Mediation Center of Molokai Offers Free Training and Plenty of Grinds

Simple disagreements can often escalate to physical violence. The Mediation Center of Molokai (MCM) provided free training to island residents Saturday, May 26, hoping to hire them in the future as volunteers.

The MCM helps residents to find peaceful solutions for disputes, and also provides violence prevention classes to children and adults.

The open spaces at the Halau at Kulana O’iwi, across from Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, provided a gentle ocean breeze for the 14 students who attended the training.  

Claud Sutcliffe, MCM’s only full time employee, said the students first go through a mediation demonstration. After that, questions are raised and comments made. Then Sutcliffe and the other two teachers encourage the students to find solutions for the disputes presented in class on their own. “We handle the process and they handle the solution,” Sutcliffe said.

Most people have problems with spouses or bosses, Sutcliffe said. The MCM teaches people listening skills that they can use on their daily life, he said.

Usually whenever there’s a case brought to the Small Claims Court, the judge sends the plaintiff and the defendant to the mediation center to try to resolve the issue out of court, Sutcliffe said. The reason, according to him, is because someone will always feel unsatisfied with the outcome. If they reach an agreement where both parties are happy with, then it’s a win-win situation, he said.

There are six mediation centers statewide, according to Sutcliffe. He said that the Molokai center is the only one where help is provided free of charge.

The MCM, a nonprofit organization funded by the County of Maui, the Judiciary, United Way, the Hawai`i Justice Foundation and the Hawai`i’s Children’s Trust Fund, currently has three paid positions and 10 volunteers. Taylor Kaawa, a Molokai native, works part-time. Malia Pele-Kuoha, also a Molokai native, works on a casual basis. The MCM provides this training three times a year.

The MCM provided plenty of food and beverages. Grinds included fried noodles, chicken katsu, pork adobo and salad. But as if it wasn’t enough, volunteers could also drink hot coffee and have chocolate and macadamia nut cake along with fruits for dessert. “We use all this food to lure people to our classes,” joked the outspoken Sutcliffe.


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