Welcome to Mediator Practicum student Laura Todd!

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Laura has over 25 years’ experience in leadership development, coaching and training in large companies, non-profit organizations, and entrepreneurial organizations. She helps teams and groups come together through retreats, expert facilitation, and transformative workshops. Laura coaches leaders and their teams to create a symphony of success.  Laura has an M.A. in Education, Counseling and Guidance, B.A. in Psychology and is certified as a Co-Active Coach.  Laura lives in Bellingham with her family and is found practicing yoga, hiking and biking on the local trails.

You can find more about Laura at www.lauratoddcoaching.com.


Welcome to mediator Rhonda Younker!

Even prior to Rhonda’s’ move to Bellingham, in August, she researched the location of the nearest DRC and was delighted to discover its close proximity to her new home. She’s looking forward to theopportunity to continue mediating in her new community and discovering Whatcom County’s bounty.

Rhonda’s background is the auto business, real estate, and other retail, from which she’s been retired for 15+ years.  Reading, cooking, and walking her dog are her favorite activities.


Welcome to Board member Stephen Gockley!

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Stephen retired in 2016 from a career as a civil legal aid lawyer, representing low-income persons to preserve rights to housing, necessary physical and mental health care, reasonable accommodations for disabilities, and other safety-net protections to meet basic needs.  Because his clients would often have a continuing relationship with the other party, he always sought durable resolutions that both parties could respectfully agree on together.  He greatly appreciates that this same positive approach underlies WDRC’s various services.  In retirement, Stephen serve on public bodies working to reduce incarceration and to develop innovative ways to improve the health status of both individuals and communities.  To him, WDRC provides similar systemic, constructive opportunities for change in Whatcom County and he is honored to join the board and promote those efforts.

WDRC Executive Director Wins Professional Woman of the Year Award

We are pleased to announce that Whatcom Women in Business (WWIB) has recognized Moonwater, the WDRC’s Executive Director, with its Professional Woman of the Year award. 

Moonwater was one of six finalists to be considered for the award, which was presented at the WWIB’s annual banquet and auction on October 24, 2017. The Banquet is one of the primary ways that WWIB celebrates the accomplishments of women in the community. The Professional Woman of the Year award is given annually to a woman who strives for and exemplifies the four values honored by WWIB: Leadership, Professionalism, Mentorship, and Community Involvement. 

In response to the honor, Moonwater said, “I am both honored and humbled by the recognition from Whatcom Women in Business. My fellow finalists are outstanding professionals in their own right, and I remain in awe of how many powerful, change-making leaders we have in Whatcom County!”

Moonwater has served as the Executive Director for the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center since 2005, and she possesses more than 18 years of experience in the field of dispute resolution. She is the lead instructor for the WDRC’s 40 hour Professional Mediation Training, and provides customized conflict management training to numerous nonprofit organizations, tribal departments, local governments, businesses, and associations. She has trained thousands of individuals in effective conflict management skills. 

Previous recognition Moonwater has received includes: her appointment by the Whatcom County Council to serve on the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force, her appointment to the Domestic Violence Commission, her appointment to the Secretary of State’s Charities Advisory Council, being awarded the Liberty Bell Award by the Whatcom County Bar Association, and being honored with a Ken Glass Community Builder Award. In addition, in 2014, the WDRC was selected as the Bellingham-Whatcom Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit of the Year. 

Director's Report: October 2017

Greetings friends,

As we approach year’s end, I’ve found myself taking a moment each day to reground myself in the Center’s mission, and the important work we have before us as a community. As a sense of divisiveness permeates the media, our conversations, and our consciousness, the need for constructive, collaborative, and innovative approaches to conflict become even more imperative. Action is critical. 

How are we taking action? Our Board is working diligently to update our strategic plan in order to ensure a vibrant future for the WDRC, and our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to meet all of the requests for service. We are continuing our search for a new office space that will allow us to grow, bolster our accessibility, and continue to provide a warm and welcoming space for all. We are connecting with partners to explore creative ways to meet community needs. We are reaching out to our elected officials to raise awareness of our services.  We are reflecting on the beauty and strength within our community, and we are listening to the diversity of voices and people we are here to serve.  

Thank you for joining with us to take action toward a healthier, stronger, more resilient community by building peace – one person, one conversation at a time.

WDRC Executive Director

Thank you, board member Renae Ingraham!

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A longtime WDRC supporter (and former staff member, too!) Renae brought incredible enthusiasm, energy and ideas to our Board. We will miss her greatly as she changes her role with us in order to spend more time with her kiddos and her growing real estate business. Thank you, Renae!

2nd Annual Mediator Olympics!

Thank you to those who participated in our 2nd Annual Mediator Olympics on September 7th. The three teams competing for the Mediator Olympian crown were: Reso-blue-tion, “BC Double D”, and The Termediators. They put their mediator talents to the test in four events: Stage 1 Sprint, Cross Country Caucusing, the Reframe Relay, and the Synchronized Settlement Writing.

Congratulations to all the members of team "BC Double D" for being crowned Olympic Champions. The team featured the color green and was led by Calhan "Confidentiality" Ring, Britt "The Brainstormer" Sullateskee, Donna "The Defuser" Loken, and Devin "De-Escalate" DiBernardo.

Special honors to all the members of team Reso-blue-tion for receiving the Olympic Collaboration Award. The team featured the color blue and was led by Sarang "Keep Calm" Khalsa, Kate "Curiosity" McLean, and Maria "Mutuality" Jones.

Special honors to all the members of The Termediators for receiving the Olympic Creativity Award. The team featured the color yellow and was led by Jason "The Clarifier" Kanov, Sarah "The Coach" Murphy-Kangas, Lisa "The Listener" Chandler, and Irene "What-If" Wysoki.

While there was only one team was crowned Olympic Champion, all of our mediators and practicum students are Champions in our book. Thank you to all of you who provide mediation services at the WDRC. You all are bridge builders in our community and we appreciate you all!

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Congratulations to all the WDRC Olympians!

'Tools for Tough Conversations' Gains National Recognition

'Tools for Tough Conversations' Gains National Recognition

A national Tools for Tough Conversations program launched this May 25, 2017 though the partnership of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, a 25-year leader in international peacebuilding, and Mary Dumas & Associates, Inc, a mediation, facilitation, and public engagement firm working with private and public clients in Washington and across the U.S.

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Director's Report, July 2017

Director's Report, July 2017

My deepest gratitude to all of you who were able to join us on June 15th for our 25th anniversary luncheon. Northwood Hall was abuzz with court personnel, attorneys, mediators, founders, volunteers, and other community supporters as we sought to honor our past, celebrate our present, and inspire the future with an engaging keynote by Magistrate Judge Paula McCandlis. More than $10,000 was raised in support of the WDRC! Those precious dollars will serve the community well as we continue to grow – adding new programs, expanding our reach, and serving more people. I am so pleased that after 25 years, we now...

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The Mediator: WDRC Spring news is here!

Read up on the latest news at WDRC with our quarterly newsletter. Within you will discover: 

  • Information on our upcoming 25th anniversary celebration, Bridging Divides
  • Upcoming training opportunities
  • Exciting news from the WDRC Youth Program
  • Board transitions and a new mediator Practicum cohort

The Mediator: Volume 13, Issue 2

WDRC 2016 Annual Report

Dear Friends & Supporters,

I am delighted to share with you the WDRC's 24th Annual Report, celebrating our collective impact. This past year exposed us to raw undercurrents of violence and conflict between community members—here in our county, our nation, and our world. It is showing up in the tone and tenor of interactions in meetings, homes, schools, and places we thought were safe. We each have a responsibility to navigate through these undercurrents in a way that strengthens our connection, reduces violence, and builds compassion. 

In partnership with the community, the WDRC is doing just that. 

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Story of Service: Restorative Practices at Windward

Story of Service: Restorative Practices at Windward

This opportunity for me to work with youth has been a joy and a passion. As a teenager, I did not know how to strengthen and repair relationships in a way that sustained friendships...Teaching youth skills to relate to one another and tools to resolve conflict allows me to offer both evidenced-based curriculum, as well as perspectives I did not have available to me in my youth.

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Daniel's Story of Service: Peaceful Poetry Youth Contest

As the WDRC Youth Program Specialist, I am continuing a long legacy of strengthening our community through youth education. One of my first projects was working on the Peaceful Poetry Youth Contest. After receiving over 90 poems from youth in the community our selection committee chose our 5 winners. One of these was 4th-grader Robyn at Lummi Nation School.

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