Who We Are and What We Do

Board Members

Ellyn Ahmer
Ellyn Ahmer
My earliest experiences with conflict were growing up in an ordinary, middle class, white family of five children. I unconsciously learned about the power structure very early. Adults are in charge. Kids do what they do to get what they need. When their needs are not met, they resort to many different behaviors to survive. The variety & intensity of needs within a group of seven people caused much conflict, most of it unspoken & unresolved.

As a 50-something adult, I became fascinated with tension & conflict & how it plays out in human relationships. Reflecting on years in school & business, I wanted to learn how to resolve brewing or erupting tensions to keep friends & business partners from disconnecting. I quickly discovered the most crucial conflict to resolve was that within myself. Most of the last 10 years has been dedicated to studying & learning ways of being through various methods, processes & activities to enter conflict & facilitate connections, thereby bringing more peace into the world.
dan smith
Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith has completed 33 years of service with the Department of Probation and Court Services, DuPage County. His first 16 years were spent as a Juvenile Detention Officer and a Senior Detention Officer at the DuPage County Detention Center. For the past 17 years, Daniel has been as a Senior Probation Officer coordinating Restorative Justice Programs. The main programs are Victim Offender Conferencing and the Victim Impact Circle Programs. He has significantly developed and enhanced these program by writing protocols and championing healing communication between victims and offenders, thus motivating offenders to make significant amounts of restitution to victims. In 2003, Daniel received the Department Recognition Award for his dedication and skill in Victim Services and in 2014, Daniel received the Department Recognition Award for his work in Community Partnerships. In 2017 Daniel was awarded the "Youth Worker of the Year" by the DuPage Juvenile Officers Association. Daniel works in all aspects of Victim Services within the Department of Probation and Court Services. Daniel is an Ex-officio member for the Foundation for C.H.A.N.G.E. and the Vice President of the Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice Project (both are 501c3s). Daniel is a founding member of ReStore DuPage and RESTORE: Carol Stream Peacemakers, these groups work in the community and schools for the advancement of Restorative Practices.
Nancy Michaels
Nancy Michaels
Nancy Michaels is the Associate Director at the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation at Roosevelt University. She has a BA in Social Justice Studies and an MA in Sociology from Roosevelt University. Her graduate research, involving the white response to black integration on the Southwest and West sides of Chicago, has to do with how segregation affects racial identity and the social construction of whiteness. Other areas of interest and activism lie in juvenile justice, mass incarceration, restorative justice and more broadly, in raising awareness around the societal structures, policy and institutions that lead to the marginalization and criminalization of whole communities in urban environments. Nancy is a highly collaborative and driven change agent with a passion and focus for moving social justice initiatives forward by building relationships and raising consciousness through research, thought provoking programming and community engagement. Specific to her restorative justice background, Nancy is a restorative justice practitioner and trainer, has developed and provides programming in two Chicago schools, leads the "Embrace Restorative Justice in Schools Collaborative," and works on a number of initiatives with the goal of shifting the paradigm for how we "do justice" in the Illinois criminal justice system.
Onie Riley
Onie L. Riley
Onie L. Riley firmly believes that you can overcome any obstacles in life when you have love and support from others. Onie has worked in various positions across the City of Chicago which include University of Illinois, Illinois African American Family Commission and UCAN just to name a few. She loves helping others understand their impact and social responsibility on society. Onie believes in giving back and encourages others to do so as well. In one of her most recent roles as the North Lawndale Restorative Justice Hub Coordinator she helped raise the multimillion dollar budget needed for the countries first Restorative Justice Community Court in Chicago. Her role also included working as a liaison in coordinating community based services for court participants. Onie's work experiences allowed her to understand that providing access to resources and opportunities in communities is one way to challenge and ultimately decrease the violence in today's society.

Onie has presented at over 30 conferences across the country on a range of various topics on Child Welfare, Organizational and Leadership Development, Capacity Building Strategies for Nonprofits, Small Business Creation, Community and Economic Development, as well as Violence Intervention and Prevention. In 2016, she was the Commencement speaker for the Spertus College Class of 2016 Masters of Science in Nonprofit Management. Onie has done her best to succeed in life while overcoming many obstacles. She uses her many accomplishments in life as a testimony. Onie received her B.A from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her M.S. from Spertus College in Chicago, IL.
Dane Myers
Dane Myers
Originally from northwest Illinois, Dane Myers was first introduced to Restorative Justice while working at a daytime drop-in center for homeless youth in downtown Denver, CO. By utilizing a restorative justice framework, the drop-in center staff could hold youth accountable for harmful acts without resorting to further punishment of an incredibly vulnerable population. Dane went on to become the Restorative Justice Case Manager for the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office. Here, his full-time job was to coordinate and facilitate restorative justice conferences for juveniles and young adults to help them understand the impacts of their actions while repairing any harm to direct victims or other affected community members. Following the birth of his daughter, Dane and his family returned to Illinois. He currently works for McLean County Juvenile Court Services in Bloomington, IL where he continues to use restorative justice conferencing to help juveniles avoid formal court consequences.