Rotary Global Grant Blog March 2018

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March was full of more amazing opportunities! My colleague, Haley, and I were asked to deliver a training in restorative practices for Wesley Community Action, a local non-profit. We focused on restorative skills and tools like the circle and restorative conversations that participants could use right away with their clients, colleagues, families and friends. It was also great to work with this group because they are the referring agency for the Korero Tahi pilot, which uses restorative circles to address harms experienced by older people. I am one of the facilitators for the pilot, so it was great to get to talk through how circles could be helpful for their clients and to troubleshoot possible issues together.

The highlight of the month was getting the opportunity to teach two Introduction to Restorative Justice workshops at Manawatu Prison. You can read more about that experience here. It was both humbling and invigorating to get to share the restorative justice philosophy and approach to conflict and wrongdoing with inmates and I learned a great deal from the experience.

You can check out this month’s edition of the of the Rotary District 5540 Peacebuilder Newsletter here. I also contributed to the most recent issue of the Restorative Well, the NACRJ newsletter, which you can read here.

Beginning May 1st, Victoria University of Wellington is offering a free course through edX titled Restorative Justice and Practice: Emergence of a Social Movement. It is taught by three incredible instructors – my two wonderful PhD supervisors and my close friend and colleague, Haley. I also make an appearance in the course as facilitator of a mock restorative justice conference and in an interview about the Restorative University efforts at VUW. If you are interested in learning more about restorative justice, check out the video preview below and enroll in the course here.


Rotary Global Grant Blog February 2018

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

February has been a busy and exciting month providing training for the Victoria University Residential Advisors (RAs) in Restorative Practices. The RAs play an important role in the creation of caring and connected communities on campus and in finding ways to respond to wrongdoing that repair rather than punish. To learn more about the Restorative University efforts at Victoria University, check out the article I wrote for the Journal of Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association, “Building a Restorative University.”

In designing trainings, one of my favorite things to do is to create games and activities to help explain a concept or spark conversation and deeper learning. I find that a well-facilitated group discussion reflecting on a shared experience often generates greater insight than I could ever bring alone as instructor. I also see this approach to teaching as in alignment with Restorative Pedagogy. In the pictures above, you will see an image of the most recent game I designed based on the Social Discipline Window. It was a hit with the RAs and really helped to deepen their understanding of what differentiates a restorative conversation from a punitive or permissive conversation with a resident.

In addition to training the RAs, I also offered introductory workshops in Restorative Practices for visiting students from the Creation Care Study Program and for the Capital Mosaic community. I love any opportunity to share the restorative paradigm shift with others!

This month I was also asked to facilitate a mock restorative justice conferenced for the EdX course on Restorative Justice that is being designed an delivered by my PhD supervisors Chris Marshall and Tom Noakes-Duncan and my colleague Haley Farrar. They have been hard at work creating an excellent online course that is free and available to anyone in the world. If you are interested in learning more about Restorative Justice, you can enroll here.

You can check out this month’s edition of the of the Rotary District 5540 Peacebuilder Newsletter here. I was honored to have my piece in this newsletter shared by Rotary Voices.

Thank you to Rotary for the continued support of my research and work here. I couldn’t imagine a greater opportunity! I am back to writing now to meet my next chapter deadline. 🙂

Rotary Global Grant Blog January 2018

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Happy New Year! I welcomed 2018 watching fireworks over the Wellington Harbor and feeling incredibly grateful for both the year past and the year ahead.

The highlight of January was a visit from my brother (Eli) that started on January 1st. What a great way to start the year! We took full advantage of a beautiful New Zealand summer and explored the South Island from Dunedin to Kaikoura and took a short road trip on the North Island as well. It was wonderful to get to share my life here with Eli and to go on a great adventure together!

Since he left, I have been getting back into the swing of researching, writing, and preparing for the year ahead. The university is starting to pick up following summer break and this week we start training the new Heads of Hall and Residential Advisors in Restorative Practices. It is a busy and exciting month ahead!

I am continuing to contribute to the NACRJ (National Association of Restorative Justice) newsletter, The Restorative Well. To read the most recent issue, click here.

You can check out the most recent edition of the Rotary District 5440 Peacebuilder Newsletter here. 

For my reflections on the US Senate’s recent use of a Talking Stick during the government shutdown, check out The Power of the Talking Piece. 

For my thoughts on how a paradigm shift proposed in the medical field could also impact peace building efforts, check out Peace in the Soil.

Rotary Global Grant Blog December 2017

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

December has been full of beautiful weather and holiday celebration with kind and wonderful people!

The Rotary Club of Wellington invited me to their Christmas lunch, where we wore paper crowns from Christmas Crackers and sung Kiwi Christmas carols about sunny celebrations on the beach (see lyrics in photo above). It was a great time with a fantastic group of people!

Following weeks of unbelievably beautiful weather, Christmas day brought a big rainstorm. The cold stormy weather felt homey for me, but it was strange for my Kiwi friends. My partner and I spent the day with my advisor’s family, who warmly welcomed us to come eat food and play games with them, and then later we spent some time video chatting with our families. While it is difficult to be away from family during the holidays, I am grateful for technology that allows us to connect so often and in so many fun ways.

A great deal of the work I’ve done this month went into coding my interviews with restorative justice facilitators and participants in anticipation of upcoming writing deadlines. I wrote a blog post with some observations from the process of coding those interviews, which you can read here. I am excited, although somewhat daunted, by the chapter deadlines that loom in front of me in the coming months and am grateful for the many insights I gained through conversations with fellow facilitators as well as people who have been through the process.

I have also continued reading widely on restorative justice this month. One author I have particularly enjoyed this month is Jane Bolitho. For a taste of what I’m reading, check out this blog post on one of Bolitho’s recent works.

Earlier this year, I was appointed to the Advisory Council for that National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ). We meet over Zoom every other month to discuss and collaborate on work related to NACRJ. I am a part of the committee responsible for contributing content to the Restorative Well, the newsletter for members of NACRJ. I wrote three pieces for the most recent Restorative Well, which you can read here.

With only a few days left in 2017, I am looking back at the year with immense gratitude for the great adventure of living here, for all that I am learning, for the mentors and friends I have gained here, as well as for the support of people at home in making all this possible. My family has a tradition on Christmas Eve of writing down what we are most grateful for in the past year and what we are looking forward to in the coming year. This year, I didn’t know where to start!





Rotary Global Grant Blog November 2017

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

November started with an exciting few days at the Relate Resolve Restore Conflict Resolution Conference in Wellington. The conference brought together restorative justice practitioners and mediators from across New Zealand and abroad to share insights, experiences and skills. Many participants commented on the benefit of “breaking down the silos” between these areas of practice to learn from each other.

The range of restorative justice practice in New Zealand was well-represented at the conference, featuring presentations on the topics of youth and adult criminal justice, schools, universities, workplaces, elder harm, restorative city efforts, responses to historical harms, and more. The range of applications illustrated that there is no one specific defining restorative practice, rather it is the underpinning values and the prioritization of relationships and connection that unite the RJ community.

On day one of the conference, I had the opportunity to present my research in a session titled The Role of Ritual in Conflict Resolution.  The presentation was very well-received and I enjoyed the conversations it sparked with other conference attendees over the following days.

One of the most exciting things about the conference for me personally was getting to present with Kathleen McGoey, Executive Director of Longmont Community Justice Partnership, the Colorado Restorative Justice nonprofit where I used to work. Kathleen has been a great mentor, teacher and friend in my professional and life journey and it was wonderful to have her in New Zealand! We presented Teaching Restorative Practices through Games, a laughter-filled hour highlighting a fun and effective way to teach restorative practices. The feedback for the session was wonderful!

Day three of the conference was focused specifically on elder harm issues. My colleague, Haley Farrar, and I delivered a workshop on using restorative circles to respond to elder harm issues. At the end of the day, there were two role plays using standard mediation and a restorative circle process to respond to a fictional case. Haley and I facilitated the example circle. It was a privilege to get to share an example of restorative circles with a wider audience and to showcase how the process can be effective in a wide range of cases.

This month, I also found out that I had been awarded a Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand Grant in order to carry out a project I proposed that will use restorative processes to cultivate a sustained dialogue on the issue of sexual violence on campus. This project will begin early next year and I will post updates as it unfolds.

The November Rotary Peacebuilder Newsletter, which William Timpson from the Fort Collins Rotary Club has been kind enough to ask me to contribute to, is available here.

This month I have also started interviews with former restorative justice participants (victims and offenders) as part of my research. It has been incredibly enlightening and an honor to hear peoples’ stories of participating in the process and the positive change it has brought to their lives. I continue to feel so incredibly lucky to be part of the restorative justice movement.

Rotary Global Grant Blog October 2017

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

October was another exciting and eventful month!

I began the month by doing something I had never done before: running a half marathon! My partner and I traveled to Tauranga for the race (he did the full marathon) and enjoyed exploring a new area of the country while tackling the run. My finish time certainly wasn’t impressive, but I enjoyed the beautiful views, the challenge, and the feeling of community at the race.

I have continued to engage with the Rotary community in very rewarding ways. I have joined the Youth Committee of the Wellington Club and I attended a forum titled “What Matters to Young Wellingtonians?” It was a great event with many interesting conversations!

William Timpson from the Fort Collins Rotary Club has been kind enough to ask me to contribute to a monthly Peacebuilder Newsletter for the Rotary community. You can check out the October newsletter here.

Victoria University hosted a Wellbeing Symposium during October. The immediate response the organizing team received after posting registration for the conference is evidence of the need for safe spaces to discuss mental health and wellbeing issues. During the afternoon, a colleague and I offered a workshop titled “Restorative Practices for Community Wellbeing.” We gave participants the experience of being part of a restorative circle process and talked about the ways that restorative practices support individual and community wellbeing. It was very well-received and an honor to get to share circle practice with a great group from throughout the university and beyond.

This month I also had an article titled “Building a Restorative University” published in Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association (see link below). I am glad to see the word spread about the great work being done at Victoria University!

Building a Restorative University

Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Vol. 49 Issue 2. 2017.

Abstract: This paper examines the progress of Victoria University of Wellington towards becoming a Restorative University. Both reactive measures, including restorative justice as a response to conflicts and rule violations, and proactive measures, including the circle process as a way to build a positive culture rooted in restorative principles, are discussed. The article suggests that Victoria University has developed a framework for building a restorative community that can be adopted in other universities.

Rotary Global Grant Blog September 2017

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

During September, my colleague, Haley Farrar, and I delivered a Restorative Justice Facilitator Training for a group of Victoria University staff from across the university. It was a great opportunity to spend three days immersed in the philosophy and implementation of restorative practices with a passionate group of leaders in our community. I look forward to facilitating cases with this group on campus and also to seeing how they creatively implement restorative practices in their spaces of influence.

I also had the opportunity this month to give a lecture on my research to the Graduate Certificate in Restorative Justice class. It was great for me to have the chance to distill my work to date into a two-hour lecture. The class discussion also helped me to clarify my ideas and fueled my excitement moving forward in my study.

On a fun note, this month I went on a girls trip to Martinborough, a town not too far from Wellington known for its vineyards. We were lucky enough to get a beautiful spring day and visited several vineyards by bike!

This month I have also joined the Youth Committee of the Rotary Club of Wellington. I am looking forward to working with them in the upcoming months!

Rotary Global Grant Blog August 2017

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

August has been another full and exciting month in Wellington!

At the beginning of the month, I competed in Victoria University’s Three Minute Thesis Competition. The Three Minute Thesis competition challenges postgraduate students to explain their thesis research to a non-specialist audience in just 3 minutes. The goal is to clearly outline your research, engage the audience, and make them want to learn more.

I competed last year and was surprised and honored to win first place. You can read about that experience and see the video of my presentation here.

Because I had so much fun last year, I decided to participate again! This year, I won first place for International Students. You can watch the video of my presentation here.

This term, I have taken on the role of tutor for the Graduate Certificate course in Restorative Justice at Victoria University. I have enjoyed answering questions, marking papers and hosting tutorial sessions. This month, I was a guest lecturer for the course and delivered an interactive workshop on Restorative Circle practice. The content was well received and I enjoyed the opportunity to share with the class. To read more about designing restorative circles and how I am using this practice in the university context, see “How do you design a circle process?”

I have continued to interview facilitators for my research throughout the month and am learning so much from these conversations. To hear more about a recent insight, see “How does restorative justice counter biases?”

This month, I also received further training to be a facilitator in a pilot project using restorative practices to respond to elder harm issues. I am excited to be part of this new application of restorative practices.

Finally, this week I attended my first meeting with the Rotary Club of Wellington. It was a wonderful experience and I met so many great people! The speaker was Dr. Bronwyn Wood, whose speech was titled “Young people today: active or apathetic?” She suggested that these categories need to be challenged and outlined the ways in which youth and young adults are politically active in a different way than previous generations. It was an insightful and thought-provoking talk. As the Rotary Four Way Test was recited for the new members joining the club that day, I felt immense gratitude for this committed and passionate international community and for my place as part of it.

“Service above self.”

Rotary Global Grant Blog July 2017

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Starting this term, my PhD studies in New Zealand are generously supported by a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship. I am honored and so grateful to have received this support from Rotary. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity, while home in Colorado, to visit a couple of the local clubs to say thank you in person. I would also like to continue to share my journey and what I am learning through this blog.

Before returning to New Zealand at the end of June, I stopped in Oakland, CA to attend the 6th National Conference on Community and Restorative Justice. It was invigorating to be in a room full of passionate, driven and skillful restorative practitioners. I learned a lot about the state of restorative justice around the country and also delivered two talks titled Creating Transformational Space: Ritual and Restorative Justice and Building a Restorative University. 

During July, my colleague, Haley Farrar, and I had the opportunity to deliver a workshop on Restorative Justice to Wellington Community Justice Project, a law student-led society that aims to improve access to justice services in the community. I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss restorative practices with this group of intelligent and engaged law students.

On July 31st, the Rotary Club of Wellington hosted a forum with the central question “What would it take for Wellington, the city and region, to be the best in the world?” It was an exciting and thought-provoking event, featuring many great speakers from Wellington and beyond. Members of the audience were invited to share 60 seconds on their impossible dream for Wellington. I was lucky enough to be chosen to share the idea of making Wellington a Restorative City.  You can see a video of my one minute of fame here.

This month, I also began interviewing restorative justice facilitators and participants for my PhD research. It has been wonderful to go beyond the books and to draw from the experience and insight of the people engaged in the process.