phone number: (831) 220-0222
In May 2018 Lejla became the executive director of CRC. She comes to this organization with a wealth of experience in conflict resolution, mediation, and non-profit work. Lejla has initiated and executed programs locally and globally, focusing on “Promoting Peace through Dialogue” and encouraging the use of interest-based negotiation as a preferred method for resolving conflict. She co-founded Global Majority, an organization dedicated to the promotion of nonviolent conflict resolution through education, training, and mediation.
Lejla was a recipient of the prestigious Weinstein International Mediation Fellowship, assisting in complex multiparty mediations at the JAMS San Francisco office, and was part of the “Making Peace Our Business” initiative, focused on mediating violent conflicts over natural resources. Prior to this, she was also an Ariane de Rothschild fellow on social entrepreneurship and cross-cultural dialogue. She specializes in mediation and training and has consulted with United Nations organizations and educational institutions. Although much of her work has been international, Lejla has a strong community focus. She spends much of her time working towards institutionalizing conflict resolution education in our public schools and volunteering at peace focused youth initiatives.
Originally from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lejla came to the United States as a refugee in 1993. She holds a Master’s degree in International Policy Studies and a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She is an advocate for peace and nonviolence.
Restorative Justice Programs Director
phone number: (831) 475-9733
Alaya manages the Restorative Justice Programs at the CRC. She was trained as a community mediator in 2009 with SEEDS in Berkeley. Prior to her current position, Alaya was a volunteer mediator with the Parent Teen Mediation Program and the Victim Offender Dialogue Program since 2011 and the Family Affordable Mediation Program since 2014. Alaya earned a Master’s Degree in International Policy Studies with a specialization in Conflict Resolution and Negotiation in 2005. As a part of her graduate studies, she spent a month in Cyprus with the International Institute of Mediation and Conflict Resolution studying conflict resolution in the Middle East. In 2008, she interned with Global Majority in Nepal where she co-led workshops on interest -based negotiation and conflict resolution to Nepali youth peace activists. She has since created and led Effective Communication Workshops for corporate and non-profit clients. Alaya furthered her studies of restorative justice at a week-long course on Restorative Circles with Dominic Barter in 2011 and a 4-day course with the International Institute of Restorative Practices in 2015. She continues to design and lead trainings on communication, conflict resolution, and restorative justice for the CRC as well as facilitate mediations and dialogues with youth in the juvenile justice system as part of the Parent Teen Mediation Program and the Victim-Offender Dialogue Program.
Neighborhood Courts Program Coordinator
phone number: (831)220-0221
Danitza coordinates CRC's the Neighborhood Courts Program in collaboration with the Santa Cruz County's District Attorney's Office and Probation. Since receiving an Anthropology degree and Certification for Innovation and Technologies in Agriculture at the University of Concepcion in Chile, Danitza has worked in both the private and public sectors focusing on community work, preventive programs, and cultural development within the southern region of Chile. Her experience includes coordinating social programs addressing impoverished youths, indigenous agricultural communities, people with disabilities, entrepreneurs, and inmates throughout the country. She worked to provide alternative solutions to reduce recidivism for those incarcerated while advocating for changes to the criminal justice system through life skills training and societal reintegration.
Danitza moved to Santa Cruz in 2017 where she looks to promote community safety and a better quality of life for all residents.
Mediation and Training Manager
phone number: (831)219-8229
Katy manages community and workplace mediation along with the training program at the CRC. She was trained as a community mediator in 2018 with the CRC. Prior to her current position, Katy was a volunteer with Community Mediation, the Parent Teen Mediation Program and the Victim Offender Dialogue. Katy earned a Master’s Degree in International Development at American University in Washington DC in 2011. As a part of her graduate studies, she took conflict studies courses and fell in love with peace building and working with vulnerable populations. From 2014 to 2017, Katy worked in East Africa, screening refugees for resettlement to the United States. Her work took her to refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. In 2017, Katy moved back to the US and settled in Santa Cruz to work with people experiencing homelessness. It was during this time that she began exploring more tools for peaceful communication. This brought her to the CRC. Most recently, Katy completed a six month Nonviolent Communication integration program. When not focused on mediations and training, Katy likes to garden, practice yoga, play scrabble, and take her dog, Louie, on walks.
Affordable Divorce Mediation Program Manager
Court Mediation Program Manager
phone number: (831)475-6117 ext. 405
Amanda Clark manages both the Affordable Divorce Mediation and Small Claims Mediation programs. She has worked in advocacy for survivors of domestic violence as well as individuals with special needs in a variety of capacities. She also served the community as a labor assistant/Doula for several years. Both the Affordable Divorce and Small Claims mediation programs empower people to negotiate and create their own agreements and resolutions in a supportive and guided environment, and Amanda is passionate about bringing these services to the community.
Amanda is pursuing her Jurisprudence Doctorate at Monterey College of Law and intends to practice as an attorney in Santa Cruz County. She has two beautiful sons.
Walls to Bridges Project Coordinator
Alyssa is an undergraduate, transfer student at the University of California, Santa Cruz in her third year as a Legal Studies and Philosophy double major. She is an intern for the Center for Public Philosophy at UCSC and a peer mentor for Black Academy, a university transition program for black identified students. She plans on attending law school directly after finishing her undergrad. Alyssa is an adult child of a formerly incarcerated parent and an advocate for children impacted by the criminal justice system – she is an avid writer, storyteller and public speaker. By sharing her experience, she hopes to raise awareness around family reunification and connection to heal the traumas that many endure during familial incarceration. She continues to advocate for families through her new work with the CRC facilitating dialogues for those impacted by incarceration.
Restorative Justice Programs Assistant
phone number: (831)-219- 8231
Karina Chavez obtained her B.A. in Psychology in 2018 and she is currently working towards her Masters in Child and Adolescent Development, both at San Jose State University. Karina has worked in both private and public educational institutional settings. Karina is trained in behavioral therapy and has worked with toddlers for over a year. During her undergraduate studies, Karina published a research project that aims to reduce the educational disparities in higher education. She is currently conducting research to try to identify the protective factors that help those who have been exposed to trauma. Karina began volunteering at the CRC as a bilingual translator for the Parent-Teen Mediation and Victim Offender Dialogue Programs and is now The Restorative Justice Programs Assistant. In the future, Karina hopes to continue to broaden herknowledge in restorative justice practices to better help youth and families in need.
We rely on a pool of 50 trained community mediators coming from various backgrounds and expertise. If you are interested in becoming a mediator, sign up for our trainings and become a certified mediator!
We are actively looking for native Spanish-speakers volunteer mediators.
If you are interested in joining our team please contact us at (831)475-6117 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Conflict Resolution Center 614 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz CA 95060
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