FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Conroe, TX (May 14, 2020)– The Annual Volunteer Luncheon hosted by the Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County, Inc. (DRC-MC) looked a little different this year with volunteers, staff, and Judges joining together online to celebrate the year’s achievements and thank their volunteers. This year’s theme “Hat’s Off to our Volunteers” allowed everyone to join wearing their fanciest or funniest hat providing much needed comical relief during this trying time.
The DRC-MC is a non-profit in Downtown Conroe that has been offering dispute resolution services and training to the community for over 30 years. In order to continue serving the community throughout this pandemic, the DRC-MC has been offering Online Mediation since the beginning of April, with more than 20 volunteers trained to handle Zoom and phone mediations.
DRC-MC volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to help others resolve their conflicts peacefully and last year alone they donated over $250,000 worth of mediation time to assist the community. In order to serve as a volunteer mediator at the DRC-MC, volunteer mediators spend extensive amounts of time receiving training in how to handle litigation related or pre-litigation General mediations (including contract disputes, estate issues, landlord tenant issues, and neighborhood disputes, etc.), Family mediations (including custody, child support, divorce, etc.), and Child Protective Services cases. But according to Elaine Roberts, Executive Director of the DRC-MC, “volunteers went above and beyond what they usually do in order to ensure that volunteers, community members and attorneys could continue to safely mediate disputes during the pandemic. Twenty-four experienced mediators underwent intense training in order to learn how to conduct online and phone mediations via Zoom and so the DRC-MC was able to establish one of the first such non-profit online mediation programs in the state.”
The DRC-MC always enjoys recognizing their volunteers at a Volunteer Appreciation event and did not want the current pandemic to stop them from recognizing their volunteers’ hard work and achievements this past year. Thirty-three people joined on a Zoom call to recognize the volunteers, including staff, volunteers, and local Judges. Judges in attendance included Kristin Bays, Presiding Judge of the 284th District Court, Kathleen Hamilton, Presiding Judge of the 359th District Court, Patrice McDonald, Presiding Judge of County Court 3, Associate Judge Scharlene Valdez Overstreet of the 410th and 418th District Courts and Wayne Mack, Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1. Each judge shared the positive ways mediation has impacted their courts.
Although, Jennifer Robin, Presiding Judge of the 410th District Court was unable to attend, she asked her to thank you letter be read to the volunteer mediators during the virtual celebration. Included in the letter was the following excerpt. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, when social distancing was mandated, your innovative solutions for remote mediations allowed for continuity of the services you have historically provided this community. You stepped up to the plate when your community needed you the most, helping litigants resolve their disputes in an informal setting without court intervention, with the trickle-down effect of enabling Montgomery County courts to have more time to reach those cases that needed immediate emergency relief.”
Amber Gong, Volunteer Coordinator for the DRC-MC presented the following awards to volunteer mediators for their services during the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year:
DRC-MC Longevity Awards: Ben DeVries-21 years of service, Charlsie Moore-20 years of service, and Gaye Henley-17 years of service
DRC-MC Achievement Awards During 2019: Lois Voth-241.5 mediation hours, Charlsie Moore-175.25 mediation hours, and Glenna Rodgers-158.25 hours
Diamond (mediated a minimum of 125 hours in one calendar year): Lois Voth, Tom Tuohy, Glenna Rodgers, Charlsie Moore, Norm Gautier, and John Herbig
Ruby (mediated a minimum of 100 hours in one calendar year): Glenda Livingston, Bruno Brunasso, and Dennis Wymore
Emerald (mediated a minimum of 75 hours in one calendar year): Carmen Troyo and Amy Lecocq
HERO Board Awards:
Mediators of the Peace (Help with JP docket call 6 times in the fiscal year): Sara A., John Cintron, Tillie Eaker, Lena Gibson, Chris Renne, Gary Smith, Dave Teall, and Dennis Wymore
Life Saver (Same day, last minute scheduling): Francis Bourgeois, Ben DeVries, Norm Gautier, John Herbig, Charlsie Moore, Pattie Nolan, Ronnie Pace, Glenna Rodgers, and Tom Tuohy
Influencer Award (Interact regularly on our Social Media Pages): Sara A., Ben DeVries, Mike Fortner, Tammie Haynes, Amy Lecocq, Jack Lewis, Charlsie Moore, Diana Pino, Gene Roberts, Glenna Rodgers, Carmen Troyo, and Lois Voth
Community Engagement (Board Members who attend the Bookmark Art Contest Awards Ceremony and one other PR event): Glenna Rodgers and Lois Voth
Disputes are currently being handled online via Zoom, during regular office hours, Monday through Friday. The Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County, Inc. (DRC-MC) was established in 1988 by Commissioners Court and the Montgomery County Bar Association and offers an affordable way to prevent disputes from escalating into serious civil or criminal matters.
Find out more about the Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County by visiting www.resolution-center.org. Visit the DRC-MC Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/MontgomeryCountyDRC Call (936) 760.6914, Ext. 2 from 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday – Friday.
For additional information contact: Savannah Martin, Marketing/Communications Coordinator for the Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County, Inc. (DRC-MC) at [email protected] or (936) 760-6914, Ext. 4.