April 11, 2022
Spring 2022
Message from the Executive Director

Dear AACRC Friends,
The pandemic shed a bright light on the inequities and conflicts within so many communities. Those communities include Community Mediation Centers. Like most businesses, AACRC was caught off guard by the pandemic. Many other Centers were also left vulnerable to issues that plague small businesses frequently – undercapitalization. Usually when we discuss conflict, the focus is external; outside the organization. We know how to deal with domestic violence, neighborhood disputes, breached contracts, or workplace conflict. But there are internal conflicts within organizations as well, including AACRC, that require care and attention.
Among them are conflicts with managing resources - the day-to-day operations of a center, pursuing funding opportunities that meet the needs of the diverse constituency, and consistently marketing the center’s “bread and butter” service of traditional mediation in an environment many “purists’’ of the process feel to be compromised due to the newly adopted virtual option. 
Wow, who would have imagined there could be inner conflict within the mediation organization? Well, yes, there are conflicts in our space; we simply know how to deal with them expediently.
As the executive director of AACRC, I am so proud to announce that in the midst of the storm of deciding priorities and competing interests, our volunteers and staff were immovable, determined, and steadfast about meeting conflict where ever and however needed. The prisons are closed? No problem, we found a way to work with people who are incarcerated. The schools are closed? Again, we figured out how to work with youth in the community. What, the courts are closed? No big deal! We can mediate virtually! Where there is a will, there is a way and we found many ways to move forward and survive in the midst of what seemed unsurvivable to so many businesses.  
For every problem, we found a solution, solution and I am so very thankful and grateful for the tenacity of our volunteers and staff. They allowed AACRC to move aggressively into the space of a Level 5 mediation center! Yes, during the pandemic our Center suffered loss of some revenue opportunities as well as a reduction in mediations conducted. But we have used the past 24months to focus on delivering a wider array of high-quality mediation services to the largest group of constituents possible. The end result is an increase in the number of people accessing services in 2021 – which pushed us up to our Level 5 status, a higher-fundable position.
This elevation to a Level 5 mediation center, a standard established by the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO), would not have been possible without the many partners of AACRC. If I could list the names of each partner, this newsletter would be one long love letter from the ED. Please allow me the indulgence of saying that the entire board of directors, volunteers, and staff thank you all from the bottom of our hearts! We appreciate the opportunities to work with you, your constituents and staff over this past 12 months and look forward to the future.

Most Appreciatively,

Georgia Noone-Sherrod

P.S. Please look, below, for information on our newly-launched fundraiser, Planting Seeds for Peace.

We’re Planting Seeds for Peace!

While our winter in-person fundraising event was cancelled due to COVID restrictions, we are coming out large and loud in our spring crowdfunding campaign – Planting Seeds for Peace. This is especially relevant for our youth programs, where we can teach youth how to peacefully deal with and resolve disputes, as well as “grow” peaceful resolution skills that will last a lifetime. For example, AACRC works with elementary-age children on basic conflict resolution skills -- how to resolve disagreements, how to play well together, and the concept of fairness.  Learning to talk with one another and asking for what we want and need is fundamental to good communication. If learned early, these skills will carry children into the more challenging years of adolescence. In middle school there is a great need for adolescents to identify where they belong, define who they are, and question sexuality. This is where issues regarding self-esteem, confidence, and develop healthy versions of self emerge.

Even though we spend a great deal of time responding to conflict, the Center prefers to focus on preventative programming, and our in-school and afterschool workshops are designed specifically with this end in mind. Currently, youth-centric preventative programming is in high demand and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with this community, Planting Seeds of Peace along the way; seeds if nurtured and cared for properly will bloom and prosper into well-adjusted confident adults who can resolve conflict peacefully. For more information on our youth conflict resolution programs, contact us at AACRCC@aacrc.info and or call the center at (410) 266-9033. 
Our Planting Seeds for Peace campaign launches on April 11, and we hope to wrap it up with a lovely plant sale. Watch for our announcements on social media and via email. Your donation will help us grow a more peaceful future. You can donate here now.


In the Schools
  • AACRC has provided training in Conflict Management for AACPS staff and the Charting Career’s staff. Charting Careers is a non-profit in partnership with Anne Arundel County Public Schools – Community Schools program. The mission of Charting Careers is to work, “…individually with youth and their families, while also addressing the systemic issues leading to poverty and inequities in the first place.” The paradigm of change within a new organization like Charting Careers is prime for conflict; therefore, as one of many strategic partners of Charting Careers, AACRC is the expert in mediation and conflict resolution.

  • The Center is providing workshops and Conflict Management training for students at Mills-Parole Elementary School.

  • We have recently facilitated over 15 Dialogue Circles and Anger Management sessions at Glen Burnie and Archbishop Spalding High Schools.

  • Just before the pandemic, AACRC had started facilitating workshops with a cohort of youth at The Center of Help/Centre de Ayuda. This incredible group of children between the ages of 11 and 16 initially adopted the name “The “Invisibles.” They have successfully navigated the pandemic due in part to the training and conflict management skills training provided by AACRC’s Education Team of Sadia White, Darlene Gamble, and Kathy Gray. In late 2021, The Invisibles, changed their group identity to the iNvincibles.” Our work with the iNvincibles continues, and we look forward to the strides this group of young people will make. We hope to expand this program in the future to other community groups.  

  • Prior to the pandemic, the Center provided Anger Management courses in person three to four times each month for pre-trial referrals from the courts, the Department of Social Services, and other agencies, as well as incarcerated people at Jennifer Road Detention Center (JRDC) and Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCI-W). Since the pandemic and restrictions placed around access to facilities, we have had fewer opportunities to provide in person services. However, with the lifting of some restrictions, we recently facilitated over 15 Dialogue Circles and Anger Management sessions at Glen Burnie and Archbishop Spalding High Schools and have re-introduced our course offerings at Jennifer Detention Center on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, the pandemic interrupted the pace of services, but not the necessity of working with vulnerable communities. We are happy to announce AACRC has re-engaged with JRDC and conducted 12 Anger Management sessions this past fall.  

  • AACRC continues to provide IEP (Individualized Education Plans) facilitators for families and schools in need of assistance at IEP meetings. This last quarter we conducted sessions for schools and families in Howard County, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County.  
  • Beginning Jan. 1 and through mid-March, the Center conducted 88 Conflict Coaching sessions for residents throughout Anne Arundel County. As you can see, Conflict Coaching is booming! We have more calls for this service than any other.

AACRC will support the work of the Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission, which handles housing discrimination investigations and claims and hate bias incidents. The Center will provide mediation support to the Commission and conduct mediations as referred by the Commission. Under the leadership of Eugene Peterson, HRC and AACRC agreed to provide assistance alongside the County’s newly appointed EEO and Compliance Officer Ms. Asha Smith. We are extremely excited to work with Ms. Smith and the Commission to provide a neutral process.

  • The Center was invited by the Maryland Bar Association’s ADR Section to join a distinguished group of Restorative Justice Experts in a presentation on Restorative Justice on March 23rd. Our Executive Director spoke on the panel and discussed Police Youth Dialogue (PYD) and Community Conferencing, both evidence-based restorative practices that, when utilized by communities, can divert youth from contact with the criminal justice system. The programs are 90 t0 95% effective. Others on the panel included experts from surrounding counties who all addressed restorative justice programming in their schools and communities, and addressed a wide range of topics including sexual harm, community dialogue, juvenile offenses, the correctional system, and youth and re-entry. The program was moderated by our very own former Board Chair Stacy Smith. Stacy is a volunteer mediator with AACRC and also the Director, Special Projects, and Center for Dispute Resolution (C-DRUM) at the University of Maryland, Carey School of Law.  

  • We are collaborating with the Y of Central Maryland, at bothe the Anne Arundel and Baltimore County locations on summer camp and year-round programming that will include an array of mediation services to youth, parents and Y staff. Through this program we will offer workshops and activities related to conflict management, creating cultures of peace, and other tools to strengthen youth’s coping and management skills. This exciting partnership has been in the works for years and we are so pleased to finally launch the program in partnership with the Baltimore County Mediation Center and the Dorchester County Mediation Centers (Mid-Shore Mediation). We also have a new partner at the table via our relationship with the Annapolis Community of Hope. Please welcome TCPY (Total Complete Player Charity Youth) Empowerment “unleashing the leader within Anne Arundel County Youth.” This summer, AACRC will provide youth center conflict resolution and conflict management training for two youth cohorts in July and August. We are so excited to work with this group of youth and with program Founder and Executive Director, Andy Schindling. Andy is a former minor league pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles and is totally invested in this partnership with AACRC.  

  • Center staff and volunteers attended Community Mediation Legislative Education Day in February. Thank you to Phil Reynolds, Edward Simon, Dawn Austin, and Georgia Noone for attending in person meetings with Maryland Delegates, Senators and members of their staff. We look forward to continuing this process before the close of the legislative session in virtual meetings as well.  

We are so sincerely grateful for the funding we have received during the past quarter. Our heartfelt thanks go to:

  • The Rouse Family Foundation, which awarded AACRC a grant in the amount of $6,000.00.  
  • The Annapolis Unitarian Universal Church gave the Center a gift of $1,615.50 through their Pass the Plate program. A very special thank you to Don Patterson, Sue Warren, and Caroline Hadley for securing this annual opportunity on behalf of AACRC.
  • We received additional gifts of stock and cash donated between Nov.1 and Dec. 31 for our Year End Appeal. Special thank you to Phil and Elsa Reynolds for their continued generosity. 
  • St. Anne’s Episcopal Church recently awarded us $5,000.
  • AACRC Supporter Sky Elsbree recently donated $5,000.
  • Caroline Hadley and Kenneth Apfel awarded the center with a very generous Year End gift, as did Ret. Judge, The Honorable Beverly Nash and Oren Wolfe.  
  • Donations were received from Friends of Kathy and Webster Gray’s 50th Anniversary Celebration and from Drs. Alice and Rich Isaacman.

New Board Members!

We recently elected a stellar group of professionals who have already started to provide their expertise to our board of directors. We are so grateful to be able to count on this experienced group:
Lisa Graberth is a research professor at George Washington University and Marquette University. She has a focus on public health and funding resources and has already stepped up to chair our Development and Marketing Committee.
Sadia White has been a volunteer mediator for the Center for more than 7 years. Among other programs, she is a conflict coach, marital separation mediator and provides specialized mediation services for the public housing authority’s grievance committee and their residents. Sadia has worked with the iNvisibles (now iNvincibles) and is a member of AACRC’s CRICT Team (Community Resource Initiative Care Team). Sadia is retired from DC Public School Administration.  
Don Patterson has been an active volunteer mediator at AACRC for almost 11 years. During that time he has taken numerous additional trainings beyond the Basic Mediation Training, including Parenting Plan, IEP Facilitation, Anger Management, Re-Entry, Large Group Facilitation, Community Conferencing, and most recently, Marital Separation. Center staff agree that Don brings positive energy and dedication to the mediation process to the Board.
Kenya Sampson serves as an Ombudsman for the Maryland Department of Health. She also serves on the several of the County’s CRICT teams e.g., Seniors, youth, families, etc. Kenya is a wealth of information. She is a well-respected member of the Health Department and has relationships throughout the county and is familiar with every statue and program available. In fact, Kenya is a subject matter expert in the area of Maryland’s Medical Assistance Programs. Her experience in human services is a priceless intangible that provides an endless set of resources the center can neither afford to hire or live without!  
Caroline Hadley has been mediating for AACRC for 15 years and continues to be inspired by its commitment to serve the community. As a Board member her goal is to support the center’s programs that celebrate diversity, those that serve the incarcerated, young and old, and services provided to those with and without means; in short our whole community. 
Our new members join our ongoing hard-working board members Sonya Penn (Chair), Kathy Gray (Vice Chair), Jim Denora (Treasurer), Ed Simon (Secretary), Dawn Austin, Carlesa Finney, Martha Mihaly Black, David Jason Ross, Kate Tkacik Sweeney, and Georgia Noone-Sherrod.

We are pleased to have onboard Sheila Coleman as our newest staff member. Sheila is our Volunteer Coordinator. Sheila formally joins the staff after 8 years as a practicing mediator with skills ranging from Conflict Coaching, Elder Care Mediation, Guardianship, Day of Trail Mediation, Parenting Plan, Marital Separation (Divorce), Attendance Mediation, IEP Facilitations, Small and Large Group Facilitation, Community Conferencing, etc. The list is too exhaustive. She was selected for this position because she is more than qualified. She understands the commitment our volunteers make and the intangibles required to hone their skills, the gifts required to motivate and inspire our volunteers. In addition to volunteering here at AACRC, Sheila is a CASA volunteer and she is a mediator for two other Community Mediation Center. We are so blessed to have her here with us! Please feel free to contact Sheila at Sheila@AACRC.info if you would like to volunteer with AACRC or learn more about mediation.  

Do you have a desire to learn about or work in the nonprofit world where your time and efforts are really appreciated? We have openings for part-time interns who can work in database management and/or communications and marketing. We can provide the structure and mentorship for 8-10 hours a week while you put your computer or social media marketing skills to work for a great cause. For more information about internship opportunities with AACRC, contact Georgia Noone-Sherrod.


The pandemic has created a tremendous increase in the need for mediators. We have trained several new mediators recently, and always have room for more. Helping others navigate the rocky paths of disagreements, misunderstandings, or cultural changes and differences is one of the best gifts you can provide a community. We also have short-term opportunities for events, outreach assistance, and fundraising. Contact our volunteer services for more information or to volunteer.