Restoring Community

These articles were formerly posted on our Restorative Works website.

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?”

The following are highlights gleaned from the past two months. For a more comprehensive news feed, please follow @iirpgradschool on twitter. (You need not join twitter in order to read our daily posts.)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Carol E. Davis, Flickr Creative CommonsU.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Carol E. Davis, Flickr Creative Commons

Last year, during a shared bus ride, two teens from a Buxmont Academy school upset a group of first- and second-grade Catholic school students by telling them there was no Santa Claus.

Since Buxmont is an IIRP model program that employs restorative practices, when the principal of the Catholic school called to report the event, Buxmont staff suggested a circle to hold the teens accountable and give them the chance to apologize.

Buxmont counselor Jean Scott took the two boys who made the offending comments to the Catholic school to conduct the circle, along with two other youth to serve as friends and emotional support for the boys. They met with the principal first.

CoRRListen to the second episode of Restorative Conversations, a new podcast by the Community of Restorative Researchers (CoRR).

Ian Marder, founder of CoRR, interviews Andrew Hancock, Restorative Justice Coordinator for Darlington, UK (North East England), and Stephen Twist, a barrister and restorative practitioner in Darlington. They talk about the growth of restorative justice in Darlington in recent years, the development of the Darlington Restorative Justice Hub (formerly Darlington Neighbourhood Resolution), the recruitment, training and supervision of volunteer facilitators and the differences between practicing law and practicing restorative justice.

From Dream to Reality: Dawning of a New Social Science

June 10-12, 2015 | Budapest, Hungary