Understandings of justice, the needs of the victim, offender and the community when harm occurs, the role of shame and trauma in conflict and other pertinent conversations took place every Wednesday afternoon for five weeks at Journey to New Life, 3144 Troost, Kansas City, Missouri. People dedicated to getting their lives back on track after incarceration shared insights and struggles with each other, myself and Greg Winship, co-trainer for the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR).
Made possible by a grant from the Community Capital Fund, a core group of 14 and 30 others who came to at least one session, shared a noon meal, then engaged in an interactive 3 hour session to explore choices we make in conflict, new perspectives and new skills. How does it change our perspective when we map a conflict using markers, a large piece of paper, circles and jagged lines? Working together in groups, participants discovered that a conflict that began with 2 people often grows to impact their families, the neighborhood and the whole community. Gaining a wider perspective proves our connectedness with each other and shows the importance of personal responsibility. Welcome to the Peace Party!
This is the peace building work of the Center for Conflict Resolution. You can join. Go to our website to attend a training, utilize services, volunteer or donate to a general fund or a specific program, http://www.ccrkc.org
Your comments are welcome.
Awesome True Light Training Participants
“The insight this experience has brought to me is the importance in listening and evaluating what a person says or does before responding in any form or fashion. I believe this skill all by itself would make a difference in our communities, jobs, churches, schools, etc. It would have a tremendous positive impact in our lives, period.” Marilyn Layton, Participant
Don Ivans, Community Mediation Center (CMC) Mediator and School Services Specialist, and I spent 5 intense and enjoyable Wednesday afternoons with staff, volunteers, social work interns and friends of the True Light Family Resource Center (TLFRC). TLFRC serves the working poor and homeless individuals with a food pantry, clothes closet, household items and occasionally monetary support. In addition to serving clients with basic necessities, TLFRC has a case manager and a volunteer client services coordinator who refer clients to housing options and emergency assistance. The Emancipation Station, a day shelter for women, coordination with other agencies to meet basic needs and Saturday morning breakfasts round out the services for an increasingly urban, high-risk, multi-ethnic and impoverished population.
The Founder of TLFRC, Pastor Alice Piggee-Wallack, participated in a neutral third-party mediation process facilitated by CMC. When she learned about Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution Training made possible by the Community Capital Fund (CCF), a new initiative by the KCMO Community Development Entity (CDE), she was eager to participate. At the end of our time together, participants were asked to respond to the training. Alice wrote, “I have wondered why individuals with whom I work did certain things—positive and negative. I now have so much insight into, not only their interactive style, but also my own and my response. This transcends.”
True Light Family Resource Center, welcome to the Peace Party!
You can Join! Sign up for an upcoming training or donate to the work of CMC.
Skills Practice at Cherith Brook
The residents, volunteers and supporters of Cherith Brook Catholic Worker House are “committed to regularly feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, visiting the prisoner and the sick in the name of Jesus”. Many residents of their Northeast neighborhood know Cherith Brook as the ‘Shower House’. 4 mornings a week they open the facility to guests that would not otherwise have access to a shower, creating opportunities for renewal. Many more times a week they feed people, from their garden and from donations to the house.
For the second time in 3 years, Cherith Brook founders, Jodi and Eric Garbison, sought and received a grant for Interpersonal Conflict Resolution Training from the Community Mediation Center (CMC). In February, 2014, 23 people affiliated with Cherith Brook came together for 2 days of training, customized to speak to the universal yet unique challenges of getting along with others where differences exist. The diverse group of participants included outspoken young adults, service providers, guests of Cherith Brook, students, neighbors and long-time volunteers.
Participants discussed and practiced skills for conflict resolution and shared experiences, thoughts and insights. On day 2, one participant, a regular guest at Cherith Brook, shared what it was like for him to be homeless and struggling to live day to day on the streets. The planned curriculum was suspended for a few moments as we listening to him speak from his heart, the wisdom that comes from moving through life altering challenges.
It is true that peace building begins with an internal commitment to solve conflict in our own lives, thoughtfully, honestly and with compassion for ourselves and others. Cherith Brook models this commitment. Welcome to the Peace Party!