Community Mediation Maryland's vision is for every Maryland resident to have awareness of and access to affordable, high-quality community mediation services.
CMM advances collaborative conflict resolution in Maryland through educating the public, providing training and quality assurance, conducting research, and creatively applying mediation to social challenges.
Meet Our Team
Lorig Charkoudian, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Community Mediation Maryland. Her work includes developing innovative partnerships with state agencies including the Department of Education, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Department on Aging and others, to bring collaborative conflict resolution to new and unique forums.
Prior to becoming Executive Director, she served as Community Mediation Maryland’s Director of Research and Training. Lorig founded and served for seven years as the Executive Director and lead trainer for the Community Mediation Program in Baltimore City. She has trained hundreds of mediators all over Maryland as well as police, judges, and social workers. Lorig served on the Maryland Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission which established the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office.
Lorig co-founded Community Mediation Maryland and served as Board Chair. Lorig received her Ph.D. in Economics from The Johns Hopkins University. The focus of her research was on the public cost of conflict and the cost savings of mediation to the Baltimore City Police Department. Lorig’s current research examines the impact of various aspects of the mediation process on outcomes and experiences for participants.
Leslie Overholser is the Deputy Director for Community Mediation Maryland. In this role, she is responsible for development activities to include fundraising and event planning. In addition, Leslie provides financial and HR management. She supports the education programs in schools statewide. Leslie also works closely with CMM partners and provides technical support to community mediation centers.
Prior to working with CMM, Leslie was the Executive Director at the Anne Arundel Conflict Resolution Center. Before starting with AACRC, she spent 20 years with Bank of America as an SVP in banking operations. Leslie made the career choice to leave banking in 2010 to pursue her dream of working for a non-profit.
Leslie holds a B.A. degree in Communications, is a certified mediator in the Inclusive Model, and has logged over 500 hours of mediating cases from re-entry to parenting plans.
Erricka Bridgeford is the Director of Training for Community Mediation Maryland. In this capacity, she provides training to the 14 community mediation centers in Maryland, as well as to state agencies and organizations. She has provided advanced skills training to mediators at the Maryland Human Relations Commission, for Federal EEOC mediators, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and at many national conferences.
Prior coming to CMM, Erricka was a case manager at Community Mediation in Baltimore City, giving her a unique insight into the challenges of working with people in conflict from the beginning of a referral through the completion of the mediation. Erricka was promoted to Director of Training and Volunteer Development, where she trained, mentored, evaluated, and supervised both new and experienced mediators.
Erricka was trained to be a mediator in 2001. She describes her excitement about conflict resolution as an opportunity for people in conflict to find peaceful resolutions. Erricka’s experience with conflict continues to include watching friends and family fight, kill and die as the only options for ending disputes. The philosophy that conflicts can be vented and creatively resolved by those involved to truly meet their needs, is one that brings Erricka hope. This hope fuels her commitment to being a part of changing the culture of conflict in our society.
Tracee Ford is a professional mediator and facilitator with over 15 years’ experience. Tracee uses her creative energy and talents to help groups meet their goals. From 2004 to 2011, Tracee served at different times as the Outreach Coordinator, the Director of Training and Outreach, and the Executive Director for Community Mediation in Baltimore. She has extensive experience training mediators for: Office of Public Defenders, Baltimore City Police Department, Office of Labor Commission, Baltimore City Public Schools, and community mediation centers in Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, Hagerstown, and Baltimore. Tracee is an evaluator for the Community Mediation Maryland Performance Based Evaluation for Mediators.
Hope Braveheart is the AmeriCorps Program Director at Community Mediation Maryland and serves with the America’s Service Commission (ASC) as one of Maryland’s States for Service Leaders. Ms. Braveheart began leading the CMM AmeriCorps program in 2007 and through her efforts hundreds of AmeriCorps members have served one year terms at community mediation centers throughout Maryland. As one of Maryland’s States for Service Leader Ms. Braveheart represents Maryland as ASC promotes congressional legislative education about the impact of AmeriCorps.
Akida Jones is a certified mediator in the Inclusive Mediation Process and the Office Manager and Development Assistant for Community Mediation Maryland. In this role, Akida supports CMM logistically in all facets including in fundraising. She has taken advanced trainings that allow her to mediate statewide Parenting Plan mediations, Large Group Facilitations, and IEP Facilitations.
Community Mediation Maryland was founded and incorporated in 1999 by a number of community mediation centers working in conjunction with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, now the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO). Community Mediation Maryland worked with MACRO to establish stable funding from the Maryland Judiciary for community mediation centers and to design a funding model. This model is unique in that it maintains the grassroots focus of community mediation centers while rewarding centers for performance.
In the first two years of operation, Community Mediation Maryland supported the developed of five new community mediation centers in Maryland. Since then Community Mediation Maryland has supported the development of four new centers and continues to work with communities who are not served by a community mediation center to develop centers in those areas.
Community Mediation Maryland supports centers through training, technical assistance, and the development of partnerships with state-wide agencies and organizations. Community Mediation Maryland receives a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Maryland Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism to recruit, train, place, and supervise over 20 AmeriCorps members in centers throughout Maryland.
Community Mediation Maryland has a Training Department which provides free training to all community mediation centers in Maryland in the following areas:
- Basic Mediation Training
- Parenting Plan Mediation Training
- Parent-Teen Mediation Training
- Large Group Facilitation
- Specialized and Advanced Mediation Skills
Community Mediation Maryland’s Training Department also has a program to apprentice new trainers and a mentorship program for new mediators. Community Mediation Maryland’s training department has conducted contracted training for several state agencies and organizations, including the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings, the Maryland Department of Human Resources, the Office of the Public Defender, as well as several trainings for the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Community Mediation Maryland has established partnerships with state agencies and organizations to increase access to community mediation and conflict resolution services throughout the state.
Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), Maryland Home Improvement Commission
CMM works in partnership with the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation, Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC). MHIC refers disputes between home-owners and contractors to mediation in several community mediation centers.
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
Prison Re-Entry Mediation
CMM is working with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) to use mediation as a tool to support the transition of inmates from prison and into their communities. Mediation sessions between the inmate and family members take place while they are incarcerated and follow-up mediations are be available once inmates are released. The network of mediation centers throughout the state support our ability to conduct the follow-up mediation regardless of the county to which the inmate is released. The “in-prison” mediation program has begun in six facilities. In each facility, inmates approaching release learn about mediation and conflict resolution as a group. They then have an opportunity to request mediation with a family member or friend on the outside.
More information about Re-entry Mediation and Case Examples (PDF)
Prison Re-entry Mediation: Unlocking the Potential of Relationships in Tough Economic Times
District Court of Maryland
CMM works with the District Court of Maryland Alternative Dispute Resolution Office to ensure that individuals seeking to file charges in court are made aware of the option of mediation. Community mediation centers provide mediation to pre-trial and on the day of trial for individuals in Small Claims and Peace Order cases.
Family Court Division
CMM works with the Administrative Office of the Courts Family Court Division to support the provision of Parenting Plan mediation to resolve issues of custody and visitation for low income families involved in the court system. In selected counties these families will be referred to communities mediation centers for free mediation services. CMM has developed protocol, training, and evaluation in conjunction with the Family Court Division.
Maryland State Department of Education – IEP Meeting Facilitation Project
According to Federal Law, any child eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must have an Individual Education Program (IEP) that meets his/her needs. The IEP is developed and reviewed at least annually by a team that includes parents, teachers, special education administrators, and others. While the goal of these meetings is for the team to work collaboratively and reach consensus, conflicts between the parents and the school or among team members can result in an inability to reach consensus. Dissatisfaction with the communication and decisions made at the meeting can create a negative relationship between the parent and the school system personnel. Through the IEP Meeting Facilitation Project developed by CMM and the Maryland State Department of Education, community mediation centers in 13 counties now offer free facilitation for Individual Education Program (IEP) Team meetings. The goal of a facilitated IEP meeting is to help the IEP team communicate effectively and develop an educational program to meet the child’s need. CMM regularly evaluates the effectiveness of facilitated meetings. Based on the evaluative data, 86% of the respondents reported that they were satisfied with the facilitation process.
More information about Facilitated IEP meetings
Police Complaint Mediation
Voluntary mediation between police and residents can be used in place of the traditional Internal Affairs investigation for complaints such as Harsh Language, Unprofessional Behavior, or Disrespect. Mediation gives both the resident and the officer a voice in a direct conversation where each can explain their experience of the situation. When appropriate, they can develop agreements for their future interactions. Unlike the traditional method of addressing allegations of police misconduct, this resident—police mediation allows for community members and officers to build understanding around what happened in the situation, creating bridges between law enforcement and the community.
Jennifer Williams, President
Hannibal Kemerer, Vice President
Tyler Smith, Treasurer
Katie Nash, Secretary
Michele Ennis, Member
Cawanna King, Member
Tereance Moore, Member
Danielle Revers, Member
Jerusalem Tekie, Member
Julie Walton, Member
Laurie Wilner, Member
The 10 Point Community Mediation Model
Mediation helps people reach agreements, rebuild relationships, and find permanent solutions to their disputes. Mediation is a process that lets people speak for themselves and make their own decisions. Community mediation provides a non-profit framework for assuring access to mediation services at the community level with control and responsibility for dispute resolution maintained in the community. Community mediation strives to:
Train community members who reflect the community’s diversity with regard to age, race, gender, ethnicity, income and education to serve as volunteer mediators
Provide mediation services at no cost or on a sliding scale
Hold mediations in neighborhoods where disputes occur
Schedule mediations at a time and place convenient to the participants
Encourage early use of mediation to prevent violence or to reduce the need for court intervention, as well as provide mediation at any stage in a dispute
Mediate community-based disputes that come from referral sources including self-referrals, police, courts, community organizations, civic groups, religious institutions, government agencies and others
Educate community members about conflict resolution and mediation
Maintain high quality mediators by providing intensive, skills-based training, apprenticeships, continuing education and ongoing evaluation of volunteer mediators
Work with the community in governing community mediation programs in a manner that is based on collaborative problem solving among staff, volunteers and community members
Provide mediation, education, and potentially other conflict resolution processes to community members who reflect the community’s diversity with regard to age, race, gender, ethnicity, income, education, and geographic location