Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering
For an overview of how to become a Mediation Center Volunteer, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering at The Mediation Center
What are the steps to become a volunteer?
- Attend a Volunteer Orientation session. At the Volunteer Orientation session, you will learn about current volunteer opportunities, see what’s a fit for you, and hear about how to get started.
- Complete an interest form to Volunteer. Interest forms are available only at Volunteer Orientation sessions.
- Click here to RSVP for the orientation session of your choice.
Volunteer mediators are required to complete your Basic Mediation Skills Training. Does this mean I have to pay to become a volunteer mediator?
You do not have to pay to be a volunteer. Many people complete mediation training to enhance their professional skills, community activities, or personal relationships. We reserve a number of “no fee” spots in each training for people committed to volunteering as mediators. In exchange for a “no fee” spot, we ask that you commit to volunteer a minimum of 125 hours over the following 2 years.
The availability of volunteer spots varies by training. Sometimes, we are looking for volunteers with specific skills, like speaking Spanish. At other times, we are looking for people to volunteer at just one local office. We are always working to build the diversity of our volunteer pool in terms of age, race, gender, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, and other factors.
How do I apply for one of these no cost volunteer training spots?
Follow these steps:
- Attend a Volunteer Orientation session. This is a 90 minute introduction to all our volunteer opportunities offered four times per year.
- Complete an Application to Volunteer, which will be provided at the Volunteer Orientation session. Applications should be returned to the Program Manager at 40 N. French Broad Ave., Suite B, Asheville, NC or via email.
- Attend an interview with the program manager. Interviews focus on your goals and skills, and give us both a chance to learn about whether there is a match. If we aren’t able to offer you a no-cost volunteer spot, you can still participate in the training. If the training is a financial burden, partial scholarships are available. We want everyone to be able to develop their skills as a peacemaker.
What happens after I complete the Community Mediation Skills Training?
After the 4-day training, the program manager will schedule you to observe one or more mediation sessions. After that, you will co-mediate several cases with an experienced mediator. We always use two mediators for community mediation. After several sessions, you can work with a less experienced co-mediator.
The Mediation Center is committed to providing professional, ethical, and effective mediation services. There are many opportunities to practice mediation skills during the training, and we’ll give you lots of feedback and support. Sometimes, however, becoming a mediator turns out not to be a good fit. We know that you’re learning new skills, and that it takes a lot of practice. However, we owe it to our clients to verify that training participants are able to demonstrate key mediation skills before volunteering. If you or the trainer are concerned about your ability to apply skills at the beginning mediator level, we’ll sit down with you and talk through it. Sometimes, the outcome of this conversation is that you won’t be able to volunteer as a mediator. In this case, we will work with you to identify alternative volunteer options within the organization or in the community.
We also expect that you continue to follow appropriate practices while learning and volunteering, and that your skills continue to grow. We offer monthly in-service training to active volunteers to ensure high quality service, and ongoing participation is required.
How much time does it take to be a volunteer mediator?
The minimum time commitment is 6 to 7 hours per month. This includes being available for 2 mediation sessions per month and attending a monthly in-service training. It benefits our clients and the community to have highly skilled volunteers – and these skills are developed through experience and ongoing training. Becoming a mediator isn’t a good fit if you’re only available for a few weeks or months. We do have other short-term opportunities that can fit a variety of schedules and availability.