So this past week I attended a training at Good Shepherd Mediation Program in Germantown (NW Phila). GSMP works with the juvenile courts in Philly to try to divert cases out of the formal system so kids who successfully complete the program either will have the case dismissed or make it generally easier to expunge off of their record.
In addition, the victim/offender conferencing program is grounded in restorative philosophies — that is, an alternative approach to understanding and confronting crime. In restorative practices, the emphasis is not on punishment or identifying particular rules that have been broken, but instead on what the needs of the victim are to begin to heal, what the needs of the offender are as they move towards accepting responsibility for their actions, and how the harm that has occurred has affected the community that those people are a part of.
Now that I’ve completed the VOC training, I’ll be able to work w/ Good Shepherd to facilitate these conferences between youth, youth families/supporters, and the people that their actions have affected, in order to try and help the youth to “make things right.” I’m really excited to start my apprenticeship w/ Good Shepherd!
For more info about Good Shepherd Mediation Program, visit their website: www.phillymediators.org
Here’s a pic of my certificate of completion: