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The holidays are over, and the new year has begun. This is the time of year many of us make resolutions to change our lifestyles to improve our health. We resolve to exercise more, eat healthier, quit a habit, learn something new, etc. Maybe we should consider the physical and emotional health benefits we will reap when we resolve the ongoing unresolved conflicts in our lives.

Consider how much healthier it would be to not have the stress, discomfort, awkwardness, or trepidation at our family or work gatherings throughout the year. How different would it be if next year’s holiday gatherings could include all of our family members? We all experience conflicts and probably never consider taking them to mediation. Too often people in conflict believe their conflict has to reach epic proportions before seeking a dispute resolution process such as mediation, or they believe a situation might be too far gone to resolve. However, mediation can be very helpful at any stage of a conflict.

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Mediation can be used to improve communication or to prevent escalation; it can be used as a dispute gets more contentious; and it can be used even in situations that have gone on for years. It is not too late to make a change — relationships matter.

Unlike some of our other resolutions, resolving conflicts does not have to cost you anything but your time. Mediation is a nonjudgmental process that is voluntary and confidential. The Carroll County Community Mediation Center (CCCMC) provides no-cost mediation services seven days a week, typically between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at locations all over Carroll County.

Getting started is easy — just call our office at 410-848-1764 or email us at CCCMC@Carrollcc.edu. A staff member will talk with you about your situation, explain the mediation process, answer your questions and, if you agree, contact the other people who need to be a part of the conversation to resolve things. There is no waitlist; most mediations can be scheduled within a week to 10 days.

The CCCMC is committed to removing barriers, such as finances, time and transportation, that could potentially hinder your ability to use mediation. The mediation center works to increase access to high-quality, effective processes to resolve disputes and conflicts in order to support healing, renewing, and sustaining relationships in our community, within our families and workplaces.

Perhaps you might want to take your resolution a step further and become a volunteer mediator. Think about the health benefits you can enjoy when you have the training and skills to productively address your own conflicts and to help others. The CCCMC provides all the necessary training, an apprenticeship, mentorship, and on-going training and education opportunities to support its volunteers. Don’t wait; contact us to today to get started: 410-848-1764, CCCMC@Carrollcc.edu, https://www.carrollcc.edu/mediation.

The CCCMC’s office is located in the Carroll Nonprofit Center, at 255 Clifton Blvd., Suite 311, in Westminster.

Patricia Ryan is director of the Carroll County Community Mediation Center.

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times publishes a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line “Nonprofit View.”

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