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Group gathers at Hagerstown church to celebrate Conflict Resolution Day

Washington County Community Mediation Center, Inc., offers free help to local residents to help them resolve differences

October 18, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

A group people gathered at Bridge of Life church on South Potomac Street on Thursday night to recognize the growing use of conflict resolution in the county to resolve differences between people.

The Washington County Community Mediation Center, Inc., offers free help to local residents to help them resolve any differences they are having with other people.

Jack Carpenter, executive director of the organization, said although the organization’s caseload is growing, he thinks there are many other people who do not know the organization exists. And many people also have misunderstandings about the group, Carpenter said.

Carpenter emphasized that his organization does not offer advice or make suggestions to people about how to resolve a conflict.

When people come to the organization for help, Carpenter said the people are asked what kind of outcome they would like to see.

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Then Washington County Community Mediation Center workers such as mediators go to work on helping people reach their goals, Carpenter said.

Most of the cases handled by the organization involve interpersonal relationships, Carpenter said.

Carpenter and others gathered at Bridge of Life church at 7 p.m. to celebrate Conflict Resolution Day 2012, a day set aside to recognize the work of conflict resolution worldwide.

Speaking during the event was Dave Gysberts, president of the board of directors for the Washington County Community Mediation Center.

Gysberts recalled becoming interested in conflict resolution at Salisbury University.

Gysberts relayed some of his favorite quotes related to his group’s work, including one from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“For every minute you are angry. You lose 60 seconds of happiness,” Gysberts said.

The Washington County Community Mediation Center has been in existence since 2002, Carpenter said.

Between January and September last year, the mediation center addressed 254 cases and 79 of them were handled by a mediator, said Carpenter.

During the same time period this year, the organization has addressed 376 cases and 144 of them were handled by a mediator, said Carpenter.

Carpenter said area police, court systems and others refer cases to his organization.

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