The Centre for Peaceful Solutions is spearheaded by Maria Arpa and David Ellis. Maria is the founder and visionary of the charity and David provides a keen business eye to the organisation. Maria, knowing David as a corporate client, recruited David as one of the founding trustees. They are both mediators with a joint and individual casework history. In October 2014 David and Maria married. They run the charity as a couple constantly striving to model the values they promote as a major part of being authentic in their work. Their passion is passing the skills to people who can use them to reduce violence in their communities. They work in neighbourhoods, schools and prisons inspiring others to nurture their inner mediator.
They view the work of the charity as vocational so much so that, in 2010, when the charity had no funding and therefore no staff, no premises and no salary, they continued the work from their sitting room at home for a year.
It would not be uncommon to find Maria talking to a beneficiary late at night or for David to be acting as a go-between by Skype whilst on holiday yet they are structured and reflective in their approach. When Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication, said that we should only act if we can do it with the joy of a small child feeding a hungry duck, Maria was quick to see the merit in this approach to life.