court disputes.

Another free basic training session is now scheduled later in January for the Early Settlement East Central Mediation Program.

The training is for qualified adults wanting to become volunteer court mediators in Garvin, Hughes, Okfuskee, Coal, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.

The free, 20-hour mediation training is set for Jan. 30-31 at the East Central University campus in Ada as anyone interested is encouraged to contact the Early Settlement – East Central office to request a volunteer mediator application form.

The training course serves as the first step in being certified as a mediator under the authority of the Oklahoma Dispute Resolution Act of 1983 and the rules and procedures outlined by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

No specific pre-training or personal background is required to receive the training, but candidates should have good communication skills and the ability to maintain neutrality and confidentiality.

A participant should be willing to volunteer a small portion of their time in the community or area where they reside.

The training is designed to develop communication skills and techniques that will enable participants to assist disputing parties in finding a workable solution to conflicts.

The Early Settlement and Alternative Dispute Resolution Systems are administered by the Oklahoma Administrative Office of the Courts.

Twelve Early Settlement offices are located throughout Oklahoma so that each of the state's 77 counties has a designated program to serve its residents.

During fiscal year 2019, the Early Settlement centers handled over 6,000 cases and held over 4,300 mediations.

The number of mediations resulting in resolution of all issues was an overall rate of 70 percent.

Seating is limited for the training, so individuals interested in participating should contact the Early Settlement office at 580-559-5674 or by email at earlysettlement@ecok.edu for more information.

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