Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center honored its valued cadre of volunteers on February 17 with a Volunteer Appreciation Party at Hilo Bay Café. Forty-seven volunteers, staff, and board members attended the festive event, whose theme for Valentine’s month was, “We Heart our Volunteers.”
“We were humbled to name Joan Shafer as our Volunteer of the Year for 2016,” said Ku‘ikahi Executive Director Julie Mitchell. “Joan is one of our most active mediators, helping at small claims court and our offices. In 2016, she conducted over 40 mediation sessions. Joan is also a volunteer facilitator and trainer who gives tirelessly of her time, talents, and treasures to helps our communities find solutions and grow peace.”
During fiscal year 2015-2016, 155 volunteers total gave over 2,467 hours of service at the non-profit community mediation center, including 40 mediators and apprentices who gave over 1,370 mediation hours.
“You are the heart of our organization’s efforts to build a more peaceful and collaborative community in East Hawai‘i,” noted board president Jeff Melrose in the event program. “Thank you for all you do!”
At the appreciation party, Arabel Camblor and Shakti Hoku Douglas were recognized for completing their mediator apprenticeships.
“Most people don’t know that our mediation services are provided entirely by professionally trained volunteer mediators,” Mitchell said. “These are amazing folks from all walks of life and career backgrounds who donate their time to help community members resolve issues that matter to them.”
Mediators go through a four-day Basic Mediation Training in the fall and then a year-long apprenticeship program before being selected to become Ku‘ikahi mediators. In addition, mediators take continuing education to increase their skills and knowledge, especially in specialized areas like domestic mediations, employee and employer civil rights cases, and mediations for kupuna and their caregivers.
Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center provides mediations for a wide variety of situations, including divorce, child custody and parenting time, elder issues, neighbor-to-neighbor, consumer-merchant, real estate, landlord-tenant, workplace, business, small and large group facilitations, and more. For more information, call 935-7844 or visit www.hawaiimediation.org.