Sociology Intern’s Observations

Becca spent a lot of her internship on the phone with clients.

  As a self-proclaimed Sociology nerd, I have come to understand that I look at the world through a certain lens. I recognize that I am constantly watching people’s behavior, looking for patterns or looking to see how their behavior fits into patterns already being studied in the world of Sociology. Because of this, for the past ten weeks, I have been looking for various patterns in the world of mediation at Advoz, and I have found one that really sticks out for me.

Early in my internship, I remember going to the courthouse with Mila to greet parties for a mediation. Prior to this, she had given me directions to not bring my cell phone, as it was a new rule in the Lancaster County Courthouse that no cell phones are allowed. I listened, but still forgot to leave it in the office. I remember feeling frantic and nervous when we got to the courthouse and I realized it was still in my back pocket. I had totally forgotten it was there because it is habitual to have it with me at all times. This got me thinking about why phones were banned for the general public, and the best I can come up with is that they are a distraction and pull individuals out of the present and into a world on the screen.

            As I have gone to the courthouse more and more times, I consistently see someone at the head of the line to go through security with a phone in their hands arguing with the guard about this rule. This made me think further about how engrained it is in society to have a phone with us everywhere, and how disruptive it can be when told we are not permitted to have them.

Finally though, upon observing some mediation sessions, I realized how powerful not being allowed to have cell phones in the courthouse really is, especially for the work that Advoz does. The mission of Advoz is “[t]o transform conflict and build community through face-to-face dialogue programs”, and face- to- face dialogue is only really possible when there are no distractions, like a cell phone present. So, the rule that cell phones are not allowed in the courthouse from my point of view has led to a very positive unintended consequence for mediation. By not having a phone available as a clutch to alleviate stress during mediation, clients are put in a position where they must speak with one another in order to reach an agreement. With this, I have become even more conscious in my everyday life to put my phone away when I am having a conversation with others; I have continued to learn how powerful it is to give someone your full attention and have seen how beneficial it is in terms of communication. It is something that I will continue to practice in both my personal and professional life, and something that I hope to inspire those around me to practice. It is in many ways a trivial change to make, but I believe that it is change that can aid in fulfilling Advoz’s mission to “build community through face-to-face dialogue.”


An Intern’s Eye on Design

Alicia works on designing Advoz’s first winter themed thank-you card

Working with Advoz has been incredibly interesting and insightful, not only when it comes to the work that they do, but for myself. I had so many mixed feelings about working here. As a soon to be senior at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, I was nervous because I knew I was going to be the only graphic designer in the office. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that, it seemed like a lot of pressure and definitely intimidating.   But I wanted to work here because I liked the work Advoz does. I’m someone who thinks it’s best to work out problems rather than let them stew and end up boiling over, even if I do have difficulty talking about my own feelings. I also found Advoz’s Restorative Schools program to be incredible because I saw firsthand how the zero-tolerance policy didn’t work. So, I pushed my worries aside and got to work.

Since Advoz is still pretty new, it’s brand isn’t fully developed. It was like working on a new slate, trying to figure out exactly what the brand would be like, what it would say, and I have to admit that I really enjoyed doing that. When you have a brand that’s already in place and fully developed, there’s not much you can do in the area of design. For a designer, when a brand is new or just starting out, it can be a lot of fun getting to design everything from scratch.  I worked on new brochures, thank you cards, a banner and even a bumper-sticker! It can also be a little stressful. In each design I had to show their message, and when the brand is already in place, half that work is done for you. My coworkers and I would have to think about all the various audiences who would see the work and how they might interpret it. Being the designer in-house allowed me to see exactly what they did and gave me insight on how to create my designs.

I want to thank Chris, Mila, Angela, Becca, and Earldine for being so great to work with. I’m very appreciative to have gotten this experience and I’m going to miss Advoz.

Learning about Anger: Reflections from an Intern – Hayley Barrett

When I think about my time at Advoz, I do not think about anger at all.


But, earlier this week, I observed some juvenile court hearings. I listened to the offenders in their own words while also hearing the judge’s rulings. I became not only angry with the idea of these offenders being challenged in their lives by the impact of their decisions, but also how beneficial mediation or victim-offender conferencing could have been in such situations.

Throughout the Spring semester, I was the Communications intern at Advoz. I had started in February, just as the merger announcement was about to take place – you could say it was a busy first week!

Looking back, most of my projects involved working within the database, adding pages to the website, and creating social media posts. However, the highlight of the semester was the Around the Table event. There was much for me to do leading up to May 4th, including scheduling some of the Silent Auction items & Sponsor posts you may have seen on Facebook as well as helping to organize the content for the Event Program.

Because my internship dealt with a lot of the “behind-the-scenes” projects in the office, it was wonderful meeting many of you during the event and being able to put faces to names! Listening to Dr. Arun Gandhi speak with such insight was truly inspiring, and it was a great way to end the event. As Dr. Gandhi mentioned, “Anger is like fuel in our car. We need it… but we must learn to use it constructively.”

Overall, interning with the staff of Advoz was one of my personal highlights of the semester: no anger here, by the way, just lots of coffee and laughter! I was extremely grateful for the experience, and I know everything I learned -especially the notion of focused, constructive anger to facilitate restorative justice- will stay with me going forward.

Hayley and Zoie

Hayley (right) enjoys the post-event meeting with fellow Advoz intern Zoie just before graduating from Millersville University.

Start with ‘discourse about discourse’

May 1, 2017

This was published May 1st, 2017 in OP-ED in print and online. Copyright © 2017 LancasterOnline. All Rights Reserved.

The April 8 article on the visit of Jonathan Haidt (“America’s Uncivil Discourse”) is a reminder of how the need for civil discussions is a central concern of this era, perhaps a lost art. Our political and cultural divisions are starker than ever. “Discourse about discourse” sounds like self-indulgence until we notice that many cultural traditions — and contemporary conflict resolution methods — take this step very seriously.

Ground rules, as they’re called in modern conflict mediation, are fundamental to the success of any dialogue. Where people share linguistic and cultural norms, ground rules often function invisibly. But in situations of escalated tension with diverse assumptions about “normal,” conversation about conversations is necessary. That’s the state of America today. Our diverse schools, businesses and communities are increasingly microcosms of a diverse society, including its conflict.

The insight of ground rules suggests that neither Haidt nor those he criticizes for demanding “safe spaces” are wrong. What may be wrong is prescribing the rules. Each challenging dialogue will have its own needs and goals. More likely than not though, people will want similar guidelines — respectful listening, equal chances to speak, refraining from putdowns, etc.

The point of creating ground rules for each conflict is not to shape unique guidelines. It’s to get buy-in for the eventual dialogue.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau suggested that democracy be periodically remade so that each generation could renew its sense of ownership. Similarly, in heated debate with diverse norms, our communities and institutions can be strengthened by inviting people who want to join the dialogue to jointly build that conversation from the ground up. Then when we begin the deeper conversation, we’ll be speaking in a space safe enough for everyone to be part of the change they seek.

Christopher Fitz
Executive Director of Community Engagement

Arun Gandhi’s jokes in visit, ‘I think you have convinced me that i should move to Lancaster’

Richard Hertzler | Staff Photographer
Arun Gandhi, an Indian-American author, scholar and political activist and a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, speaks with Chris Fitz, executive director of Advoz, after his meeting with a panel of representatives from Lancaster outside the Lancaster Marriott.

Published May 5, 2017 in Lancaster Online. Copyright © 2017 LancasterOnline. All Rights Reserved.

May 5, 2017

After listening to a diverse group of Lancaster County residents describe their community at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square Friday morning, Arun Gandhi said it reminded him of the story his grandfather told of the blind men and the elephant.

In that story told by Mohandas Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi,  six visually impaired people felt various parts of the elephant. One who felt the legs said it was like a tree. Another who held the trunk said it was like a snake. Someone else who touched the body said it was like a wall.

To get a true picture of the animal, you need to put all of those pieces together. The same, he said, is true of a community.

Gandhi is a peace activist, author, journalist and agent of change. He founded the  M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Rochester, New York. He visited Lancaster at the invitation of Advoz, a nonprofit agency dedicated to transforming  conflict and building community through face-to-face dialogue programs. Thursday evening, he addressed 500 people at Spooky Nook Sports.

He spent Friday morning listening to 22 county residents from different backgrounds and walks of life describe their community.

What he heard was a belief that over the past 30-plus years, Lancaster has become more diverse, more accepting of outsiders, and better for it — as evidenced by the fact that Lancaster city is the No. 1 area for refugee settlement in the country on a per capita basis, according to the BBC.

Joe Moore, a member of the Lancaster Friends Meeting (Quakers), spoke of the racial, cultural and ethnic diversity in the city.

Deepa Balepur,  president of the Indian Organization of Lancaster County, said members of her community have easily integrated into life here.

Mukaram Syed, a business consultant and board member of the Islamic Community Center of Lancaster, said that from the outside, Lancaster looks like a closed community, but “it has a big heart. In seven years, I have seen Lancaster’s fabric change.”

“We will dissolve into your community like the sugar in the water. I think that’s a wonderful symbol of how we should all live in a community where we enhance each other and sweeten each other by our presence.”

~ Arun Gandhi


Richard Hertzler | Staff Photographer Dr. Arun Gandhi an Indian-American author, scholar and political activist and a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi is shown speaking to a panel of Lancaster representatives. To Gandhi’s left is Thomas Ryan, and at right is Leroy Hopkins, retired professor from Millersville University.


Mayor Rick Gray attributed people’s acceptance, in part, to the underlying influence of the peaceful and respectful Anabaptist community.

Others addressed the local work ethic and deep history of Lancaster — how the promise of religious freedom guaranteed by William Penn and the adherence to democratic principles have contributed to the  fabric of the community.

When asked his impression of what he had heard, Gandhi quipped, “I think you have convinced me that I should move to Lancaster.”

Noting the diverse perspectives  presented Friday, Gandhi referred not only to his grandfather’s story about the elephant but about Zoroastrians, who left Persia sometime between the 8th and 10th centuries and sought a home in India, which was then ruled by various kings. One king, Gandhi said, held up a full cup of water and told them that like the full cup, there was no room for them.

At that point, one of the Zoroastrian leaders took a spoon of sugar, stirred  it  into the water and said, “We will dissolve into your community like the sugar in the water.

“I think that’s a wonderful symbol of how we should all live in a community where we enhance each other and sweeten each other by our presence.”

Were you around the table with Dr. Gandhi? Complete the “talk back!”

If you had any doubts about the hope and resilience for adding voice in South Central Pennsylvania, I imagine they are now erased. The turnout, the participation, the generosity and the feedback in the last 24 hours from Around the Table is humbling now to receive. Thank you for being part of this special experience.

Add your voice one more time in this 3-minute survey on the event by clicking on this link:

We have reached 1,000 Advoz fans on Facebook! Click here and push us to a new level!

We are tallying up the fruits of your incredible generosity now, but before we have a final tally, I welcome you to post your own photos to social media and or enjoy a few here and on our Facebook page. Include #AroundtheTable2017 and #AddYourVoice and our username: @AdvozPA on both Twitter and Facebook.

Before he left, Arun Gandhi shared with some of us how our conversations are like a story of seven blind people describing an elephant. None of us can describe fully what the elephant is, but together, when we speak clearly and listen–we begin to see the big picture, the whole community. Thanks for adding your voice, for listening and for furthering Advoz’s work of transformative dialogue.


More than 100 Items for Bid to Benefit Advoz

If you’re one of nearly 500 people expected to join us Around the Table with Arun Gandhi on Thursday, May 4th, you can look forward to more than 100 items up for bid. Doors open and silent auction begins at 5 pm, ending at 7 pm. Dinner commences at 6 pm and program and live auction at 7 pm. We hope you’ll leave energized by the event’s conclusion at 8:30 pm. And remember, each bid is a donation that invests in far-reaching transformative dialogue and restorative justice.


Walnut Desk with hand carved rosette hand crafted by Ken Nissley.

One Week Stay in Machachi, Ecuador
for up to seven adults at the Calvachi Cottage (through Feb. 2018)

Arun Gandhi’s new book “The Gift of Anger” & Two Tickets to Breakfast with Dr. Gandhi & community leaders on May 5th, 8-10:30 AM


Coordinate Height-Adjustable Desk (standing and sitting) and Perch chair from HON Office Furniture

Showcase of Fashions Vera Bradley Suitcase, 27” Moon Blooms


Donor Item
Mayor Gray Lunch for Two with Mayor Richard Gray and his wife, Gail Gray at a mutually agreed upon restaurant
Sight & Sound 2 Ticket for Jonah (Tues, Wed or Thurs)
Laura Scheff Family Movie Night Basket (popcorn popper, popcorn, candy and 8 movies)
Sandy Hoover International wine basket
Albright & Thiry Orthodontics 1 Philips Sonicare For Kids toothbrush
Albright & Thiry Orthodontics Philips Adult Flexplan Platinum Sonicaire toothbrush
Funtime Cinemas Kendig Square 4 Movie Passes
J.A. Sharp Custom Jeweler Belair White Ceramic Watch
Noemy Wachtel Food Dehydrater
Noemy Wachtel Iced Tea Maker
Noemy Wachtel Pumpkin Pie dish
Selena Baldwin Antique teacups and saucers ($30), Premier Pearl Earrings ($28)
Beth Cardwell Photography Gift certificate for professional photos
Dogstar Books Gift certificate and book
Elizabethtown College Alumni Office Basket of Elizabethtown College items
Nancy Shenk 2 tickets to Longwood Gardens
Commissioner Stuckey Lunch for 2
Commissioner Lehman Lunch for 2
Hidden Acres Campground Camp site for 2 nights and Mug
Longenecker’s True Value Hardware $25 Gift Card
Ken Nissley 2 Handmade Walnut Cutting/Cheese Boards ($25 each) and Small Wooden Ring Box ($15)
Commissioner Parsons Lunch for 2 w/ commissioner ar Federal Taphouse
Ken’s Gardens Planter
Lance Courturier Original Watercolor Painting
Sharp Shopper Grocery Outlet $200 Gift Card
Fulton Theatre 2 ticket vouchers for Newsies
BB’s Grocery Outlet, LP $25 Gift Card
Kitchen Kettle Village $25 Gift Card
Grand Central Bagel 3 $15 Gift Cards
Regal Entertainment Group 4 Movie Passes
Lancaster Sweet Shoppe 4 pack variety of Stroopies (Cinnamon waffle cookies)
Pour Restaurant $50 Gift Card
Gesino’s Italian Specialty Foods Gift basket with tastes of Italy
Allan W. Shirk Book – Ed Nolt’s New Holland Baler: “Everything Just Went Right”
Himalayan Curry & Grill 4 $25 Gift Certificates
Robin Baldwin Mug ($12), Mercedes Belt purse ($90), Biscotti Jar ($20), The Impressionists Coffee Table Book ($40), 2 Candle Warmer Lanterns ($30 each), Strawberry Candle ($20)
Ginny Newcomer Coasters ($10), fishing frame ($10), stuffed gumball machine ($10)
Chuck Miller Handmade Snowman Plaque
Painting with a Twist $25 gift certificate and a painting
Adventure Sports in Hershey 4 Mini Golf Passes
Leisure Lanes 6 Bowling Passes ($24), 2 Mini Golf Passes ($8), 2 Putting Passes ($13)
Owl Central Games Board Game Starter Set including Codename Pictures, Duel, Back to the Future, Dominion, Santorini and Pandemic Legacy Season 1
Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery Gift Basket with mug, pretzels and cookbook
The Spice & Tea Exchange of Lancaster Gift Basket and gift card
Lancaster Science Factory 4 tickets
Square One Coffee 2 bags of coffee
Rocky Springs Entertainment Center 5 Bowling Passes
Ciro’s Italian Bistro $50 Gift Card
Scooter’s Restaurant & Bar $25 Gift Certificate
Advoz staff $50 Giant Gift Card
Advoz staff $50 Panera Bread Gift Card
King’s Homestead Gifts “Some Kind of Love” book ($24) and “Mom” sign board ($19)
Evans Candy 10 oz box of truffles, 14 hollow chocolate figures
Ana Ayala Acrylic Painting (18 x 24)
Land Transfer Co., Inc Barnstormers tickets and memorabilia
Sunrise Bodyworks Massage gift certificate and hot sack
Carlos & Charlie’s $20 Gift Certificate
Sloan’s Pharmacy (Manheim) Gift basket including mug, picture frame, watering can, candles and bath and body products
Bright Mountain Massage and Yoga Certificate for 60 minute massage
Taj Mahal Restaurant $25 Gift Certificate
Lititz recROC 5 month individual membership (expires 10/4/17)
Lancaster Central Market Standholder’s Association Gift basket including market items and gift certificate
Lititz Framing & Fine Arts $50 Gift Certificate
Joe’s Famous Wings and Wieners $25 Gift Card
Daily Grind Coffee Shop $25 Gift Card
Good’s Store (Quarryville) Birdbath Planter
Good’s Store (Quarryville) Camouflage camping chair
The Original Pennsylvania Pickle Co 2 Gift Bags including pickle juice, marinades, sauces and relishes
Freiman Stoltzfus Gallery Lancaster Cartography Canvas Print and “A Dreamer’s Heart” Book signed by Freiman Stoltzfus
Strasburg Rail Road 2 Coach Tickets
Beth M. Crosby Handmade Items from Ten Thousand Villages – 2 bracelets ($15 each), basket ($30), Hospitality Pineapple box ($20)
Sunshine Nut Co. 12 bags of cashews ($6.25 each)
Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire 2 tickets to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
Ferguson and Hassler Grocery Store $25 Gift Certificate
Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre $50 Gift Certificate
Andy Smith Artwork – Print
Cork Factory Hotel $25 Gift Certificate
Laserdome Laserdome party certificate – 8 Player Laser Tag session, 3 Player VIP Launch session, $100 off Laser Universe Birthday Party or $80 off Galaxy Quest Birthday Party
Isaac’s Restaurant & Deli Free sandwich or large green salad, cup of soup and dessert (2)
Go N’ Bananas Bucket including 2 Nano passes for all 6 attractions (ropes course, laser tag, laser maze, bumper cars, mini bowling and ball play area, and $5 arcade pass
Lombardo’s Restaurant 2 $25 Gift Certificates
The Yoga Room $65 Gift Certificate
Certified Carpet Carpet Cleaning Gift Box
Barbara Spiegelberg Original watercolor by Marita Hines “Lobster Pots”
Lisa Davis “Going Home” by Jane L Martin – Acrylic painting on canvasboard
Lisa Davis “In Green Pastures” by Jane L Martin – Acrylic painting on canvasboard
Arlene Vogt Handmade Raggedy Andy doll
Arlene Vogt Handmade Raggedy Ann doll
Sachi Smith “Heading West” by William Herr – hand constructed conestoga wagon pulled by open team
Sachi Smith “The Road to Frederick” by Sandra Conklyn – constructed wooden barn and house
Sachi Smith “Harper’s Ferry Fantasy” by Sandra Conklyn – constructed wooden house
Diane Heisterkamp Porcelain Vessels by Angela Shope – hand thrown porcelain
Diane Heisterkamp “Time Man” by Ron Ettelman – mixed media and assemblage
Diane Heisterkamp “Demuth #3 (New Hampshire)” by Jeff Geib – charcoal, conte, watercolor, prismcolor
Fred Frough “Late Summer” by Jean Pierre Alaux – signed original limited edition lithograph
Fred Frough “Sisters” by Pat Cooper – acrylic painting on canvas
Fred Frough “Mush Ox” by Don Bashore – pen and ink on scratchboard
Fred Frough “White Tailed Kite” by Don Bashore – pen and ink on scratchboard
Fred Frough “Wildflowers” by Alice Holland – watercolor
Fred Frough “Hope” by Billy Jacob – acrylic paint on board
Fred Frough Hempstead Mills painting – watercolor
Fred Frough “Cliff Dwelling” by Drawes – linoleum block print
Fred Frough “Street Scene” by Reiga – color print
Lucille Connors Jewelry Stand
Lucille Connors “Follow Your Heart” by Regina Martin – Giclee Print
Lucille Connors Polo Shirt
June McGlothlin Serving Platter
Gina D’Ambrosio Overnight stay at Moonstone Manor
Debby Spence 2 Handmade Vintage Style Aprons ($65 each)
Olivia Giavanni Noah’s Ark
Sachi Smith Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme – Three Direct Contact Prints from fresh herbs by J. Forster
Lamar Dourte 4 Flower Prints
Old Orchard Design Dangle Bangle – handcrafted expandable bracelet with colorful stones, glass beads and crystals
Old Orchard Design Feeling Blue Good – Hand woven tubular peyote stitch bracelet with focal bead
Old Orchard Design Fire and Ice – Custom made crystal and vintage bead necklace with double heart clasp
Old Orchard Design Hovering – Handcrafted multi-strand necklace of semi-precious stones, fresh water pearls and crystals strung on golden thread
Lucille Connors Love blanket (Primitives By Kathy)
Lucille Connors Various Primitives By Kathy items including signs, coasters and pads of paper
Deanna Weaver 4 water goblets
Village Greens Golf Inc. 2 tickets for “Gold” mini golf course
Tiffany Wenger Glasses ($20), Coffee Mug ($10)
Mila Pilz Wine Glasses
Planet Fitness Gym Bag and T-Shirt

Restorative schools is a first benefit of merger

CCP, CRS join to offer proactive, responsive and restorative conflict services under one roof

February 16, 2017 was a bitter, cold and blustery day, but that didn’t deter a stalwart band of peace-builders from venturing onto Lancaster’s Penn Square to “flash” the new name and merger of Lancaster County’s two long-serving organizations addressing conflict and crime to form a one-stop-shop for face-to-face dialogue programs: Advoz.

Pronounced “ad-vōss,” the word comes from the Latin for ‘voice,’ inherently meaning, ‘adding voice to dialogue.’ Its expanded mission, to transform conflict and build community with face-to-face dialogue programs, was discerned by consensus by the boards of both founding organizations.

Lancaster has a rich tradition of leadership in building peace. The Lancaster Mediation Center (later CRS) was founded in 1980 early in the US mediation movement. Similarly in 1994, LAVORP (later CCP) was formed at an early stage in the restorative justice movement. By 2017, both organizations worked in ever more proactive ways with people in conflict and have come of age.

The merger now allows Advoz to take a new proactively with local schools. With restorative practices technique of inclusive dialogue and classroom circle process, Advoz is part of a movement gaining steam nationwide to reverse the harmful trends of zero-tolerance discipline that exclude youth from their peers and increase their chances of lifelong criminal involvement. In 2016, 30% of juvenile justice cases referred to restorative justice from around Lancaster County happened at schools. Already underway at the School District of Lancaster, Advoz’s Restorative Schools project will equip more schools to address harm in youth violations “upstream” and prevent needless justice system involvement.

Lancaster County has been unique in Pennsylvania having two active services for mediation and restorative justice. While such services are legislated in other states because of their effectiveness and efficiency, our programs have thrived because of cooperative relationships with our county courts and generous community contributions.

Your support has made possible the joining of two leading programs in an even more effective and innovative force, bringing together more than 60 highly trained volunteers with a streamlined administration and board of directors. Your involvement—donations, event participation, facilitating, volunteering, praying, spreading the word—your voice—helps to realize the potential of our community to truly transform conflict into an opportunity for growth.

Arun Gandhi to recount boyhood lessons with grandfather

In what is shaping up to be a unique and interactive kickoff dinner event for Advoz, Dr. Arun Gandhi will literally speak “around the table” in an in-person interview  with Scott LaMar, WITF’s Radio Smart Talk host, who is also receiving the first Dignity in Dialogue Award on May 4, 5 pm, at Spooky Nook’s Olympic Hall.

Arun Gandhi grew up experiencing bullying and racism as a youth in South Africa, but learned about peacemaking and reconciliation during the two years he lived with his grandfather, Mohandas Gandhi. The elder Gandhi, a lawyer, pacifist and an activist, became the leader of the Indian independence movement.

Dr. Gandhi founded the M.K. Gandhi institute of Nonviolence in Rochester, NY, to help young people achieve a nonviolent, sustainable and just world. He has authored and edited several books on nonviolence, social justice and his grandparents’ legacy.

The event theme, Peace: The Next Generation asks, “How do we build a culture of peace in a divisive world, particularly for our youth and succeeding generations?” And the event will facilitate conversation on the theme around every table to add your voice. Find out more and register at:

Register for Around the Table

Adding Voice – Advoz is Born

Merger of Center for Community Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution Services unifies dialogue programs

The 14 year-old boy looked down at the floor through most of the dialogue session. Then the others in the room, those he had robbed, asked him, “what do you want to do with your future?” There was a pregnant pause.  He grasped for an answer; he wasn’t prepared for such a question about his life, his purpose.

It’s a scene that plays out again and again in restorative victim-offender dialogue.

After writing the acclaimed Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey later identified a wholly different “eighth habit” that gives people purpose and greatness: finding your voice and helping others find their voice.

Covey’s work, which arose from feedback on his original groundbreaking book, shows a growing understanding that communication and empathy are both moral imperatives and survival skills in our post-industrial economy.

And “voice” has become a central theme of forming Advoz from two dialogue-focused organizations joining. Our name, Advoz, discerned unanimously by more than 20 board and staff members, derives from the Latin for “voice,” or “adding voice to dialogue.” And an imperative for “adding voice” shows up again and again in our work:

  • The young offender who is asked about his life vision;
  • The crime victim who gets to be heard by those most involved in the violation;
  • The neighbor listening for the first time to the other side of their dispute;
  • The group that shifts their focus to their talents and vision and away from their weaknesses and divisions.

Add to all this the disempowering political news cycle, and it’s clear: the need for “adding voice” is more pressing than ever, in our personal, professional and community lives.

Your involvement with CCP, CRS and now Advoz, is now playing a growing part in cultivating “purpose and greatness” in Lancaster County and beyond.