Mediation Center Pays Tribute to Outgoing Board President, Elayne Sobel.

Board Member 2017
President 2014 – 2016
Treasurer 2013
Secretary 2012
Board Member 2010-2011


Elayne offered me the first professional job that I’ve held as a post-grad. Not only did she extend to me this opportunity to grow professionally, but she also awarded me an opportunity to grow as a person. Her devotion to the center and to the work that we do showed me true passion. It inspired me to really take to heart the good that mediation can do, as well as seeing the power of planting one small seed of an idea and turning it into something grand. Outside of the mediation center, Elayne always showed me kindness, generosity, and a genuine enthusiasm in getting to know me and helping me to succeed. Her friendship and leading example have been essential in making me feel at home as I started my life here. I thank her for all the work that she has done for the center and for us all and wish her all the luck with her next adventure!

-Danielle D’Alessandro


For Elayne,our outgoing Board President:

Albert Schweitzer said, “At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lite the flame within us.”  Elayne Sobel has been the light for the Central Susquehanna Valley Mediation Center from its’ inception.

Elayne helped develop the best in a person by always expressing appreciation and giving encouragement. She is unselfish, giving and ready with a can-do spirit. She went above and beyond, and I am touched and grateful.

“Thank you for your invaluable mentoring in the past. I’ve had fun getting to know you better, and I’ve learned so much from talking with you and seeing how you meet challenges. You are amazing at what you do! I’m grateful to have had the chance to work with you so closely.”

Elayne, for all you do, for who you are I’m sure we are all grateful you have been in our lives.  You are a tireless champion for so many people, not just those who pass through the center but in every aspect of your life.  If the world had more people like you it would be a better place. You do make a difference. You have a wonderful sense of humor, a perpetual positive outlook and brighten my day whenever I’m around you.  What you have contributed to the development of the CSVMC has been incredible and I know others have already said it, but it bear repeating, Al would be so pleased.

-Barbara Skrivanek


 It didn’t take a lot of thought to come up with a long list.

  • Many of the early planning meetings around her kitchen table, accompanied by her equally indefatigable dog, Manny
  • Her devotion to Al and the tremendous support she gave him when he was sick
  • The time I ran into Al and Elayne at the Weis market on the day after Susquehanna had closed the center and we shared the sense of shock and loss
  • Keeping Al’s dream alive by helping to create the CSVMC
  • Learning bookkeeping software and continuing to keep the books for the organization for several years
  • Putting up with me as “auditor” and general nag
  • Attention to the endless details of training food, preparation, etc.
  • For our first office we purchased some used office equipment (including that huge desk). Our little group of five (Elayne, Marie, Cindy, Kim, and me) were supposed to unload it from a truck and put it in the office.  I got here 5 minutes late and it was already done!
  • Hosting Winnie in her home for trainings—saving us lodging costs
  • Being willing to do whatever job needed to be done and doing it thoroughly
  • There would be no CSVMC if it weren’t for Elayne and her devotion and work, most of it behind-the-scenes.
  • She’s not leaving and that’s a very good thing!!!
  • AND, she was the first to bring us a gift for our impending grandchild

-Steve Jacobsen


I very much enjoy co-mediating with Elayne–she brings such positive energy to the mediation table.

I also appreciate all the great parties she has hosted for mediators and the significant time and effort she expends to support the mediation center!

All best,

-Karen Cotter


Dear Elayne.  I watched CNN’s Heroes of the Year and I thought of you.  You’re one of our Heroes of Susquehanna Valley.  Your service has left its mark on the lives of many souls.  As a founding member and President of the Board you leave our community with a legacy that will last many years.  Thank you from my heart.

-Stanley Frankel


Elayne’s work for the mediation center has been pioneering and remarkable. She is tireless, dedicated, infinitely responsible, easygoing, inspiring, and a joy to work with. Thanks, Elayne!!

-Sharon Silberman


From the first moment I met Elayne, her passionate dedication to the mediation center was clear to see. At the risk of sounding cliche, Elayne’s goodness is luminous and her energetic activism in making the world a better place, an inspiration. She makes me want to be a better person and I am honored that she values my paltry contribution to the mediation center.  I know that I’m on the right path if Elayne is leading the way.

-Marcus Smolensky


I have only known Elayne for a few months, and quite honestly, I have been in awe of her since the first second I met her!  That is not because she flaunts her skills or accomplishments, her generosity, her competence, her dedication to, well, everyone, her high standards, her friendliness, and her efficiency, pragmatism, goal-directedness, her humor, but there they are, and I find them inspiring and   there is awe involved. I look forward to getting to know her better, and maybe be a little more like her.   Thanks, Elayne!

– Barb Gimino


Elayne has worked tirelessly to help establish and grow the mediation center.  In addition to serving as president of the board while working for other organizations, she volunteered to mediate on Saturdays and evenings when other people were not available.  Not one to complain about workload or other issues, Elayne just gets things done in a competent, cheerful and energized way.  What an example to try to follow!  I, along with many others, express my deep gratitude for Elayne’s leadership and selfless dedication.

-Carolyn Coldren


Dear Elayne,

I don’t know if anyone really has a complete sense of all you do and have done for the Mediation Center during your time as president and before but for what I do know, I want to thank you. You have been an inspiration to me as you have been a sounding board, a tireless worker bee, an advocate, someone to laugh with, someone to scrape me off the ground when my bones broke. 😉 You talk about Al being so proud of where we are as a center. I think he would be so incredibly proud of all the work you have done and your influence that shows up everywhere in our organization.  We can’t thank you enough.

One of my favorite personal experiences with Elayne was the way she came to my rescue when I broke my ankle. It was a cold winter day and she was picking me up for a meeting with the county commissioners. She pulled up to my house, flashed her big smile and waved. As I walked toward her, I was so happy to see her that I missed the patch of ice on the sidewalk and slipped and fell.  She helped me back into the house and, rather than telling me what I had to do, she asked me! I thought it might have been just a sprain so I wanted to take a deep breath and wait a minute. She went to my freezer and got me some frozen peas to ice my ankle and we laughed about the physical comedy of what had just happened, “Now you see Susan! Now you don’t!” She was so kind and comforting and supportive. It really helped me handle the stress of the situation by feeling I could still make decisions (however delusional). We ended up at the doctor for x-rays and a diagnosis of a multiple fracture with a torn ligament on the side. Because they couldn’t operate immediately, she helped me back to the car, bought me a Panera salad and took me back home again, all the while being calm, supportive and keeping me laughing. To me, this is one of many examples of what makes Elayne so special. She was a wonderful friend, a calm presence, and willing to do whatever needed to be done. She beautifully embodies the spirit of the Mediation Center, listening, meeting people where they are and supporting their decisions. We love you Elayne!

-Susan Jordan


Dear Elayne,

I’m relatively new to the team, but I certainly see how your years of dedication have made the Center a very special place.  Thanks for all you’ve done!

Best, Michael J Drexler


Elayne has served admirably as chair of the board; as a mentor to new mediators; as a hostess of mediation center gatherings.  Her warmth, empathy, generosity and enthusiasm along with her administrative, mediation and leadership activities are greatly appreciated by me and others.  Thank you, Elayne.

-Tom Travis


I want to personal thank you for all of your dedication, hard work, and commitment to the mission of the Susquehanna Valley Medication Center. Your many years of overseeing the Center has afforded a continuity to keep SVMC to be a very professional organization. Your enthusiasm and positive attitude was infectious for both the board and the mediators. We always enjoyed our being so kind to have the many events at your home and they were always enjoyable. Thank you again for everything you have done to make the center a very important organization to the many individuals  that have been served by SVMC.

We will miss your leadership!!

-Karen Nicholson


I don’t know where Elayne gets all her energy, nor how she is able to concentrate all her powers on the good work she does for the Mediation Center and other charitable activities.  As long as I can remember, she has always been involved.  Elayne was there during my initial training.  Elayne was there for my advanced training.  But of course, Elayne was there for all the soirées she hosted at her house in support of the Mediation Center, our donors, and us, all the volunteer mediators.  In all the years I have known Elayne, I have never heard her complain about anything.  She has always been cheerful and upbeat, always the gracious host. No, I take that back, I think she was just a tiny bit upset that one time I walked through her screen door. Whenever I had to sign a check or do some paperwork, I was always guaranteed a glass of wine and a friendly conversation. I like to think we have become good friends.

We all know Elayne to be indefatigable.  And, she is never just “on time.”  She is always ahead of time.  She just can’t help it.  Once we were supposed to drive together from her house to the Center.  I was to meet her at 6:30 at her house.  My phone had been on silent mode and so it was actually as I was going out the door to my car when I finally listened to her voice mail.  ” Yadda, yadda, yadda…don’t forget, 6:30…yadda, yadda, yadda, if you don’t get this call until later…yadda, yadda, or if something has come up, call and let me know…”  I did not return the call because I was going to be at her house in just a few minutes. However,  I arrived…just a little too late for Elayne’s comfort, 6:29.  She had left me in the dust.  That’s our Elayne.

I think Oscar Hammerstein II said it the best. “How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?” “How do you keep a wave upon the sand?” “How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”

Elayne, thanks so much for everything you do.

Fondly, Bob Shabanowitz


I am deeply honored to be able to share a small tidbit of what I know about Elayne Sobel.

I first became acquainted with Elayne in 2010 when I was invited to help some newly trained mediators get experience with using their newly acquired skills.  I played the role of a participant in a custody battle.  Believe me when I say, I and my fake husband gave them a run for their money that day.  But that wasn’t the most memorable piece of that day.  It was meeting both Al and Elayne Sobel.  Their combined passion for this groundbreaking endeavor was intoxicating. I signed on immediately. 

Soon after, it became clear that the project they were both committed to was in danger of collapsing when Al became gravely ill and then Susquehanna University, the then home of the proposed center pulled out. Upon hearing this heartbreaking news, a small group of us got together with Al and Elayne and expressed our desire to carry on. Al was, while very encouraging and moved by our desire; laid out before us a very detailed but daunting plan.  If my memory serves me well, he told us while we had the much needed passion, and ability to set this thing on course, we would need at least $150,000 to begin. Needless to say, we found other ways and I am proud to say we are going strong today. Elayne has stayed on the board of this organization since its inception and is in many ways the reason it has thrived.

On a personal note, I am so very fortunate to count Elayne as my dear friend.  She has provided to me a roadmap for living that is full of love, compassion, and humor. Elayne is an advocate for prisoners and a staunch supporter of social justice for all human beings.

-Cynthia Peltier