Restoring Community

Bruce and JohnBruce Schenk (right), along with IIRP President John Bailie at the IIRP Canada Conference in Toronto, 2018.It is with a great sense of warmth and gratitude that we say farewell to Bruce Schenk, who is retiring as Director of IIRP Canada after serving for 12 years. Bruce’s pioneering work in Canada has been instrumental in extending the ability of individuals and organizations to foster healthy, meaningful relationships in schools, justice systems, workplaces and other areas of society.

“When I started in 2008, restorative justice was a known thing in criminal and juvenile justice circles in Canada, and a little bit in schools, but not restorative practices,” says Bruce. “The thing I’m feeling really good about is how restorative practice is now seen as applicable to so many areas, especially education, and IIRP Canada has had a big role in that.”

“Bruce has been a transformative leader in the field,” observes IIRP President John Bailie, Ph.D. “He has helped expand restorative practices from a set of skills to a way of approaching life and relationships in general.”

Bruce explains, “I think the key thing here is restorative practice being seen as a framework, a way of thinking and a way of acting rather than simply a range of practices. Unless you change the thinking of the system, new practices won’t take hold.”

He adds, “I’m really honored to have worked with the IIRP in this role, and very lucky to work with such a great organization. I am extremely grateful to all the mentorship and support Terry O’Connell and IIRP Founder Ted Wachtel gave me, especially in the early days, and the overall support the organization has given IIRP Canada and me over the years to develop restorative practices in a way that fits the Canadian context.”

Pat Lewis, who comes with nearly three decades of experience as a teacher and school administrator with Peel District School Board and teacher trainer for Brock University and the Ontario Principals' Council (OPC), will now assume the role of Director of IIRP Canada. Her involvement with school, School Board and Provincial-led initiatives provided opportunities for her to lead and monitor large-scale change initiatives. This experience will serve IIRP Canada’s growth in the years to come. Pat became Associate Director of IIRP Canada in 2019 to facilitate a year of transition.

“I look forward to building on the strong foundation that Bruce established,” says Pat. “During this transition year, I have met incredible practitioners doing amazing work across Canada. I am excited about the opportunity to support their ongoing restorative work. Through conversations with many stakeholders, I am also aware that there is much more work to do, and I am committed to facilitating meaningful dialogue about the future of restorative practices in our schools, our communities and in our public and private organizations.”

pat lewisNew IIRP Canada Director Pat LewisAt Peel District School Board, the second largest school district in Ontario, Pat initiated and supported the implementation of restorative practices, which is now included in district-wide Safe Schools policy, in dozens of schools. Pat has volunteered as a facilitator on local Community Youth Justice Committees and worked closely with community organizations serving at-risk youth. She holds a Master of Education in Leadership and Administration.

“As an educator, my interest was in nurturing staff leadership to promote a culture and climate change within schools that would support the social, emotional and learning needs of all students,” says Pat. “I want to bring that same sense to working in a collaborative way with our clients to support ongoing change and implementation of restorative practices.”

“We are excited and pleased to welcome Pat,” says John. “She brings a wealth of experience in restorative practices, both as an educator and a senior organizational leader. Her vision, collaborative spirit and team-based approach will be a transformative force in the Canadian context.”

Of Pat and her colleagues who will continue his work, Bruce comments, “I feel really good about the team that has been assembled for IIRP Canada heading into the future!”

John concludes, “Though Bruce is leaving his role as Director of IIRP Canada, we are very pleased that he will continue to explore the intersection of restorative practices with other aspects of life, particularly faith communities, where he has been so influential.”

Bruce will be missed, but we trust he will continue to have a voice in the development of the field.

online callImage by Phil Wolff at Flickr Creative CommonsAs many of us gather virtually during this time of COVID-19, we feel a need to talk about what is happening and how we’re being affected.

The impact has to do with those who become sick, obviously. The rest of us who are settling in place in our homes and maintaining physical distance are also dramatically affected.

Early in the crisis, a teacher asked, “I’m out of school; all my students are at home. What’s a good circle prompt to do at this time?”

distancing socializingU.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert

As the COVID-19 crisis deepens across the country and around the world, most of us are settling into a life characterized by physical distancing and sheltering in place. The IIRP has been receiving numerous inquiries and requests about how restorative practices can be applied to help. Overall, we know that people are the experts in their own communities; in fact, we look forward to people sharing their experiences so we can all learn. (Our social media platforms are already available as a place to share, and we are currently developing other meaningful options.) However, we would like to share some principles derived from restorative practices that might help us frame appropriate responses in our families and work, and with our friends and community.

While the coronavirus is a medical issue, a large part of what we are experiencing is a social crisis. Therefore, the relevance of consciously being relational becomes even more important. As many restorative practitioners understand, restorative thinking and practice isn’t just reserved for the workplace. We take restorative practices wherever we go. Now that so many of us are confined closely with our nuclear families, we can really focus on how to interact with our loved ones using a restorative lens, as we navigate this crisis together.

LA Conf 3From right to left, Claire de Mézerville López (Costa Rica), Kay Pranis (U.S.), John Braithwaite, Ph.D. (Australia), Miguel Tello (Costa Rica) and Manuel Delgado Chu (Peru) On Thursday and Friday, March 5 and 6, IIRP Latin America held an international conference, Congreso Justicia y Educación con Visión Restaurativa (Justice and Education with a Restorative Vision) in Mexico City. Over 100 participants from 11 different countries (Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Spain and the United States) gathered to share experiences and programs related to how restorative practices and restorative justice can help us to find hope in our Latin American region.

Our keynote speaker, John Braithwaite, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor at Australia National University and IIRP Honorary Trustee, inspired and encouraged participants on Thursday morning, calling for them to seek points of hope and to "aim breathtakingly high."

During the conference, 40 breakout sessions were held on topics including peace circles following the establishment of the peace agreement in Colombia; restorative approaches in Mexican schools; a restorative approach for supporting youth with drug addiction in Brazil; restorative practices with indigenous communities in Peru; and restorative responses for communities struck by natural disasters in Guatemala, along with many other topics.

Lea los materiales de presentación.

conference

El jueves 05 y viernes 06 de marzo del 2020, IIRP Latinoamérica celebró el congreso internacional “Justicia y Educación con Visión Restaurativa” en la Ciudad de México. Más de 100 participantes de 11 países diferentes (Brasil, Chile, Perú, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, México, España y Estados Unidos) se reunieron para compartir experiencias y proyectos restaurativos que han venido estableciéndose en América Latina  con una rica variedad de perspectivas y abordajes. Este evento representa una oportunidad para contribuir con el sentido de comunidad entre personas que trabajan justicia restaurativa, la socialización de buenas prácticas y el propósito de incrementar un sentido de esperanza para nuestra región latinoamericana.

fernanda rosenblattThe IIRP Graduate School is proud to announce the creation of a Thesis Option for students and alumni of our Master of Science in Restorative Practices. The thesis option provides an opportunity to conduct and publish research in the restorative practices field.

To help facilitate the program, IIRP Assistant Professor Fernanda Fonseca-Rosenblatt, Ph.D., has been named a faculty member and will serve as Faculty Advisor for students choosing the thesis option.

“For the past three years I have been an adjunct professor at the IIRP,” says Dr. Rosenblatt. “We have so many great students who are not just interested in studying and research but who are working in the field every day. With the thesis option, we are giving them a platform where they can show the world what they are doing and actually contribute to the field, not just theoretically but in practice.”

Kate Shapero headshotIt was a Friday night, the skies were clear, traffic on I-76 was light, and the Center City Philadelphia streets were bustling. I was going to meet friends for a birthday celebration at a karaoke bar on 20th and Chestnut Streets.

I worked my way south on 23rd street and approached Chestnut, preparing to make a left turn. When the light turned green, two couples were standing near the edge of the sidewalk outside the driver’s side window, as if getting ready to cross. They were laughing and chatting, but looked to be in motion, and I couldn’t quite tell which way they would proceed. When I realized that they were hesitating and waiting to continue behind me down Chestnut, I began the left turn, looking ahead a second too late.

Directly in front of my headlights was a woman who had begun to cross from the opposite corner. I had been so focused on the group near me that I neglected to re-check the other side of the street before moving forward. I hit the brakes and stopped less than an inch from her knees. She slammed her hands on the hood of the car to brace herself and looked at me with an expression of surprise, fear and anger. In the lights, she looked frozen and shocked.

John W. Bailie, Ph.D., President of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School, invites the local community to the Opening Session of its 2019 World Conference, Community Leadership. Keynote speakers will address how to heal violence, polarization and sexual abuse.

Monday, October 21, 9:00 a.m. (Free)
Central Moravian Church, 73 W. Church St., Bethlehem, PA 18018
Learn more and register:
iirp.edu/free-iirp-session

walter long"From Violent to Thriving Society: Trauma-Organized Systems and Their Opposites" — Walter C. Long. Founder, Texas After Violence Project

Walter will suggest how our society might transform systems that promote violence, trauma and toxic stress — in criminal justice, schools, government, organizations and communities — into regenerative systems where health and well-being are enhanced, polarization and domination are diminished, and individuals can thrive.

Symposium smallThe IIRP Summer Symposium, Advancing Community Well-Being Through Restorative Practices, was a dynamic two-and-a-half-day experience. Through interactive activities, lecture and open-ended questions, IIRP faculty and other speakers challenged participants to think about community health and restorative practices in new ways.  

Community health is a multi-disciplinary field that applies public health science to improve health and quality of life for everyone in a community. Restorative practices is an emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals, as well as social connections within communities.

While restorative practices can respond to harm and help repair relationships, most of the time the practices should be employed proactively, to build community and prevent harm. The Symposium focused on this proactive approach.

Community health practitioners can utilize restorative practices to create a social environment that fosters health and well-being in a systemic and sustainable way.

Bailie HeadshotWriter Kerra Bolton of BuildingANewReality.com recently interviewed IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D., about his presentation at the 2019 IIRP Europe Conference: Community Well-Being and Resilience. Download Dr. Bailie's paper, A science of human dignity: Belonging, voice and agency as universal human needs.


Is there a science of human dignity?

John W. Bailie, Ph.D. thinks there is.

Bailie is the president of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), the first accredited graduate school wholly dedicated to restorative practices. Restorative practices is “an emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities.”

He recently spoke on his theory about the science of human dignity to a transformational group of leaders, practitioners, changemakers, scholars and community advocates. We gathered at Buda Island in Kortrijk, Belgium, to learn more about using restorative practices to enhance community well-being and resilience.

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