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Mediation honoree uses skills to help kids and adults

July 07, 2011|By JANET HEIM | janeth@herald-mail.com
  • Robin Miller is the Washington County Community Mediation Center's Volunteer of the Year.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

MAUGANSVILLE — Robin Miller spends her days caring for and negotiating with youngsters at her home daycare. Her training as a mediator for the Washington County Community Mediation Center comes in handy as she helps little ones and adults work out their own solutions when there’s a problem.

“I can use it in my day and my own life,” Miller said.

Miller, 46, recently was recognized as the mediation center’s Community Mediation Volunteer of the Year at the annual dinner of Maryland mediation centers May 14 in Annapolis.

She said her involvement with the Community Mediation Center began in 2008 when she read about a training event in the newspaper.

“I was looking for a volunteer opportunity to get out of the house,” Miller said.

She has been providing daycare in her home for 16 years and liked the fact that she could schedule her volunteer time with training and mediations for evenings and weekends.

Miller said she was trying to do two mediations a week, about a three-hour commitment per mediation. Just recently, though, more of the mediations are being scheduled during daytime hours in the work week, she said.

Miller said the center is getting more court-related cases, which require additional training. She has mediated landlord-tenant, marital and parent-child cases.

“There’s conflict in all different ways. It does make you thankful for everything you have,” Miller said.

She said the free training provides mediators with a five-step process to guide those in conflict, ending with a written agreement.

“The idea is to let them brainstorm their own ideas. We don’t take sides,” Miller said.

She said it was a “pleasant surprise” when she learned she had been chosen as Volunteer of the Year, although Miller said she prefers being out of the spotlight.

“I like to take a backseat. I go because I enjoy it,” Miller said.
Miller, whose maiden name is Guessford, was born in Washington County. She grew up in Greencastle, Pa., and moved back to the county in the late 1980s, after graduating from Greencastle-Antrim Senior High School in 1983. Miller takes classes at Hagerstown Community College when time and finances permit, working toward an associate degree.

She married Richard Miller 22 years ago and they have two children, a 21-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son. They live near Maugansville.

Robin Miller said she would encourage others to get involved with the Washington County Community Mediation Center.

“If there are people who enjoy helping others, it’s a good way to give back to the community. I believe there is always a demand for volunteers. It’s definitely eye-opening,” Miller said.

Basic mediation training is being offered weekends in September, the only time the training is offered this year.

WCCMC offers mediation at no cost to Washington County residents, in a voluntary confidential process with professionally trained, nonjudgmental mediators, according to a press release.

For more information, go to www.wccmc.org/home or call the WCCMC office at 301-665-9262.

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