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Support Mediation in Western Nebraska

Mediation plays an important role in our society. From personal conflicts, to legal matters, mediators provide a path to unbiased resolution and peace amongst parties. Mediation West operates as a 501(c)(3) organization and is located in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Mediation West provides mediation services throughout 15 counties in Western Nebraska.

If you or someone you know is interested in donating, volunteering, or becoming a mediator, kindly direct them to the information on this page and have them contact us with any questions.


Volunteers are integral to our organization. Below you will find a list of volunteer opportunities that are typically available. If you find one of interest, kindly contact us to get started. We look forward to your willingness to donate your time.

Volunteer Opportunities Available

  • Administrative Assistants
  • Fundraisers
  • Interns
  • Mentors
  • Special Events Community Outreach
  • Volunteer Guest Speakers
Become a mediator

Become A Mediator

Are you interested in a rewarding career as a mediator? Mediators play a vital role in helping community members resolve conflicts ranging from community, to family, court ordered, employment and much more. Studies show that 78% of conflicts reach a resolution through mediation services. Below you will find information for those that already have begun the work to become a mediator to those just getting started.

Most people looking to become mediators with Mediation West take the 30-hour basic mediation training from the Nebraska Mediation Association (NMA) to get their start. For more information about basic mediation training from NMA, click here.

The following Basic Mediation courses have been pre-approved by the Supreme Court’s Office of Dispute Resolution:

  • Nebraska Mediation Association
  • University of Nebraska College of Law
  • Creighton’s Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Graduate program
  • Creighton Law/Werner Institute
  • UNO with instructor Cindy Tierney (instructor Katie Welsh’s class was not submitted for pre-approval, but may meet the requirements; students can submit a copy of the syllabus to ODR for consideration)

Those who have taken a basic mediation training, other than those listed above, can seek to receive approval through the Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR). The ODR will be looking for the following requirements in the training you participated in:

Timeline – Each 30-hour training must be conducted within a minimum of three days and maximum of 30 days unless it has been otherwise incorporated into an academic curriculum.

Class Size – Training registrants shall be a minimum of seven and a maximum of thirty participants.

Training Format – In Basic Mediation Training, all training shall include adult learning theory approaches to education, including but not limited to: presentations, group discussions, written and oral exercises, mediation simulations, role-plays, and additional readings. In Basic Mediation Training, written exercises shall include writing an agreement.

Role Plays – In Basic Mediation Training, at least six hours shall be devoted to mediation role plays with the participants playing the roles of the mediators and the disputants. At a minimum, every trainee must take part in at least one continuous role-play as a solo or co-mediator and one continuous role-play acting as a disputant. A continuous role-play is defined as one beginning with the mediator’s introduction and continuing through to a resolution, or one which is a minimum of 45 minutes in length. These role-plays are to be conducted under supervision of a qualified coach. At the conclusion of each role-play, a minimum of 15 minutes must be allocated for oral feedback to the mediator. A coach shall observe no more than one role-play at a time. Trainers must present a role-play mediation simulation (either live or video) prior to the participant’s role-play experience as a mediator. Role play coaches must be experienced mediators who have been instructed in how to coach role plays.

Curriculum Content – An approved Basic Mediation Training course curriculum shall include, but not be limited to, the following topics:

  • Overview of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes Principles of mediation
  • Mediation styles
  • Stages and goals of mediation process
  • The role of the mediator
  • Nature of conflict/behaviors in conflict
  • Mediation skills, including negotiation skills, interactive listening, question asking, use of neutral language, reframing, issue and interest identification, option generation, addressing barriers to agreement, reality testing, agreement writing
  • Caucus
  • Values, self-awareness, and bias awareness
  • Cultural diversity including race and gender
  • Power imbalances
  • Working with attorneys and representatives of parties
  • Confidentiality and privilege
  • Ethical issues, including impartiality, part self-determination, informed consent, conflicts of interest, responsibilities to third parties, dealing with legal issues, withdrawal by mediator, and termination of the mediation
  • Relevant Nebraska mediation and ADR law
  • In order to determine approval of your Basic Mediation Training, additional documentation is required as follows:

Form 1 & Supporting Documents – Nebraska Basic Mediation Training Equivalency Request – (Form ODR-BMT-F-001) This form provides basic information of the training. When submitting this form, please include the following supporting documentation:

  • Certificate of attendance
  • The training agenda or schedule
  • The trainers’ biography
  • Documents which include a description of training topics, time frames, trainers/presenters responsible, skill-based learning opportunities information

Form 3, if needed – Basic Mediation Training Equivalency: Supplemental Information (Form ODR-BMT-F-003). This form should only be submitted if any supporting documentation #1-4 for the BMT Equivalency Request (ODR-BMT-F-001) are unavailable.

Form 5 – Training Equivalency Basic Mediation Training Self-Study Worksheet (ODR-BMT-F-005). This form must be completed by all applicants that did not take an ODR approved Basic Mediation Training.

Form 7 – Coaching Observation Form (ODR-BMT-F-007). Six hours of role-play must be completed according to the requirements listed above. If role-play was not completed or did not meet the aforementioned requirements, please request your role-play coach to complete a separate form for each role-play exercise. These forms should be submitted with your Basic Mediation Documentation to the Office of Dispute Resolution.

Submit your forms and documentation together. Once reviewed by ODR you will be informed if any additional steps are required. If you have any questions during the application process, contact ODR at

If there are additional deficiencies in your training that keep you from receiving ODR approval, Mediation West may be able to provide supplemental training or opportunities for role play opportunities, or click here to learn more about supplemental training offered through NMA that may meet your needs.

Family mediation training is an advanced training designed for individuals who want to work with families where parents have separated or are in the process of separating for the development of parenting plans for parenting minor children from two households.

For most families, approaching a parenting plan from the perspective of how they can best co-parent builds a plan for family success. Families experiencing a higher level of conflict may rely on a mediator to help them develop a plan for parallel parenting.

Mediators affiliating with Mediation West who want to work with families on parenting plans must work toward becoming Parenting Act-approved unless they are active members of the Bar. To become Parenting Act-approved, you will need to finish the training as specified below and apprentice with supervisory mediators. From your apprenticeship, you will need to submit the following to the Office of Dispute Resolution:

  • 3 self-evaluations from 3 different cases
  • 3 supervisory evaluations from at least two supervisors
  • 2 sets of client evaluations
  • 1 IPS observation form
  • 1 parenting plan that you have written (for an actual case, or one you write for a fictional family if none of your mediations resulted in a full agreement)

Because the requirements for becoming Parenting Act-approved are specific, all of our affiliates have attended the training offered by the Nebraska Mediation Association (NMA). If you have attended another training, you can request approval of your training by completing and submitting Form ODR-FMT-F-011 and the required supplemental documentation.

If you are going to register for the NMA training and seek to become Parenting Act-approved, you must have attended a Nebraska Office of Dispute Resolution-approved Basic Mediation Training within the last five years or had your waiver of that requirement approved by ODR using form ODR-PA-F-047 or have had your Nebraska Basic Mediation Training Equivalency Request approved as detailed above.

Attorneys who would like to become Parenting Act-approved can apply for a Waiver of 7.5 Hours of the 30-hour Nebraska Mediation Association’s Family Mediation Training by submitting Form ODR-PA-F-017. This allows the attorney to skip the sections on Nebraska law, while still benefiting from the remaining 22.5 hours of curriculum to broaden their perspective and improve their skills.

If you were previously Parenting Act-approved, but your status has lapsed, you can apply for reinstatement using form ODR-PA-F.


Your gifts, both large and small, will help us to achieve our mission of helping those affected by our cause.

Thank you in advance for your generous support that allows us to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people and their families each year.

Become a mediator

Friend of Mediation Award

Each year, a new recipient will be recognized for promoting peaceful conflict resolution and building bridges in the spirt of our founder, supporter & friend Judge Robert O. Hippe.

Mediation West recognizes Gering Public Schools as our 2023 Friend of Mediation for promoting peaceful conflict resolution and building bridges in the spirt of our founder, supporter & friend Judge Robert O. Hippe.

Gering Public Schools has been in partnership with Mediation West for over five years. The longest standing program has offered restorative practices for students. These include pilot projects for circle work, truancy mediations, victim youth conferencing (for when a student has been harmed by another). GPS has also referred students, families, and faculty for mediation services on a case-by-case basis.

The district has also participated in nationwide studies on community school relations that have engaged the community and produced improvements to school policies and procedures that support students and parents.

Gering Public Schools’ commitment to building trust and channels of communication with the community and utilizing better practices to engage conflict have made us proud to declare Gering Public Schools as our 2023 Friend of Mediation.

Mediation West recognizes Judge Russell Harford as our 2022 Friend of Mediation for promoting peaceful conflict resolution and building bridges in the spirt of our founder, supporter & friend Judge Robert O. Hippe.

Judge Harford supported mediation throughout his time on the bench, including sending our center’s first referral for victim impact mediation in a motor vehicular homicide case. Judge Harford supported efforts to simplify small claims referrals and mediations during COVID which led to the system our center still uses today.

Judge Harford had a history of referring people to mediation where preserving an underlying relationship was at stake in addition to the other circumstances that needed to be settled.

We are proud to honor Judge Harford as our 2022 Friend of Mediation award winner. We give our thanks and recognition for his support of mediation while on the bench and wish him a most happy retirement.

Mediation West recognizes Judge Andrea Miller as our 2021 Friend of Mediation for promoting peaceful conflict resolution and building bridges in the spirt of our founder, supporter & friend Judge Robert O. Hippe.

Since being confirmed to the bench, but especially over the past year, Judge Andrea Miller has been creative and thoughtful with her referrals to mediation. Judge Miller has referred families in distress and criminal cases with community consequences.

Conflict prevention and education are two of the missions of Mediation West. Judge Miller’s support of the Parent Education Program provides a resource for parents to learn about the developmental stages of their children and assess the stage of their relationship as parents. Some parents take this information to heart and consider it when developing plans for their families. Our mediation work with families referred by Judge Miller has allowed us to identify past practices that have escalated conflict; in many instances, they have been able to develop plans for future interactions with each other that deescalate situations.

Conflict resolution is another of our missions. Perhaps the case with the largest impact this year was a referral for a traffic accident that left a young community member severely injured. The family of the victim and the community were feeling let down by the constraints of the retributive justice system, and the offender and his family were experiencing persecution and hardship. By utilizing Victim Impact Mediation through Mediation West, the families were able to heal through a restorative process that allowed for necessary things to be said and heard, allowing for burdens to be lifted from both sides. The understanding and forgiveness that came from the process put both families on track for a more unburdened future and offers the opportunity for community healing as well.

Judge Miller has shown a valuable ability to discern which cases before her have the potential to be served better through restorative practices and mediation. In recognition of her leadership from the bench, we are pleased to offer this recognition.

Mediation West recognizes Lindsay R. Lookabill as our 2020 Friend of Mediation for promoting peaceful conflict resolution and building bridges in the spirt of our founder, supporter & friend Judge Robert O. Hippe.

Lindsay Lookabill was born and raised in Scottsbluff. After graduating law school, Lindsay returned to Scottsbluff to practice law with her father. Lindsay practiced law in several areas, but had a love for children and was frequently appointed by area judges to serve as GAL (Guardian Ad Litem: an attorney that represents a child’s best interests) for children involved in the child welfare system. She also served on the board of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates: a non-profit that supports children involved in the court system through specially trained volunteers), the Foster Care Review Board (an independent state agency responsible for overseeing children in out-of-home care), and the Golden Halo Foundation (an organization that provides financial assistance to children with medical conditions that require specialized care).

Lindsay was often assigned to cases referred for mediation services. She was a strong advocate for the children and clients she represented. Mediation West Executive Director Charles Lieske described her as an attorney with incredible integrity. “Whatever she asked for, you knew she was doing it because she believed it was in the best interest of her clients. She didn’t play games and you didn’t have to try and figure out what her angle or her endgame was. You knew she saw it the way she was presenting it.”

Shortly before the traffic accident that claimed her life at the young age of 36, Charles had a conversation with Lindsay while waiting for parties to arrive before a court-ordered process. “I asked her if she thought she’d ever like to be a judge,” Charles recalled. “She said that she would. She was drawn to the county court and knowing the types of child welfare and juvenile justice cases that would have come before her, I have no doubt she would have done an excellent job. She knew the system, the players, and the local resources. With her knowledge and integrity, she would have made an excellent addition to the bench,” he said.

Mediation West recognizes Debora Denny as our 2019 Friend of Mediation for promoting peaceful conflict resolution and building bridges in the spirt of our founder, supporter & friend Judge Robert O. Hippe.

Debora Denny, J.D., long-time Director of the Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR), was honored with the Nebraska Mediation Association’s (NMA) Friend of Mediation Award at their annual conference in 2018. In 2019, Mediation West bestowed its Robert O. Hippe Friend of Mediation Award.

Debora’s leadership in her role as Director of ODR was informed by her years as a director of a rural mediation center. Her understanding of the challenges we face in delivering dispute prevention and resolution services in sparsely populated areas has been a great blessing to our center.

Debora dedicated nearly 30 years of her career to mediation. Drawing on her love for indigenous peoples, Debora has worked to incorporate a restorative approach to alternative dispute resolution that honors those native traditions and attempts to heal the separation of Person from Spirit and from Community that is so prevalent in our western retributive system.

Debora’s leadership in standing up for funding and statutory protection has given us some of the most robust and well-thought-out laws and regulations in the country; and, serves to protect Nebraska’s unique system of quasi-governmental community mediation centers as stand-alone nonprofits with approval from the Supreme Court’s Office of Dispute Resolution. Debora was involved with several significant pieces of legislation in Nebraska, including the Dispute Resolution Act, the Uniform Mediation Act, the Parenting Act, and the Restorative Justice Act. She has also helped to expand our Court Services Contract for child welfare and juvenile justice conferencing and has tirelessly worked to expand our relationship and the menu of services with Nebraska State Probation.

Mediation West recognizes Robert O. Hippe as our Inaugural Friend of Mediation. Each year, a new recipient will be recognized in your name to honor your promotion of peaceful conflict resolution and the bridges you built through your influence and spirit. Forever grateful to our founder, supporter and friend.

It’s clear that Judge Robert O. Hippe recognized the validity of mediation long before it became an accepted avenue for seeking justice. Judge Hippe was an original incorporating member of the Panhandle Mediation Center (the Original name for Mediation West) in September 1991 and he continued to be active and supportive of mediation while on the bench and after his retirement in 2007. During his nearly 30-year active involvement with the center, Judge Hippe served as the Original Board Secretary and was serving as the Board’s Secretary/Treasurer at the time of his death, while making countless contributions in between. Judge Hippe’s commitment to mediation, and to the center, helped to acclimate the judiciary and stakeholders to the world of mediation during the implementation of the 1991 Dispute Resolution Act, the 2007 Parenting Act and throughout the challenges and triumphs that presented themselves over the years.

Without his involvement as a highly respected District Court Judge, the idea of mediation would have been nearly impossible to integrate in Western Nebraska and there would have been very little, if any, participation from area attorneys in the mediation process. As attorney William Madelung put it, “Judge Hippe sold something I didn’t think could be sold to the Bar.”

Through his years on the bench, Judge Hippe said his goal was always to advance the rule of law and achieve excellence in the administration of justice. “It’s all about resolving disputes in a just way,” he said in a 2007 retirement interview, touting mediation as the way to resolve disputes justly as an alternative to relying on the Courts and their potentially overcrowded calendars.

Becca Tompkins, Board President at the time of his passing said, “His tenure on the board is absolutely priceless. He has been able to guide us on decisions we make today, understanding the past and why things were done.” She also appreciated having the point of view from someone with a legal background on the board. Beyond his institutional knowledge, his voice has afforded stability over the years.