Last Friday, Maine Coast Semester was honored to welcome the Restorative Justice Project of Midcoast Maine to campus for a faculty workshop, facilitated by none other than Maine Coast Semester alum Sarah Mattox (semester 18) and Sarah Matari.
RJP is a nonprofit that promotes fundamental change in schools and the justice system through alternatives to traditional, zero-tolerance-based discipline. The Restorative Justice Project has done great work all over Maine by shifting the focus from the laws and rules that have been broken to the harm that has been suffered by individuals and communities. To achieve reconciliation, offenders and victims are brought together in mediated “circles,” and the offender is paired with a volunteer mentor. The process holds the potential for those harmed to have a direct voice in determining just outcomes and reestablishes the role of the community in supporting all parties affected by crime and wrongdoing. Since 2005, RJP has trained more than 1,800 teachers, staff and administrators in restorative practices, impacting 10,635 students in over 200 schools.
While at Chewonki, Sarah and Sarah led a 6-hour workshop with Maine Coast Semester faculty on how to implement restorative justice into our semester community. It was a thoughtful and inspiring afternoon, which culminated in a circle where faculty and facilitators joined hands on the quad.
A little more about Sarah and Sarah:
Sarah Mattox, Semester 18
Sarah is an alumnus of Camden Hills Regional High School and Earlham College in Indiana. She joined the RJP team in 2011. Previously, she spent a decade leading summertime canoe tips and wintertime dogsled and cross-country ski expeditions in the Boundary Waters, out of Voyageur Outward Bound School in Minnesota. Sarah became the Associate Program Director and Staffing Manager there, where she focused on working with at-risk youth. Sarah was the founding faculty member at The Woolman Semester, a school program for high school juniors and seniors focused on Peace, Justice and Sustainability, based in Nevada City, California. When not working or rambling, Sarah can be found tromping in the woods in any season alongside her dedicated quadruped companion, Lucky.
Sarah Matari moved on early in her legal career to partner with and provide Restorative Justice and mediation services to New York City institutions and communities, such as the New York State Unified Court System, Family Court, Community Dispute Resolution Centers, and the Department of Education. Most recently, Sarah assisted the NYC Department of Education to create a Restorative Justice Pilot Project. The Pilot created and tested best practices in select schools to better implement Restorative Practices in all NYC public schools. Her work in select Pilot schools consisted of delivering mediation and Restorative Circles trainings to staff and students as well as directly facilitating and coaching staff to lead Restorative interventions to repair harm done in the community. Sarah began conflict resolution work as an undergrad at Smith College and continued onto Fordham Law School to formally study alternative dispute resolution practices.
Find out more about the Restorative Justice Project of Midcoast Maine by visiting their website: http://www.rjpmidcoast.org/