We need to celebrate Shalem’s Restorative Practice Services. There are so many exciting areas of practice, serving many different people.
Shalem has four areas of restorative practice services:
- FaithCARE (Faith Communities Affirming Restorative Experiences)
- EduCARE (Educational Communities Affirming Restorative Experiences)
- Centre for Workplace Engagement (CWE)
- Restorative practice services with families
In each of these four areas, the restorative services include helping communities respond well to conflict or when harm has occurred, supporting those who are becoming a restorative community, as well as offering workshops, training, consultations and coaching.
What makes our services unique is what we call the Restorative Difference. Our processes are based on creating and sustaining healthy relationships. In a nutshell, healthy community relationships require processes that enable people to have effective conversation, and access support, respect, and accountability. They also require re-integrative processes for when conflict or harm has occurred and decision-making processes that are experienced as “fair” by those affected by the decision.
Providing restorative services has taken Shalem staff across Ontario, as well as to Quebec, Nova Scotia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
All of this deserves celebration.
Each community we have worked with, be it a congregation, a family, a workplace or a school, is unique. What these communities have in common is a need to build connections and strengthen relationships. When we decide there is “restorative readiness,” we move forward with the process. In most cases participants find some common ground, open up to each other and find a way forward—even it’s just one small step.
We have learned a lot from the people we have worked with. Thank-you!
But there is more to celebrate.
Restorative practice is a worldwide social movement and we are part of it!
In 2002, the UN introduced a resolution about restorative justice back in 2002. Canada played a role in establishing the principles contained in the UN resolution and its guidance for member states on restorative justice policy and practice. Public Safety Canada seeks to promote the use of restorative justice as an alternative to criminal justice, describing the benefits and initiatives it is involved in.
Our restorative practice home is the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP). The IIRP has trained more than 50,000 professionals in 70 countries around the world.
The IIRP has international affiliate offices in five countries, including Canada. We have a good relationship with the IIRP home office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and we work closely with Bruce Schenk, the Canadian director here in Canada.
Shalem also has a close relationship with Terry O’Connell, director of Real Justice Australia, a division of the IIRP. Terry, a former police officer, is a pioneer in the development of restorative practice. We owe a lot to Terry: to his wisdom, generosity, dedication, hard work and his sense of humour.
Other international restorative communities include: The Community of Restorative Researchers, and the European Forum for Restorative Justice. Remarkable work is happening around the world.
Closer to home, Canadian colleagues Dorothy Vaandering, Mark Yantzi and Jude Oosthoorn are amongst many who have done significant work in the field.
We also need to celebrate communities, such as Jubilee Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in St Catharines, that are intentionally becoming restorative.
Now a big shout-out for Shalem!
Restorative practice is not simply a service Shalem offers. Restorative Practice is a way of being in relationship with each other, a way of creating a healthy work community by attending to the health of relationships.
Shalem staff is trained in restorative practice. We share a common understanding of the restorative philosophy for developing community. We use the practices we have learned. We conduct staff meetings using a restorative approach. We have used restorative approaches for decision making, responding to conflict and responding to the death of a colleague.
Would you like to know more about Shalem’s restorative practice services? Are you wondering how they might be helpful for your church, school, workplace or family? Give us a call at 647.986.8297!
Anne Martin is the Director of Restorative Practices with Shalem Mental Health Network