Ada — Joyce Belville spends one full day a week volunteering as an early settlement mediator in the Chickasha area.
Most weeks she willingly takes on two family and divorce cases: one in the morning and the other in the afternoon in hopes of solving disputes before they reach an expensive, possibly drawn-out conclusion in the courtroom.
Because of her efforts and contributions, Belville was named the John R. McCune Volunteer Mediator of the Year recently at the Oklahoma Judicial Center in Oklahoma City. There were 10 other volunteers up for the top award in the state.
She was the Early Settlement-East Central Program’s nominee for ADRS (Alternative Dispute Resolution System) Volunteer of the Year for a second time.
Belville joined the basic mediation training for the Early Settlement-East Central Program after reading about it in the newspaper in 2009. She promptly responded as a volunteer in the program to benefit residents of her community.
“To learn that Early Settlement provided a free service for those needing mediation, saving them money from possible additional attorney fees and court costs sold me on the value of the program,” said Belville. “It’s about giving those involved the power to make their own decisions concerning the most important things in their lives.”
Belville’s training in mediation, as well as helping those in need, began long before she joined Early Settlement-East Central. Prior to her retirement, Belville worked at Fort Sill with a program that also utilized volunteers.
“During my career at Fort Sill in the Legal Assistance Office, I attended some mediation training which was very helpful in my role as the post’s victim/witness coordinator, assisting with immigration and naturalization clients, and in administering the tax assistance program,” Belville said.
Belville feels fortunate to have worked in a career that she loved and wanted to pay it forward through volunteering.