Old About

Athens Area Mediation Service has been serving our community since 1993. We are dedicated to solving conflict through cooperation.

Our Staff

We are deeply grateful to our contractors who make AAMS’s mission possible!

Our Board of Trustees

Sarah Horne | President

Isabel Graziani | Treasurer

Jim Sand | Secretary

Robin Muhammad | Board Member

Fred Weiner | Board Member

Trisha Lachman | Board Member

Kirsten Dransfield | Board Member

Our History

Athens Area Mediation Services (AAMS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Athens, Ohio that serves the southeast Ohio community. AAMS’s mission is to provide affordable and approachable dispute resolution with a specific focus on mediation, conflict resolution training, and social equity/racial justice programming. 

AAMS found its roots in the 1989 establishment of The Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management, a government agency tasked with providing Ohioans constructive and nonviolent forums, processes, and techniques for resolving disputes. In 1991, a small group of dedicated community members began to discuss the possibility of a local mediation center for Athens County residents. Letters of invitation were mailed in June of that year to a variety of community leaders, civic organizations, and local agencies, announcing an introductory meeting. At this gathering, Athens Area Mediation Service was officially named and a formal board and advisory group was established. 

AAMS began formal operations in 1993 with Sue Smith as its founding director. Under Sue’s direction, Claudia Hale, Professor Emerita with Ohio University’s School of Communication Studies, used her personal and academic experiences to train the initial group of mediators. In its first two years, the group conducted five mediations. Since that time, AAMS has grown to assisting with nearly 50 mediations a year. 

AAMS’s contractors are joined by a dedicated board of trustees who oversee operations, as well as a team of trained mediators and educational facilitators who make AAMS’s mission a reality. 

Nearly 1000 people in southeastern Ohio participated in mediations over the past ten years with approximately 87% resulting in signed agreements between the parties involved. Additionally, 900 area residents have completed AAMS’s Fundamentals of Mediation training, learning the skills and approaches needed to effectively facilitate difficult conversations in their own lives and throughout the community. 

In 2022 alone, 150 community members participated in various programs covering the topics of conflict resolution, effective communication, and group dynamics. AAMS also engaged an additional 200 people through our “Not Exactly a Book Club” program, dedicated to deepening conversations about social equity and racial justice to create actionable next steps. A variety of engagement opportunities will continue into 2023, including the on-going antiracism class and programming, specifically created for students at Athens High School and Middle School.

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