The Dayton Mediation Center has been helping area residents resolve conflicts for more than three decades. Now, they intend to move their plans to grow along faster due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The center has assisted from issues varying from parking space arguments to divorce. The center uses about 70 volunteers and handle approximately two thousand conflicts every year.
In the past, most of the mediation was done in-person, but that is not an option amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Some affiliated with the center believe that it is not all bad.
According to Mediation Specialist Arch Grieve, plans to expand were put on hold when the safe-at-home guidance was issued. The center began offering online mediation services led by staff members to those in the community who needed mediation during the pandemic. Grieve explains, “We have gotten to a point now where we are pretty comfortable doing mediations as staff members. Now, we are trying to get the volunteers involved at this point. And so, we have created a list of volunteers who can mediate through the week, and then we are going to start reaching out to them so that we can get them involved in some cases again.”
The center reports a spike in cases since a remote option for the program was launched. Grieve believes this is likely because virtual services are offered. He speculates more people are willing to participate because they do not need to be face-to-face to work through their issues, even though they are still using an alternative dispute resolution tool.