Mediation program student conference

UVU professor Dr. Grant Richards and student Cheryl Johnson addressed a conference of the Utah Valley Mediators at Carraba’s restaurant. The purpose of the conference was to outline the mediation program UVU has implemented in local area schools and the 4th District Court.

UVU mediation students participate in the two programs to gain practical experience mediating, while also helping the local community.

The mediation program focuses mainly on parents and teens, helping each to communicate effectively and set goals to achieve.

“I really believe in this program,” said Cheryl Johnson, Pleasant Grove High School mediation supervisor. “I have seen many examples of how this program has improved the relationship between parents and teens.”

Mediation students are appointed families to work with for a period of four weeks. The students and families then work through communication barriers that might be causing misinformation or misunderstandings between them.

“Many families don’t want to be there initially,” said Richards. “Parents work all day and have other things going on; so many times it’s just one more thing for them to do.”

UVU’s mediation program has grown to include small claims court mediation as well as parent and teen mediation.

When BYU stopped their court mediation program, Richards was presented with an opportunity to pick up where they left off.

Under Richards’ direction, UVU mediation students have also filled the void in the court system for mediators.

“I love mediating in the courts,” advanced mediation student Hillary Meredith said. “It’s exciting to be in the room mediating and seeing the two parties reach an agreement.”

The Utah Valley Mediators meet twice each year to collaborate on mediation projects throughout Utah County and invite all mediators to join.

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