We invited Riverdale alumni, Nicola Simpson, B.A. (honors), M.A., J.D., LL.M, to share her experiences with our online family mediation training program.
Born and raised in the beautiful island of Jamaica, fate dealt an unexpected hand when I fled to Canada in 2010, seeking refugee from homophobic violence and discrimination. Within weeks of arriving and finding myself between the proverbial rock and a hard place, I became homeless and sought solace in a shelter for abused women. Undeterred by the challenges, I courageously pursued a path to self-fulfillment, realizing that education was my beacon of hope. With unwavering determination, I completed a Diploma in Paralegal Education, a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and a Master’s degree in Criminology and Social Justice.
The culmination of my dreams arrived in 2018 when I was accepted into the prestigious University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section. Despite my financial challenges that left me homeless once again, I preserved, completing my final year at Osgoode Hall Law School, and finally becoming a lawyer in 2022 after passing the Ontario Bar exams.
Embracing the journey of lifelong learning, I pursued a Master of laws (LL.M) in Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri, Faculty of Law. In the spring of 2023, I proudly graduated from the program, eagerly seeking an opportunity to complete my externship with a reputable mediator in Toronto. This path led me to Riverdale Mediation Training and Consulting where I embarked on an externship under the guidance of Hilary Linton, Founder, and President of this exceptional institution. Additionally, I was enrolled in a Family Law Mediation Training program in Toronto.
As part of my externship, I audited Riverdale’s Family Law Mediation Training Program, focusing on the program’s cultural awareness, sensitivity, and responsiveness. I immersed myself in all aspects of the program, engaging in online training videos, tutorials, assessments, and assignments. My findings were nothing short of inspiring—Riverdale’s program exuded excellence in faculty cultural competence and humility, student engagement and support, and inclusive pedagogical approaches. The dedication to continuous improvement and unwavering cultural awareness set Riverdale apart as a leading beacon in the field of family law mediation and training.
One of the most transformative experiences during my time at Riverdale was being included as a consultant in the upcoming partnership between Riverdale and the African Caribbean and Black Family Group Conferencing Project. This ground-breaking project aims to develop a family law mediation training program specifically tailored to the needs of African Caribbean and Black families in Ontario. My involvement with Riverdale also includes my current pursuit to become an accredited family law mediator through its Mediator in Training program.
Riverdale Mediation is more than an institution. My journey with this exceptional team of expert family law mediators has shaped me both personally and professionally, equipping me to bridge gaps and empower diverse communities. I encourage aspiring mediators to join the Riverdale family and experience the profound impact of cultural responsiveness, sensitivity, and inclusivity in the field of family law mediation.
Embracing Diversity in Mediation: Riverdale Mediation’s Path to Empowered Family Solutions
Born and raised in Jamaica, my journey to Canada was one of survival and determination, seeking refuge from homophobia and discrimination. Through unwavering dedication to education, I overcame numerous challenges, culminating in becoming a lawyer in 2022. However, my quest for lifelong learning led me to the transformative experience of auditing Riverdale Mediation Training and Consulting’s Family Law Mediation Program—an institution that stands out for its cultural competence, inclusivity, and excellence in family law mediation training.
A Comprehensive Online Program:
Riverdale Mediation Training Program’s online format proved to be a game-changer, enabling working professionals from across Canada to participate. This virtual approach allowed flexibility for students to learn at their own pace, making it accessible to individuals like me, who needed to balance studies with other commitments.
Expert Facilitators, Peer Learning and Multidimensional Learning Environment:
One of the program’s unique strengths is its team of industry leaders comprising expert family lawyers, social workers, health-care workers, and other professionals. This diverse group of facilitators created a rich learning environment, offering role-plays, online tutorials, and live sessions to hone mediation skills effectively. The student body also consisted of working professionals in various fields where peer learning was not only encouraged but fortified. This multidimensional approach ensures that students benefit not only from the wisdom of their instructors but also from the unique insights of their fellow students, leading to a well-rounded and comprehensive learning experience.
An Intersectional Approach to Family Law Mediation:
Riverdale’s commitment to an intersectional approach to family law mediation impressed me. Discussions surrounding family law mediation were lively and relevant, fostering a deeper understanding of the subject matter. This approach ensures that the mediation process is sensitive to the unique needs and challenges faced by diverse families, enhancing the effectiveness and inclusivity of the practice.
Engaging and Accessible Learning:
The program’s diverse learning materials, including intake role-plays and training videos, captivated my attention and kept me engaged throughout. Moreover, the opportunity to interact with instructors during office hours provided personalized support, nurturing my growth as a future mediator. Online quizzes with instant feedback offered a valuable tool for self-assessment, enabling continuous improvement.
The Mediator in Training Program:
Riverdale Mediation’s commitment to producing exceptional mediators extends beyond its flagship training program. The Mediator in Training program serves as an essential component for aspiring mediators seeking certification. This fully online program provides the convenience and flexibility necessary for working professionals, making it an ideal choice for those looking to deepen their understanding of family mediation and related skills.
A Beacon of Cultural Responsiveness:
Riverdale’s commitment to cultural responsiveness, sensitivity, and inclusivity stood out during my journey with the institution. The upcoming partnership between Riverdale and the African Caribbean and Black Family Group Conferencing Project exemplifies the dedication to tailoring programs to meet the specific needs of diverse communities.
Become a part of the Legacy: My journey with Riverdale Mediation has been nothing short of extraordinary. This institution has truly set the standard for excellence in family law mediation. If you are a working professional seeking to expand your skill set or aspiring to make a difference in the lives of families through mediation, join the Riverdale team and discover the power of cultural responsiveness, engage in transformative peer learning, and become part of a community dedicated to empowering diverse families.