This article originally appeared at the Academy of Professional Mediators (APFM) website and is republished with permission..
In March 2012, eleven amazing people announced the creation of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. They had big dreams and grand expectations. Let’s look at how far we have come and where we may go.
The founders optimistically stated that APFM would:
It was a tall order. Fulfilling it would require varied kinds of expertise that Board members did not yet have, huge amounts of volunteer time, and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Virtually all of the work of APFM has been done by volunteers, ranging from leaders in the field to new members with passion for our work. All have had limited time for volunteer service, so progress has been slower than we had hoped.
Nevertheless, operating on a tight budget, and in just six years, we have built a strong foundation. We have an engaging, useful website that educates both mediators and members of the public. We are able to stage conferences and provide member benefits funded entirely by dues and conference fees.
We now provide an excellent set of benefits for our members:
We have earned recognition as a 501(c)(3) organization, doing work that benefits families, not just mediators. Hence, grateful clients, mediators, and the public at-large can make tax-deductible contributions to APFM’s work.
We have completed the creation and approval of governance documents. Now, when the need arises, we can easily check the policies that we have put in place. And, the Board has learned how to be business-like and efficient in its meetings, with much of the work done by committees, outside of Board meetings. Our committees welcome and benefit from members’ participation in their work.
A big challenge for us is that large numbers of family mediators do not yet know that APFM exists, just as huge numbers of families in need of mediation services do not know about family mediation as an option for resolving their conflicts. We need to reach both groups. The more people that we have in APFM, the more easily we can all help each other improve our abilities both to help families and to let the public know when families should be looking for a skilled mediator.
Think what we could be doing if we had more members and more money!
Consider these new possibilities that lie ahead:
I hope that everyone reading this article will join APFM and/or make a financial contribution to our organization. The world needs many more well-qualified family mediators to serve the countless families in need, and we need the public to know when to seek help from a family mediator.
Let’s continue to have high expectations for our future accomplishments, and let’s get to work!
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