About Us

    Advoz Mediation and Restorative Practices

      Helping individuals & groups in Lancaster, PA find healing and hope since 1981.

      Mission

      Advoz provides conflict mediation, restorative practices, and education to transform personal and structural conflicts into constructive actions and resilient relationships.

      Vision

      Advoz envisions an empowered community that engages diversity, embraces differences, and promotes collaboration and justice.

      Conflict and crime are inevitable in our community. But they can also be opportunities for positive change.

      Advoz Values

      Respect:

      We embrace the uniqueness of individuals by being inclusive of race, ethnicity, ability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, beliefs and other differences that often divide us.

      Inclusiveness:

      We commit to strengthen our entire community and cultivate trust and compassion, recognizing the unique strengths of the populations we serve.

      Accountability:

      We take responsibility for our words and actions, expecting the same from participants and partners in our programs.

      Integrity:

      We push ourselves to lead in the applied fields of conflict resolution, restorative justice, and peacebuilding.

      Empowerment:

      We encourage all parties involved in a conflict to have a voice and a role in determining outcomes.

      Impartial:

      We govern ourselves and provide services that assure fairness, empathy, and neutrality.

      Collaborative:

      We seek partners to build a “conversation-centered community” through guided conversation and self-empowerment.

      Purposeful:

      We are motivated by our personal experiences with community, faith, and moral convictions to provide constructive and transformative dialogue.

      Advoz: Mediation & Restorative Practices Logo - Lancaster, PA

      Our Story

      Advoz formed in 2017 from two long-serving community-based organizations in Lancaster County providing conflict mediation for families, neighbors and businesses, restorative justice dialogue for youthful offenders and those they harm and conflict skills training for people of all ages throughout the region.

      Both Lancaster Mediation Center, founded in 1981, and Center for Community Peacemaking/LAVORP in 1994, were started by veteran peacemakers, legal professionals and community and faith leaders. They saw a “third way” out of many conflicts and harms in our community. These visionaries, many now leaders in the field, saw the potential and moral imperative to offer deeper resolution and healing with “third party” facilitated face-to-face dialogue methods.

      Those methods promise more effective outcomes in resolution and healing than courts and many other crisis response options because they get ownership from all involved in the conflict and harm. This effectiveness and ethical coherence drive our passion to offer this work in our community.

      Drawing initially from expertise in local international development organizations and colleges, Lancaster County has developed a unique set of programs in Advoz. Unlike many other states and countries, Pennsylvania lacks statewide mandates or funding for using mediation and restorative justice. Only through continued community partnerships and support from hundreds of individuals, congregations, and businesses each year, Advoz has risen to meet a changing community with transformative approaches.

      When Advoz was formed in 2017 to provide mediation and restorative justice from its parent organizations, it also combined resources and expertise to change the way our community “does” conflict and harm more proactively. That includes an expanded set of educational services, partnerships with organizations, schools, and police, and new trainings in restorative practices to prevent conflicts from erupting in worsening harm. 

      You can join us in this restorative and transformational story and help create positive change throughout Lancaster County by expanding the reach of Advoz’s mediation and restorative justice practices.

      Advoz Restorative Justice Programs in Lancaster, PA

      Advoz Staff & Board Members

      Advoz is committed to helping those in challenging life situations–whether involved in conflict or impacted by violence.

      Our skilled staff and volunteers offer conflict resolution and restorative justice services based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania that have been recommended again and again by thousands who have participated since 1980.

      Advoz is overseen by a dedicated staff including:

      Chris Wenden, Executive Director  Chris Wenden was originally born in Sydney Australia. He has headed up a number of non-profits in Lancaster County and holds an MBA in Non-profit and Executive Leadership. Chris is married to Michelle, a Lancaster County native, and they have four children through adoption and have been foster parents for two others. Chris is trained in Divorce and Custody Mediation by the Pennsylvania Council of Mediation; Restorative Justice Facilitation; Basic Meditation; and Circle Process Facilitation. Chris is passionate about helping individuals and organizations break through the barriers of negative conflict to help breed healthy conversation and community.

      Chris Wenden

      Executive Director

      Chris Wenden was originally born in Sydney Australia. He has headed up a number of non-profits in Lancaster County and holds an MBA in Non-profit and Executive Leadership. Chris is married to Michelle, a Lancaster County native, and they have four children through adoption and have been foster parents for two others. Chris is trained in Divorce and Custody Mediation by the Pennsylvania Council of Mediation; Restorative Justice Facilitation; Basic Meditation; and Circle Process Facilitation. Chris is passionate about helping individuals and organizations break through the barriers of negative conflict to help breed healthy conversation and community.

      Addrienne Whitfield, Operations Manager

      Addrienne Whitfield

      Operations Manager

      Addrienne, is the friendly voice of Advoz, working in the organization since 2019 as an administrative assistant, office manager and now Operations Manager. She joins Advoz from the travel and service industry with extensive customer service and organizational skills. On any given day, you’ll find Addrienne directing inquiries for mediating disputes, inviting volunteers to work an event, or getting fair deals with our vendors. Addrienne enjoys spending time with family and friends, where she already has achieved peacemaker status. In her free time, you’ll find her at music concerts or escaping to the beach. We’re excited to have Addrienne contribute to Advoz’s present and future as she keeps our office humming — with an extra-friendly voice.

      Chris Fitz, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Training

      Chris Fitz

      Director of Strategic Initiatives & Training

      Chris worked and studied in conflict resolution, program management, and fund development for 25 years and now leads strategic partnerships, training and business development for Advoz. He began with the organization in 2014 as the Center for Community Peacemaking’s executive director before its merger with Conflict Resolution Services (formerly Lancaster Mediation Center) in 2017. Previously, he founded two campus-based mediation programs and has studied and worked in community-based conflict transformation efforts in the US, Northern Ireland and Croatia, earning his M.A. at the Universitat Jaume I (Castellon, Spain). More recently he nurtured interest in arts-based approaches to transforming conflict with improvisation and applied theatre. Chris shares a bustling bilingual and musical household in Marietta, PA with his wife and two teenagers.

      Krista Rittenhouse, Director of Restorative Practices

      Krista Rittenhouse

      Director of Restorative Practices

      Krista got involved with Advoz training and volunteering in Restorative Justice Conferencing in 2019. But she went beyond the call of duty by successfully reaching dozens of case participants on the phone. Now the director for restorative conferencing, she coordinates and coaches facilitators on 150+ cases of harm each year. Krista graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in 2014, studying peacebuilding, development and Spanish, with an interest in restorative justice. She comes to Advoz with a range of experience in social services, mission work and retail management. Krista is excited to help people heal relationships and invest in Lancaster city youth. She is an avid runner and loves rock climbing, board games, and sharing food with friends.

      Krista Rittenhouse, Director of Restorative Practices

      Wilnelia Padilla 

      Restorative Practices Case Manager 

      Wilnelia (Wilny) was born in Puerto Rico but moved to PA to attend college, graduating with a Criminal Justice degree. She worked at a Juvenile Detention Facility in both detention and shelter programs.  After that, she worked as a Youth Advocate, Therapeutic Support Staff, and Direct Care Staff, as well as volunteer experience in the re-entry program. Wilny is passionate about helping others and giving them second chances to develop their skills and potential. Outside of work, Wilny loves kayaking and spending time with her grandchildren.

      Board of Directors

      Sharon Allen-Spann

      City of Lancaster Human Resources
      President

      Earldine Tolbert

      Retired Human Services Professional
      Vice Chair/ Program Committee Chair

      John Bomberger

      Former CEO, Choice Books
      Treasurer

      Peter Faben

      Attorney at Barley Snyder
      Secretary

      Jesus Cruz

      Retired Finance

      Grace Mentzer

      Police Social Worker at Lancaster City Bureau of Police

      Tasha Nankerville

      Attorney at Barley Snyder

      Jon Rudy

      Peace Education Consulting

      Warren Taylor

      Director Advancement, Thaddeus Stevens

      Creating peace in our community through mediation and restorative practices that teach individuals and communities to work through conflict and create hopeful outcomes.

      Advoz Restorative Justice Programs in Lancaster, PA

      Be a part of the change Advoz helps to create

      Through volunteering, donating, or participating in Advoz trainings you can be a change agent in Lancaster County when you partner with Advoz.

      Advoz Restorative Justice Programs in Lancaster, PA

      “Advoz services bring hope and healing where you think there is no way through.”

      – Advoz Advocate

      Become a Part of Our Stories of Hope and Healing

      We believe there is always a possibility of restoration.

      Advoz Restorative Justice Programs in Lancaster, PA