Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Our Trainings

Want to add mediation skills to your professional tool kit?

Our 40-hour certificate training is designed for mediation newcomers and professionals in other fields wishing to learn mediation skills. The training meets the most commonly accepted state and national standards for entry-level mediators. It is the prerequisite for doing community mediation and for taking advanced trainings for court-related mediation.

Advanced Trainings: Our specialty courses are designed to support the ongoing professional development of mediators, to satisfy the field's continuing-education requirements, and to meet the qualifying requirements for the Maine Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Services (CADRES) roster of trained mediators. Completion of the 40-hour certificate course or its equivalent is a prerequisite for these specialty courses. Learn more about CADRES requirements.

Custom-tailored classes for businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other specialized groups are available upon request. CEUs and CLEs are available. New sessions and professional-development workshops are being added regularly. Please contact us anytime to learn more.

Trainings and Workshops Schedule

Introductory 40 hour Certificate Training

Sponsored by Community Mediation Services - Volunteers of America Northern New England

Spring training: March 1,2,3 (W-F) 8 & 9 (W & Th), 2017
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Westrum House, a Volunteers of America property, Topsham, ME
Enrollment Fee: $400*
For more information contact: Elaine Bourne at or 207.373.1140 ext. 229

Register: Download the registration form

* This March session will be particularly beneficial to individuals working within the agricultural community as it will cover the full 40-hour introduction to mediation with a focus on agricultural related examples as role play scenarios and for other exercises.

Cost: March 2017 session - $400*

How can mediation skills help you?

● Learn to manage & resolve conflict

● Communicate more effectively at work & at home

● Become a better negotiator & problem-solver

● Increase your value in the workplace

● Contribute to conflict resolution in our community

Class size is limited! Deadline to register is February 24, 2017

For more information on the program, please see the attached information.

To register, fill out the attached registration form or contact us at 207.373.1140, ext. 229.

*Note: This session is being offered at a reduced registration fee under the auspices of the Maine Agricultural Mediation Program which is funded, in part, by a grant from the USDA, an equal opportunity employer and Volunteers of America Northern New England. Future sessions will not be discounted.

This 40 hour training is for individuals interested in becoming a Mediator or applying mediation skills to personal and professional lives. The training includes: lecturettes, demonstrations, interactive discussions and practice with mediation scenarios. Participants are always amazed at the shift that takes place in the way they talk, listen and problem solve – at work and family life. The primary focus of the training is both on learning new skills and how to apply them in your life.

You will learn:

  • Conflict theory and management
  • Theories and practice of mediation
  • Screening for mediation appropriateness
  • Ways to build and enhance client rapport
  • The impact of Mediator influence, bias and the directive impulse
  • Standards of Mediator practice
  • Identification and management of ethical issues
  • The professional limitations of mediation practice

At the conclusion of the training, participants will receive a Mediation Certificate, the accepted state and national standard for new Mediators.

Presented by:
Elaine Bourne, Community Mediation Services Program Manager,
Volunteers of America Northern New England

Continuing Skills Mediation Trainings

Consumer Law

Fall training: TBA
Time: 1-4 p.m.
Location: Westrum House, 22 Union Park Road, Topsham, ME
Enrollment Fee: $150; ($125 for a CMS volunteer mediator)
For more information contact:

Designed to meet the three-hour requirement for the Small Claims Mediation roster, this course covers the basic knowledge mediators need in relation to warranties, contracts, estimates, landlord/tenant issues, automobile issues – buying, repairs, responsibilities, etc. and damages.

Instructor: James A. McKenna, J.D. is an independent hearing officer for the State of Maine and volunteer Legal Aid attorney. He is a former Maine Assistant Attorney General with the Consumer Protection Division, where he oversaw the Consumer Mediation Service, and authored the Maine Attorney General's Consumer Law Guide, Third Edition.

Family Law

Fall training: TBA
Time: 9 am-4 pm
Location: Westrum House, 22 Union Park Road, Topsham, ME
Enrollment Fee: $450; ($425 for a CMS volunteer mediator)
For more information contact:

This training provides 10 hours of family law instruction. Designed for non-lawyer mediators who want to be on the CADRES Family Matters roster or who encounter family law issues in their work, the training covers the three major areas of divorce and family law cases: children, property, and support. Topics include: the relevant statutory definitions governing parental rights and responsibilities, marital property, child support, and spousal support; an introduction to the forms used in the courts; settlement agreements; key issues in decisions involving children; distribution of property and debt; and calculating child support using the Maine Child Support Guidelines.

Instructor: Patricia Weidler, J.D. is an attorney who practices as a Guardian ad Litem in Title 19-A cases and volunteers for the Courthouse Assistance Project in Lewiston.

Domestic Violence Screening for Mediators

Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Enrollment Fee: $200

For more information contact:

This course is designed to meet the eight-hour CADRES roster training requirement for domestic violence (DV). This workshop will define DV and its role in communication; help the mediator determine if there is a history of DV in the relationship and if so, strategies for what and how to mediate; and designing a safety plan for before, during and after the mediation session.

Instructor: Brenda Mitchell is a CADRES Family Matters, Small Claims and Forcible Entry & Detainer mediator and a CMS volunteer mediator.

Custom trainings


This training will help you deal more constructively with people when their behavior is unpleasant and difficult. It will help to illustrate the different characteristics of difficult people, how to recognize when and how these characteristics could precipitate conflicts, and what strategies you can implement to help prevent, mitigate or alleviate conflicts caused by difficult people.

As a participant in this workshop, you will learn skills to:

  • Explore what makes a conversation difficult
  • Identify techniques for coping and dealing with various personalities
  • Better understand the difficult people in your life
  • Identify and use communication tools that can open up dialogue, build trust and resolve confusion
  • Become aware of personal reactions to different people and situations
  • Identify strategies to achieving different outcomes
  • Defuse conflict before it escalates
  • Create win-win situations through strategies that improve cooperation and collaboration
  • and more

contact us for more information or future training dates

Presented by: Elaine Bourne, Community Mediation Services Program Manager

Conflict, It Exists: a workshop to help families cope with conflict

Plan to spend an evening exploring how times of transitions – children becoming teens, moving, parent away from home, divorce – can cause conflict situations and how you can gain new skills and tools to foster better communication with your children and other family members. Through this workshop you will:

  • Recognize the roots of conflict & the various ways in which individuals respond to conflict;
  • Explore paths for confronting, navigating, and resolving conflict in ways that are respectful of everyone; and
  • Practice methods to get your point across with empathy for others

Presented by Brenda Mitchell, a mediator serving with the Maine Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Service in Family Matters, Small Claims, and Forcible Entry and Detainer (eviction) rosters. She also serves as a volunteer mediator with the Community Mediation Services Program of Volunteers of America. The former director of operations at Community Partners Inc., Brenda has more than 400 hours of Non-Violent Communications training and pursues her Quaker values through peaceful and compassionate resolution to conflict. Enrollment Fee: $15/$20 per couple; no charge for active military or individuals who have been separated from Military service within the past three years; or for their family members

For scheduling and more information contact:

We can design and deliver custom workshops and training programs for your organization on conflict management, MBTI, workplace conflict, group or senior living, and more. Please contact us to learn more.