Restoring Community

These articles were formerly posted on our Restorative Works website.

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Over the course of my life, I have been blessed with many excellent teachers and learning experiences. My marriage tops them all. Here are just a few things I’ve learned that have also impacted my relationships at work.

QNB Bank presented a donation of $2,000 to the Buxmont Academy on July 5, 2017.

QNB CSF(l-r) Courtney Covelens, commercial loan officer, QNB Bank; April Donahue, Colmar branch manager, QNB Bank; and Craig Adamson, president, CSF and Buxmont Academy.

Buxmont Academy, a model program of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), is dedicated to providing education, counseling, foster care and other services to help at-risk youth and their families in eastern Pennsylvania to grow and change through restorative practices. Buxmont Academy and sister organization Community Service Foundation (CSF) operate 5 school/day programs, an elementary school program and four community-based foster homes, in addition to in-home supervision programs, restorative reporting centers and restorative services for schools.

QNB Bank currently operates eleven branches in Bucks, Montgomery and Lehigh Counties and offers commercial and retail banking in the communities it serves.

Keisha Martinez musicIn this piece, IIRP Graduate Keisha Martinez ('17), a licensed music therapist and founder of Music Inspiring Change, explores how music therapy combined with restorative practices can help prison inmates and heal trauma.

Special thanks to the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) for allowing us to republish this article, which first appeared in their June 2017 Newsletter Volume 18(2). This article will be part of a forthcoming EFRJ publication on the theme of "Arts and RJ." EFRJ welcomes other submissions for this booklet by October 1, 2017.

IIRP Latin America, based in Costa Rica, is helping that country become a model of restorative practices in the areas of education and justice. And with more than 50 licensed restorative practices trainers in Latin America, Magistrate Arias ClaireIIRP's Representative for Latin America Claire de Mézerville López (left) with other presenters, including Magistrate Doris Arias Madrigal (second from right), at a recent eventthe organization is also influencing the growth and development of restorative practices throughout the region.

The IIRP’s new Representative for Latin America, Claire de Mézerville López, from San José, Costa Rica, comments, “We come from a very punitive culture here and we need to build peace and repair harm. The natural response of too many people is to be vindictive and to punish when harm was done. On the other hand, the Restorative Justice Program by the Ministry of Justice, headed by Magistrate Madrigal, has been very effective, proving that this is not just theory: it works for everyone involved.”

Ted Wachtel Mike GilbertNACRJ Executive Director (left) with IIRP Founder Ted Wachtel holding the 2017 NACRJ Lifetime Achievement Award. In this guest article, Michael J. Gilbert, Ph. D., Executive Director of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ), discusses the awards granted at the recent NACRJ conference.

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Radical changes are coming to higher education, explains IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D., as he reflects on his experience at the New York Times Higher Ed Leaders Forum. He says that smaller, nimble institutions - like the IIRP Graduate School - will be best positioned to provide 21st century students the kinds of useful skills and experiences they will want and need.

Gina AbramsGina Baral Abrams, Dr.P.H.We are very pleased to welcome Gina Baral Abrams, Dr.P.H., as the new IIRP Director of Research and Program Evaluation and Assistant Professor.

Most recently, Dr. Abrams has been teaching research methods in the online MSW program at Boston University School of Social Work. She was previously Special Assistant to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs at Lehigh University and Director for Health Promotion and Wellness at Princeton University.

Dr. Abrams's background in public health, social work, educational statistics, and measurement and evaluation will enable her to contribute to the growth of the Graduate School. And her experience in mixed-methods research, program evaluation and online teaching, as well as two decades working in higher education, will provide valuable learning opportunities for our students.

Dawn Squire with studentsIIRP student Dawn Squire is passionate about helping children and families in her community of high-poverty York, Pennsylvania. Her IIRP education has given her the confidence to transform her concerns into actions that have tangible, lasting impact.

Dawn works at McKinley K-8 school, where 99.5% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. As Family Involvement Coordinator, she assists children and families, many of whom are homeless or transient.

“From the moment I walk through the doors, we are ceaselessly working to make students, staff and families feel valued and heard,” explains Dawn. “This is more than just nice words. We really demonstrate that we are doing something different to make sure people know they are important.”

Screen Shot 2017 05 26 at 1.39.01 PMMore than 70 practitioners from across Canada and the U.S. convened April 4-5, 2017, in Ottawa to converse about the future of restorative justice in that country. Hosted by IIRP Canada, the event used a restorative format to allow participants to interact and develop a list of themes that will guide progress of the movement.

IIRP Canada Director Bruce Schenk says the forum was all he hoped it would be. “It gave people a chance to listen to each other and engage in dialogue about their experience of restorative justice.” At the same time, participants explored “what a new more relationally based justice paradigm might be and what it will take to get there.”

conference 1In this guest blog, IIRP lecturer Nicola Preston reflects on the IIRP Europe Conference, which took place May 9-10, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. Preston (pictured on left) is IIRP Adjunct Faculty; teacher and special educational needs coordinator; Ph.D. student at the University of Northampton, UK; and trustee and senior restorative practitioner, Thames Valley Partnership.

Below the article, please find a list of all sessions and links to presentation materials.

Maranatha residentsAt Maranatha House Aged Care Facility, staff take a restorative approach to help residents “live life my way made easy," to paraphrase the organization’s motto.

Nursing homes, even very nice ones, tend to regiment life for their residents based on the rhythms established by the institution. But General Manager Debra Wells says the idea is to “deinstitutionalize” the system and “put residents in charge.” Rather than having to live each day by staff routines, residents at Maranatha, in Wellington, New South Wales, a town and rural region of about 10,000 people located 225 miles from Sydney, Australia, are greeted with choices and conversations that allow them to express their needs.