Mediation seen as option in conflict resolution at AVC
Classes at Antelope Valley College
LANCASTER, Calif.—Because California is known for lawsuits and other types of court cases, mediation and peer mediation is becoming a growing option for individuals, families, feuding friends and companies. In fact, most cases that choose mediation settle at a reasonably happy medium.
Allan Stitt, author of “Mediation: A Practical Guide,” writes that 70-80 percent of cases that voluntarily go to mediation settle.
Mediation, according to beyondinteractability.org, is a process in which a neutral third party assists in resolving a dispute between two or more parties. Typically, a resolution is established by the feuding parties with the help of the third-party “middleman.” If disputes can be resolved outside of the court, it saves money, time, and stress for everyone involved.
Linda Hughes, a mediator with a law degree, says the benefits of mediation truly have a financial impact, especially in the current state of America.
“I believe that because of our economic times, no one can really afford attorneys and are looking for more accessible ways to resolve conflicts,” Hughes explained.
Mediation is a free service provided by the Los Angeles County courts, but options are available outside the system through private offices. The cost of filing a lawsuit, acquiring a lawyer, and possibly paying a psychologist to deal with the stress of the case can cost the worth of a brand-new car. Mediation can be free or only cost a few thousand dollars, depending on where complainants seek the service.
Also, Hughes believes mediation is a great option, especially for minority communities.
“I think it’s important in the African American and Latino communities because it’s a way to stay out of the system,” she shared. “We often get caught up with law enforcement of the Department of Child Services. There are so many instances we can empower ourselves without the state intervening. Once you get the state involved, it’s nearly impossible to get them out.”
She added that on school campuses from elementary on up, conflict resolution between students helps prevent authorities from intervening, which many times result in severe consequences such as suspension, expulsion, or even arrest.
Not only is mediation a reasonable way to resolve conflicts, it’s also a viable career option. Antelope Valley College is offering a seven-session course to anyone desiring a way to enhance their current occupation, or to simply be a conflict-resolution volunteer in the community.
Hughes, who is the class instructor, has been training mediators for more than 20 years. Her journey began at the Southern California Leadership Conference back in the ’80s. Because of its versatility, she has been able to practice mediation for the same amount of time, serving those in the community and in the courts.
Through this intensive certification course, students will learn the key skills in mediation. Hughes says listening is an essential focal point.
“The primary thing is listening skills. People underestimate the importance of that,” she said. “You’re going to need analytical skills, but you can’t make an analysis without listening, Many times the root cause of issues is communication.”
Mediators have the potential of making anywhere from $35,000 to $92,000 a year, according to PayScale.
Trainees also learn how to use neutral language and to truly be the objective person between parties. Hughes says the class is not limited by age. Students from the elementary level on up have the opportunity of benefiting from the information shared.
To learn more about the course or to enroll, call (661) 722-6300.
Ask for the operator of Corporate & Community Services. Classes have already begun, but make-up opportunities are available for those interested. The class is held every Saturday at AVC.
A memorial service is planned May 31 beginning at 1 p.m. at United Methodist Church, 918 W. Ave. J, for former college trustee Don Ross. He would have been 97.
Ross, an author, engineer, Air Force veteran and former Antelope Valley College (AVC) trustee died May 3 in Lancaster, according to his son, Gary Ross.
Ross had served on the college board 32 years until he stepped down in 1999.
Ross retired as deputy director of the Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base in 1971.
Erin E. Vines, Ph.D., has been hired as Antelope Valley College (AVC) vice president of student services, effective June 17.
On a unanimous 5-0 vote, college district trustees recently chose Vines over three other finalists.
Vines currently serves as dean of counseling and special services at Solano Community College in Fairfield.
He has a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Southern California and a master’s from University of LaVerne.
Antelope Valley College (AVC) hosts its 18th semi-annual career information and job fair April 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on campus in the Fine Arts Quad, 3041 West Avenue K, Lancaster.
The job fair is open to AVC students as well as job seekers from the general public.
An estimated 80 representatives from companies in the Antelope Valley and surrounding areas are expected to set up booths. To get a detailed list of businesses expected to attend, visit the web site www.myavc.edu, click on student services and then job placement.
Hunter Dodge owners Tim and Tom Fuller have donated a vehicle called the Gem car to the city of Lancaster for use as a proactive patrol and citizen-protection tool at various events and locations in the city.
“The city is extremely grateful for this donation,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Tim and Tom Fuller have been wonderful city partners and have really stepped up the level of support the city receives from community stakeholders. Thank you to the Fullers for this public safety jewel.”