Mary Lowndes Bryan, a veteran volunteer with the Midlands Mediation Center, is the recipient of the Outstanding Volunteer Award for the Third Quarter of 2016 from the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM).  Bryan was selected by a committee of community mediation leaders from across the country for this award.

In nominating Bryan, the MMC acknowledged her gifts as a mediator, peacemaker and teacher.  In her quiet, professional manner, Bryan has helped advance the understanding and use of alternative dispute resolution in South Carolina, keeping the Midlands Mediation Center involved in significant ways.  She has earned great respect from all she has impacted – her students, co-mediators/facilitators, clients, attorneys, colleagues and friends.

Bryan facilitates mediation training for the South Carolina Bar and other organizations throughout the state, as well as for the Midlands Mediation Center.  Her personality and style epitomize a mediator’s commitment to improving the practice.  She is always interested in promoting and improving the profession and serving people in conflict.

NAFCM supports the maintenance and growth of community-based mediation programs and processes, voices a collective perspective in policy-making, legislative, and professional arenas and encourages the development and sharing of resources.

Thanks and Appreciation
FY 2017 Supporters

SC BAR foundation

For more information, please contact MMC at (803) 714-1176. 


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Introduction to Mediation Training Registration is Open


8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 31, 2017
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 1, 2017
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Thursday, February 2, 2017 (off-site travel required for court observation 1-2 p.m.)

Location:      Midlands Mediation Center
College Place United Methodist Church
4801 Colonial Drive, Columbia SC 29203

Registration Fee:  $250         Current Columbia SHRM chapter members receive a $50 discount. This training has been pre-approved for 17.5 hours of recertification credit through the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).

  • Register online at
  • Or, mail a check payable to Midlands Mediation Center, and include the information below to: Midlands Mediation Center, P.O. Box 5942, Columbia, SC 29250
  • Registration deadline: Noon Wednesday, January 25, 2017. Minimum 6 participants required.

Midlands Mediation Center’s Introduction to Mediation training emphasizes skills necessary for anyone who wants to empower and transform by understanding and resolving conflicts, improving relationships and strengthening families, communities, organizations and workplaces.  Topics covered during 20 hours of classroom instruction and role plays include Dynamics of Conflict, Dispute Resolution Styles, Active Listening Skills and the Mediation Process. This series is open to 10-20 individuals and is well-suited for business, non-profit, human resources, and law enforcement professionals. Seats are offered on a space-available, first-paid, first-served basis.

Instructors: Midlands Mediation Center Executive Diane Frea, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, M.A., and cast of guest presenters.

Disclaimer: This training is not a certification in mediation and does not provide an expectation of work or income from mediation. An additional 20 hours of “lab” observation and co-mediation in semi-monthly small claims magistrate court prepares participants to serve as MMC volunteer mediators. If choosing the 40-hour option, you will need to complete an MMC volunteer mediator application after the classroom portion.


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Conflict Resolution Skills for Community Leaders


Conflict = Opportunity is the Midlands Mediation Center’s new initiative to engage community members in learning and practicing peaceful conflict-resolution skills.

The initiative, which emphasizes community-based efforts to teach and promote communication methods to reduce and resolve conflict, has recently been funded through a discretionary grant by the Richland County Council for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Leaders of formal and informal groups will develop an understanding of conflict dynamics and the skills necessary to uncover mutual interests and creatively resolve issues, leading to better outcomes for all.  Participants will have the opportunity to link arms and minds with others in the community who believe people are capable of resolving their own disputes and are interested in becoming more proficient with using mediation and conflict resolution skills in their personal and civic lives.

The project is designed to involve a broad cross-section of groups throughout Richland County. During the first year, the goal is to train 100 or more Conflict = Opportunity Change Agents.  They will be supported through a variety of ongoing learning and relationship-building opportunities.

Currently we are seeking individuals to participate in the following roles (some volunteers may choose to be involved in more than one role):

  • Volunteer Trainers, who will meet together at least twice a year and will be expected to facilitate the program for community members three to four times a year.
  • Support Team Members, who will meet together at least twice a year and will be expected to attend a majority of the functions to foster community and skill development.
  • Prospective Partnering Organizations that would like to involve their formal and informal leaders in this initiative.

For more information or to express your interest in this organizing phase of Conflict = Opportunity, contact Diane Frea, Executive Director, at (803) 714-1176.

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