As a training facilitator for the Center for Conflict Resolution, there is nothing more inspiring than to watch a curious and bright training participant fit the pieces together and create something new for themselves. I watched such a creation unfold with a young woman who attended training at Ivanhoe Neighborhood Association. The training was funded by a Jackson County COMBAT Prevention grant, and Ivanhoe graciously provided the perfect venue.
From the first time I met her, Jenika showed an acute interest in the principles of Restorative Justice. I watched her gather information, grapple with her own thoughts and feelings, and then incorporate the expanded perspective she gained to improve her interactions with others. During the second to the last class session, Jenika asked if she could present to the group the following week. Since one of the goals of the community trainings is capacity building, and since Jenika had earlier shared a desire to be a facilitator, we said “Sure!”
The following week, she began by saying she was nervous, although it didn’t show. She described some of the principles and values of the Restorative Justice way of life and then related it accurately and beautifully to her own experience. She spoke of the people that her past behaviors affected; her children, her family and her community, and shared a process for restitution and rebuilding. As her presentation came to a close, she listed elements that, for her, described restoration:
- Abuse free relationships
- Strong encouraging support system
- Honest, open relationship with authority figures
- Healthy decision making
- Positive Community Involvement
- Family building/Family trust
- Positive social network
- Positive credibility in my community
Living a restored life, one decision at a time! Welcome to the Peace Party!
You can join! Contact us at www.ccrkc.org firstname.lastname@example.org 816-461-8255
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.