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June 15, 2019
Sharon Reynolds named Community Mediation Maryland's Volunteer of the Year from Baltimore City
Each year, the Baltimore Community Mediation Center is pleased to be able to honor an outstanding volunteer at the Community Mediation Maryland Gala. For 2019, that volunteer is Sharon Reynolds. Sharon is one of BCMC’s most dedicated volunteer mediators. Since joining BCMC, Sharon has mediated almost a hundred sessions. She is dedicated to improving her craft, and was recently certified at level 6 (the highest possible) through a rigorous performance-based evaluation (PBE).
“Mediation is the verbal manifestation of what I’ve been working on physically.”
Sharon is especially dedicated to helping people who are about to be released from jail or prison make plans with their family, loved ones, and support systems on the outside through our prison re-entry mediation program. Sharon was moved to get involved with re-entry mediation because she felt that the usual systems we have for dealing with crime, especially prisons, are sick and unhelpful. Mediations, she says, even when they touch on raw and ugly topics, are collaborative and come from a place of wanting to show love and support. She also considers criminal misdemeanor cases referred from the State’s Attorney’s Office a highlight of her work, especially when they get beyond the court charges and start talking about broader relationships. For instance, one of her cases started with a vandalism charge between former friends but ended with the three women making an agreement to stop hiding their feelings and life changes from each other.
Sharon sees many parallels between mediation and another one of her long-time passions, the defensive martial art Aikido (which she has been practicing and teaching for nearly 25 years!). Aikido, like mediation, is designed to be accessible to and inclusive of people of all sizes, circumstances, and abilities. Her students have included a woman who received a black belt at 73 years old, and someone who had had a catastrophic motorcycle accident that limited her mobility. Mediation, like Aikido, is about taking the energy of a conflict and not joining the clash but redirecting it in new ways. And in both, the goal is to protect and support everyone in the conflict – in Aikido, the goal is to protect yourself and your attacker. Sharon added mediation to her skills after upheavals in her life left her feeling like she had more tools for physical than emotional conflict.
Fortunately for BCMC, she describes herself as someone whose loyalty to Baltimore is only reinforced by the fact that she and her husband chose to move here, and found it an open and friendly place to live. We hope she will stay and continue working with us for quite some time!
In mediation, “even if someone says ‘I’m done with you, it’s not said with malice, but with love and firmness.”