Aaron is a community mediator and restorative justice practitioner committed to transforming conflict through community mediation, restorative dialogue, and trauma resiliency from a racial equity lens.
With a Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation from the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding in Harrisonburg, VA, Aaron has nurtured a range of partnerships with community organizations, non-profits, legal system stakeholders, and educational entities. When he moved to Pittsburgh in 2016, he joined and later supervised Center for Victims’ Restorative Justice department, coordinating the Victim Offender Dialogue program with Allegheny County Juvenile Court. Since the beginning of 2020, Aaron has worked with the University of Pittsburgh Center on Race and Social Problems’ Just Discipline Project as a school-based restorative practice coordinator with the Woodland Hills School District.
Aaron joined the founding efforts for Just Mediation Pittsburgh in Spring 2020. He is committed to relational peacebuilding and community-driven efforts to promote justice and repair harms.
Aaron lives in Wilkinsburg and enjoys soccer, porch sits, and massive portions of ice cream.
Engagement and Mediation Director
“My commitment is to help give a voice to the voiceless. My value isn’t determined by anyone’s inability to see my worth. Neither is yours.”
- Brenda Harris
Brenda has practiced facilitative mediation since 2005. Additionally since 2006, she has trained hundreds of community mediators primarily in Maryland but more recently in western Pennsylvania.
She has successfully mediated hundreds of conflicts, which include landlord-tenant, parenting plans, workplace, interpersonal relationships, school, re-entry, business and neighborhood disputes.
Whenever participants are willing, she will facilitate the dialogue to help them find win-win solutions to their problem. Her firm belief, that the solution resides within the participants, governs her style of meditation and influences her training.
Brenda enjoys spending time with her family and friends, creative writing, mentoring and Steeler football.
Maria Nunez-Varela is originally from Mexico, with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design. She developed an early passion for community and economic development, participating as a Project Leader in a program focused on promoting sustainable product development to increase revenues in indigenous regions of Mexico; analyzing demographic, geographic, economic, and cultural characteristics of the region.
Before joining JMP, Maria worked as a Community Manager at the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation, overseeing the Housing Initiative, Employment Program, and Community Program. One of the things she valued most about working for PHDC was being able to provide stability to families from diverse backgrounds through affordable housing in quality neighborhoods. In addition, she was also able to connect employees with employers.
Just Mediation Pittsburgh is committed to providing mediation opportunities for housing disputes. This commitment is what makes her feel proud of being part of JMP as the Program Administrator and a Community Mediator. In addition, the vibrancy, determination, and compassion that JMP reflects are invaluable features and resonate with her on both a personal and professional level.
Maria is a Flamenco instructor and performer, and she enjoys long walks, nature, and traveling.
Anna moved to Pittsburgh in 2015 and began her social work career while working with women who were experiencing homelessness. She then obtained her Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in Communities, Organizations, and Social Action (COSA) from the University of Pittsburgh. She has worked with nonprofits in the areas of homelessness, career development, and immigration and is passionate about making the world a better place for all.
Before joining Just Mediation Pittsburgh as the Intake Specialist, Anna worked as a service coordinator for the ISAC program at Casa San Jose. Her work included providing referrals for housing, rental assistance, healthcare, and education, as well as advocating for clients to receive better services. She enjoys working with people from all backgrounds and is excited to work with JMP to provide mediation services to the community.
Anna enjoys playing fetch with her cat Mia, taking long walks, and spending time with her family.
Just Mediation Pittsburgh has over sixty-five community mediators trained to respond to the specific needs of landlords and tenants in housing disputes.