Last Call to Circle Up Film Screening – March 22

A few seats remain for tomorrow’s Circle Up movie screening at Penn Cinema, 7 pm, Thursday, March 22, 2018.

The film follows Janet Connors and another mother,  as she reaches out to those who killed her son with hope for forgiveness…and the community change they create together to break the cycles of violence and revenge. Join us for an evening to learn and gain inspiration for what’s possible beyond the everyday story of “violence and youth.”

If you still want to see the film on Thursday, March 22, just show up at 6:50 pm to the event at Penn Cinema and pay at the door. $12 per seat. We look forward to continuing conversations around this powerful film…and look forward to welcoming Janet Connors to our annual dinner, Around the Table, April 19th at the Eden Resort. See:

With gratitude for sponsorship by:

Restorative Justice with Mark McKenzie on WSBA/WARM103

Listen as Mark McKenzie, from WSBA and WARM103, brings Molly Sollenberger and Chris Fitz on the air, this past fall, to discuss Advoz’s restorative justice through face-to-face dialogue involving crime victims and offenders. Also chronicled on the video Make Things Right, Molly talks here about how she was involved as a crime victim to make things right with the young offenders involved — and what her dialogue accomplished. Listen now…

Getting the “why” of Advoz

From Marina McDonough, Advoz fall intern, sophomore at Harrisburg Area Community College

Interning in the Advoz office this past fall, I’ve seen some of the most routine and most interesting parts of the work. During one of our weekly meetings, we went through a group brainstorm activity that helped me think about my own contributions to Advoz. The activity looked at three levels of any organization or team and how to build a common focus, but it also showed me my own motivation for working for peace in the community.

The first level is the “what’s.” What do we do with our time in the office? What do we do with our limited resources? What services do we offer? For Advoz, this is volunteer trainings, dialogue-focused events, and most of all, mediations. Then Advoz shares as much information about the work as they can, with donors, volunteers and surrounding communities. This was my first stage of learning; I learned what was done at Advoz.

Next came the “how’s,” which are difficult to get in summary forms, like a monthly newsletter. How do we get from point A to point B? How does an idea become a campaign? And how does an eager individual become a mediator? I saw a lot of hard work, including hours’ worth of behind the scenes jobs that were necessary, but thankless and often unnoticed. I saw the process of reading feedback from volunteers, of making something better than it was the last time. I learned about the importance of diversity and cooperation within a team and the value of communication.

Finally, come the “why’s,” which are at the marrow an organization like Advoz. I spent many hours in the office, and learned valuable information about the how’s and the what’s, but what I will remember came from three hours on a Tuesday night when I had the chance to observe a mediation between two people. Experiencing forgiveness and kindness, or frustration and relief is a world of difference from reading a story online or a statistical report on restorative justice. As well as vulnerability and resilience, the relationship formed, if only for three hours, shone brightest. I was able to see a transformation of two opposing individuals, an offender and a victim, two human beings who understood and in the end, wished only goodness for each other. For me, that is the “why.”

At Advoz, I learned about the unquantifiable value of bare, unguarded human connection. To hear it through Herman Melville, “We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”

Learning from Pennsylvania’s founding dialogue traditions

By Chris Fitz
A version of this article appeared in the Winter 2017-18 issue of The Dialogue. Credit also goes to Gisele Siebold, Natural Awakenings Lancaster, Tom Ryan and Leroy Hopkins of for compiling the story.

When European settlers arrived in Pennsylvania, indigenous peoples were already using a dialogue format called “talking circles” to make decisions and address conflict and harm in their communities according to a 2014 study, “Introducing Healing Circles…into Primary Care,” in The Permanente Journal.

Unlike many early colonial governors, William Penn sought to learn from these indigenous practices and live peacefully side by side. This founding tradition of inclusive community was a central point of discussion emphasized by Tom Ryan and Leroy Hopkins from (pictured left and right) when Arun Gandhi met with Advoz and community leaders in Lancaster this past May. After discussion by numerous community leader at breakfast, Gandhi went on to affirm the conversation, telling the story of an ancient refugee people whose emissaries promised to the hosting prince, not to overflow his teacup and spill his community’s resources, but to instead, simply add sugar and dissolve into their new community.

In one famous local exchange during the writing of the 1744 treaty held in Lancaster, Chief Canassatego urged the 13 colonies to unite in a participatory form of government like the Iroquois confederation. He dramatically presented Benjamin Franklin a single arrow, then broke it over his knee. Then he gave Franklin 13 arrows but failed to break them. The demonstration made such an impression, that the founding fathers agreed to pursue a federated and democratic governance rather than re-create the monarchy that established the colonies. And the 13 arrows are now enshrined in the talons of the eagle on US currency.

We have learned much since 1744, but are still learning how to live side by side. Our founding documents and laws did not include the voices of women, Native Americans or people of color. But over the last 30 years, the fields of mediation and restorative justice have blossomed alongside methods for inclusive decision-making like the Circle Process (and other methods advocated by the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation), hearkening back to the wisdom of practices used by various Native American tribes.

As a community like Lancaster, with the highest per capita number of international refugees, uses and practices more intentional dialogue processes, we are not only handling conflict better, but naturally, proactively building relationships and community across the many cultural and political divisions that still divide us. That, I believe, is a tradition worth continuing.

Around the Table with Arun Gandhi – You Made It Possible

With a merger to celebrate, Advoz’s newly formed joint-event team knew it would be a big year. But when the dust settled on the record May 4th event, all were amazed by the turnout of 525 attendees, 128 auction donations and 43 generous sponsors to celebrate the merger of the Center for Community Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution Services.

With more than 150 guests experiencing Advoz for the first time, there was an opportunity for everyone to “add voice” on the theme, Peace: The Next Generation with “table-talk” conversations (below) whose results were texted message to the MCs and highlighted, adding voices to the evening dialogue.


Table Talk with the Coutts family

Sponsors, bidders and donors all contributed to the final tally, raising $72,681, with proceeds benefiting Advoz mediation and restorative justice programs this summer.

43 businesses, organizations and patrons contributed to more than half of the cost of the event. Please take a moment to thank them when you see them in our community!


Thank you PNC Bank, our Dinner Dialogue Sponsor and Community Sponsors Benjamin Roberts and Gibbel Kraybill and Hess

Thank you PNC Bank, our Dinner Dialogue Sponsor and Community Sponsors Benjamin Roberts and Gibbel Kraybill and Hess

Community Sponsors included Goods Disposal Service, Re-Uzit Shop of New Holland, Significa Benefit Services and Shumaker Plan-Design-Transform all made major contributions

Goods Disposal Service, Re-Uzit Shop of New Holland, Significa Benefit Services and Shumaker Plan-Design-Transform all made major contributions as Community Sponsors.

Thanks to Dale and Sadie High, HON Office Furniture, Landis Communities, Natural Awakenings, Shady Maple Smorgasbord and Sharp Shopper for your generous Restorative Sponsorship.

Thanks to Dale and Sadie High, HON Office Furniture, Landis Communities, Natural Awakenings, Shady Maple Smorgasbord and Sharp Shopper for your generous Restorative Sponsorship.

Advocate Sponsors included Barley Snyder, Bertz, Hess and Co. LLP, John W. Eby, Elizabethtown Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking, Eastern Mennonite University Lancaster, Ephrata National Bank, EVERENCE Federal Credit Union, The Hess Agency, Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness, Lancaster Life Employment Skills, Mennonite Central Committee, Moravian Manor, Ross Insurance Agency, Russel, Krafft and Gruber LLP, David and Heather Sperrry, Miles and Dawnell Yoder, and Zaepfel Law PC

Advocate Sponsors included Barley Snyder, Bertz, Hess and Co. LLP, John W. Eby, Elizabethtown Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking, Eastern Mennonite University Lancaster, Ephrata National Bank, EVERENCE Federal Credit Union, The Hess Agency, Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness, Lancaster Life Employment Skills, Mennonite Central Committee, Moravian Manor, Ross Insurance Agency, Russel, Krafft and Gruber LLP, David and Heather Sperrry, Miles and Dawnell Yoder, and Zaepfel Law PC. THANK YOU!

And a big thanks to Facilitator and Patron Sponsors: Allegra Marketing | Print | Mail, Ana Ayala and Oscar Barbosa, Chris and Tabea Steinbeisser-Fitz, Compass Real Estate LLC, Gift CPA, Edward and Twila Miller, Oregon Dairy, PA Council of Mediators, Mila Pilz and Hazem Salem, Taylor Brand Group, Travel Time, Trout Ebersole and Groft.

And a big thanks to Facilitator and Patron Sponsors: Allegra Marketing | Print | Mail, Ana Ayala and Oscar Barbosa, Chris and Tabea Steinbeisser-Fitz, Compass Real Estate LLC, Gift CPA, Edward and Twila Miller, Oregon Dairy, PA Council of Mediators, Mila Pilz and Hazem Salem, Taylor Brand Group, Travel Time, Trout Ebersole and Groft.


The evening would not have been possible without the generous work by these key volunteers and partners donating their time and talents:

Meek Daye, chair
Susan Eberly and Alegre Concierge Services

Ana Ayala
Shaun Balani
Robin Baldwin
Rob Bomberger
Steve Bortner
Corey Faus
Chris Fitz
Jennifer Gallagher
Claudia Himes
Steve Kownacki, video
Mila Pilz
Rod Shumaker, staging
Dawnell Yoder

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Fall Mediation Training – New Three-Day Format

Our intrepid training team has been at the drawing board, crafting a compact and potent Basic Mediation Training in one three-day stretch. The training, which replaces the prior two-part format, still provides professionals and volunteers alike with a high quality foundational experience complete with CLEs for attorneys and CEUs for social workers, professional counselors and marriage/family therapists.

The training takes place Thursday September 28 through Saturday, September 30, 9 am – 5 pm at a the Mennonite Central Committee’s Welcoming Place in Akron, PA.

Early Bird ends Sept. 8. Registration deadline is September 22.

Pre-registration is required and can be made directly from our website at:

This introductory training can be augmented by later advanced training opportunities and mentorship, providing a high quality preparation to resolve conflict in a number of critical situations.

Training to volunteer in Restorative Justice Victim-Offender Conferencing is also scheduled for October with an multiple guest speakers and an updated design.

Share or download here the Advoz Fall 2017 Training Flyer.

Learn More and Register Today

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 Eye on Design: What an Intern Sees

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; 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 zero-tolerance discipline policies didn’t work. So, I pushed my worries aside and got to work.

Since Advoz is still pretty new, its brand isn’t fully developed. I was 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 as I jump back into my senior year at PCAD!

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

Lancaster Peacebuilders Join to Create Advoz

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: