The Upstate Mediation Center celebrated National Conflict Resolution Day
on October 15th by holding a reception to honor its volunteer mediators. At this years’ event, UMC Volunteer John Creech was awarded for conductingthe most mediations in 2015. Other volunteers honored at the reception include: Leah Parisi, Dave Messina, Bernie Ferrone, Don Vandersloot, Herb Burnham, Robert Tucker, and Duke and Becky Stern. Additionally, Jerri Smith was recognized by the UMC for her contributions to the UMC Magistrate Mediation Program with Greenville County.
Mediators at the UMC are practicing and retired attorneys, members of the mental health community and others with relevant backgrounds that have undergone
extensive training provided by the South Carolina Bar Association. Last year, UMC volunteer mediators handled over 600 cases. While the UMC offers all types of mediation services, most of the cases handled at the UMC are Family Court mediations. Accordingly, the UMC volunteers brought resolution to hundreds of families in transition. The UMC also provides all of the mediators for the Greenville County Pilot Magistrate Mediation Program—a program with an 80% resolution rate, saving the county 1000s of dollars each year.
The field of alternative dispute resolution has grown over the last few decades as there is now a recognition that not all cases need to be litigated to be resolved. Litigation is an expensive, time-consuming process, and there is always a risk of loss. Mediators are neutral and do not pick a side; instead they facilitate negotiation. Agreements reached by both parties have the buy-in and support of the participants, and are generally perceived as a fair resolution.
The UMC is the only non-profit organization in the Upstate dedicated to offering affordable, high-quality mediation services. It relies on the generous support of foundations, individuals and a grant from the S.C. Bar Foundation to keep its doors open.