Lancaster Peacebuilders Join to Create Advoz

Feb 15, 2017 | News

Advoz announced its new name and program vision in a live “flash mob” demonstration on Lancaster’s Penn Square today at Noon. Dozens were on hand to watch and piece together a large sign of the merged organization’s new name and logo.
The new organization combines the mediation work of Conflict Resolution Services (formerly Lancaster Mediation Center) with the restorative justice victim-offender dialogue of the Center for Community Peacemaking (formerly LAVORP), both pioneers in their respective dialogue services across Pennsylvania.

As of February 16, the organizations will be operating together as Advoz. “The word comes from the Latin for ‘voice’ and inherently means, ‘adding voice to dialogue,’” says Chris Fitz, the new organization’s executive director of community engagement.
“We are excited by what the merged organization can add to our community’s already-impressive peace-building work,” says Mila Pilz the new executive director of program operations.
The new organization’s board president is Miles Yoder, assistant superintendent at Lancaster Mennonite Schools. Vice president is Ana Ayala, locally-based regional policy officer for the US Department of State.
An immediate benefit of the merger is the ability to develop Restorative Practices in local schools, a win-win approach to discipline and community building gaining steam nationwide as a correction to the harmful trends of “zero-tolerance” approaches. Thirty percent of juvenile justice cases referred to the organization came from schools in 2016. This new “Restorative Schools” project, already underway for nine months, has equipped staff at four middle schools in the School District of Lancaster.
Across all of Pennsylvania, Lancaster County has been unique having two active services for mediation and restorative justice, using more than 60 trained volunteers to work with more than 750 people in conflict and crisis each year. While such services are legislated in other states because of their effectiveness and efficiency, Lancaster’s programs thrive on the cooperative relationship with local courts and the generous support of community contributions. Advoz now brings these services and teams of volunteers together with new outreach and efficiencies under a unified administration and board of directors.
Advoz will publicly announce its new name and program vision on Thursday, February 16th, Noon at Penn Square Lancaster via Facebook Live Video @LancasterCCP @ConflictResolutionServicesPA and @AdvozPA with hashtag #AddYourVoice and #SharetheLove.
Advoz is celebrating its inaugural year with an event on May 4th, Around the Table with Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi and founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. The benefit includes a reception, dinner, auction and program with both local peacemakers and Dr. Gandhi in a conversational interview about his story of mentorship with “Grandfather Gandhi.” Scott LaMar, host of WITF’s Smart Talk, will also receive the first Dignity in Dialogue Award as part of the event. It takes place at Spooky Nook’s Olympic Hall, 75 Champ Blvd., Manheim, PA.
For more on the event, see: AroundtheTable.org.

Read More from the Advoz Blog
Life Learning as an Advoz Intern – Kaylee Geesey

Life Learning as an Advoz Intern – Kaylee Geesey

Kaylee Geesey interned with Advoz in the spring of 2024 in conjunction with Millersville University's Social Work program. As I reflect on the time spent with Advoz, I am filled with gratitude and humbled at the growth I have seen in myself. I am the first person in...

Role-Modeling Restorative Practices

Role-Modeling Restorative Practices

As I write this blog, I am in my ninth week of interning with Advoz: Mediation & Restorative Practices. It has been a healing experience for me to work with Advoz staff and volunteers because they center relationships in all aspects of their work. I have witnessed...

Interning for Mediation: Riley Sloat

Interning for Mediation: Riley Sloat

I am Riley Sloat, and I am currently a senior at Elizabethtown Senior Highschool. I am interested in having a career as a mediator due to the business and Personal Law class I took in my sophomore year, wherein part of the curriculum was to do a mock...

Making Peace Workshop Referral

We just published an updated referral form for our Making Peace Workshop (below). As more partners in our juvenile justice system are again working in person, this is an incredibly valuable resource to build communication and conflict resolution skills in every...

Intern Stories: Meet Brelan Wilcher

harm caused within the community. In one way, it aims to achieve this by serving as a bridge that two or more individuals can cross to resolve conflicts through their mediation programs. The organization also partners with the Juvenile Justice System to speak with individuals who have caused harm to the community and help them take steps to make things right.

Working Upstream to Undo “Criminal Minds”

Working Upstream to Undo “Criminal Minds”

By Chris Fitz "Matthew” was only 13 years old. But this wasn’t his first run-in with the law. In our meeting, he fluently relayed the ways that adults in his neighborhood called the police about him—and how those complaints added up. He used terms like “complaint,”...

On Collaboration

On Collaboration

In the following post, I will explore what I learned about collaboration while creating the last two infographics in partnership with friends and Chris Fitz. This is the sequel to last week's blog post and the final in a series covering a new set of infographics....

On Creating Dialogue about Exclusionary Discipline in Education

On Creating Dialogue about Exclusionary Discipline in Education

Before I share what I learned while creating Zero Tolerance and Restorative Justice (RJ) in education for Advoz, allow me to introduce myself briefly. My name is Catherine Wise. I am a college student studying neuroscience and Spanish at the Texas Christian University...

Adjusting to Move Forward: 2019-20 Annual Report

Adjusting to Move Forward: 2019-20 Annual Report

As we reflect on the last 18 months, we want to thank each of you for helping Advoz arrive in 2021 in a stronger position than we were before COVID-19 first hit. Looking back to last year, right before the pandemic, we had experienced an organizational change with a...