July 29-30: Materials Preparations

Since I wrapped up the mailings for the Manufactured Home Communities last week I spent time this week “finalizing” our workshop materials.  This includes our PPT, facilitators’ agenda, and participant handbook.  I feel like I’ve already spent a TON of time on this project and it’s feeling a bit never-ending.  It reminds me of teaching and the ways that no matter how much time and preparation you put into a lesson, there is always more you could do.  I appreciate the ongoing negotiation of content with Kevin.  I’m looking forward to teaching this workshop with him.

This week we also met with Jessica from the Willamette Housing Authority to plan a workshop we will do with some of their residents in Sweet Home.  It was interesting discussing how we would want to adapt our activities and instruction to best meet the particular needs of our likely participants.  These considerations made me think about issues of equity and access in mediation.  I have been struck in mediating cases in Small Claims Court how difficult the process can be for unsophisticated participants.  I feel like it’s difficult for participants to make sure they get a fair shake when they don’t seem to fully understand their options.  As a workshop facilitator we don’t need to worry about neutrality but I was really struck (in planning the workshop) with how difficult it must be for some of these residents to navigate the complexities of some very intense conflict they experience at home. 

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