Restoring Community

We hear about tragic incidents daily and wonder what we can do. IIRP Associate Professor Dr. Frida Rundell talks about how restorative practices can facilitate healing for people impacted by trauma and suffering.


Marcus Jones, Ed.D“They used to call me ‘Send ’Em Home Jones,’” admits Texas principal Marcus Jones, Ed.D.

Last year, one boy was suspended four or five times. “He always had an issue and never took responsibility for what he did,” Jones explains.

Student misbehavior interfered with learning, and staff dreaded coming to work, at Manor Independent School District’s DAEP (Disciplinary Alternative Education Program) public school, near Austin, Texas, USA.

students from el salvadorChildren are transforming conflict with circle processes in nonprofit Glasswing International's after-school clubs. Trained by IIRP Latinoamérica, Glasswing is also averting suspensions and involving wider communities in El Salvador's schools. Teaching ways to build relationships and community, they hope to prevent the kind of violence and conflict that has plagued Central America for generations.

Glasswing will present their work at the IIRP Latinoamérica Conference this June. They’re receiving support for their presentation through a scholarship from Strachan Foundation in Costa Rica and the IIRP’s Restorative Practices Foundation.

minute to win itRe-Engage Youth Services, a social services agency based in Adelaide, South Australia, placed 13th on Australia’s Business Review Weekly Best Places to Work List, thanks to its restorative approach with staff. Through professional development work with the IIRP, Re-Engage is employing a restorative framework, both to engage at-risk youth and to inform workplace culture.

“We believe in order to have a positive impact in the community we must first have a positive and supportive workplace culture,” explains Re-Engage Youth Services Manager Kerrie Sellen. “To have this put to the test by an independent, rigorous study and be recognized as one of the best places to work out of hundreds of organizations is extremely encouraging.”


Students Richie Hall and Beth Yohe pose in front of artwork produced and exhibited by them and other Buxmont Academy classmates.Students Richie Hall and Beth Yohe pose in front of artwork produced and exhibited by them and other Buxmont Academy classmates.

As the digital arts teacher of CSF Buxmont Academy in Sellersville, I am constantly amazed at my students’ abilities. Among other qualities, they are creative, talented, observant, intelligent and insightful. Sometimes my students fail to see their talents, as they can get caught up in the struggles that have brought them to our program. CSF Buxmont Academy, a restorative practices school, affords our students a place to grow, change, and connect with others. As a restorative practitioner, I see the importance of involving our students in community projects – in my mind, a reminder that their input in society is just as important as others’ contributions.

girls in a circle With funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Development, researchers from RAND Corporation are conducting a randomized controlled trial of restorative practices in 14 schools in Maine. With this five-year project, which began in school year 2014-15, seven schools are implementing the practices, and seven comparable schools are not.

Vidia Negrea (4th from right) and others who met during the 19th IIRP World Conference to discuss ways to address the refugee crisis in Europe.Vidia Negrea (4th from right) and others who met during the 19th IIRP World Conference to discuss ways to address the refugee crisis in Europe

IIRP Europe representative Vidia Negrea, who lives in Hungary, is determined to address the refugee crisis facing her country and the continent. Thousands of refugees have been arriving in Hungary daily, fleeing devastation in the Middle East. The response in Hungary and has been to build fences.

A refugee herself who found a warm welcome when she fled Romania for Hungary 25 years ago, Vidia has been especially dismayed by the refugees crisis.

RRC Family NightFamilies are very much involved in their children’s growth and change at CSF Buxmont’s Restorative Reporting Centers (RRC), an IIRP model program for adjudicated youth, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Youth attend the RRC program five evenings a week to focus on social skills, self control, family connectedness, moral reasoning and responsibility, as a part of their development. In this innovative 20-week community-based alternative to out-of-home placement, the youths’ family members are involved from the start.

2015 International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduating ClassThe IIRP Graduate School Class of 2015 is finding inspired new ways to take their passion for restorative practices out into the world, employing explicit elements of the practices to develop new ideas in their fields, workplaces and communities.

Their capstone projects, which they presented in a final paper and oral presentation, explored:

Parent/child "Virtue Night"Parent/child "Virtue Night"

As director of school climate in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Lynne Lang is committed to blending restorative work with the mission of the church.

“The Old Testament reveals in the creation story that God never intended for us to be alone. We are wired to live in community,” says Lang. “What better way to live that message than by working on continuous improvement in the quality of those relationships at every level in our lives?”

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