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How to Become Involved


Make a referral 
If you or someone you know is in conflict and could use assistance, call the MCJC to discuss how the Conflict Assistance Program can help.

Spread the word  
Host a presentation about Restorative Justice for your organization.

Support the concept of Restorative Justice 

Let your City Councilor, State's Attorney, and legislators know that you support restorative responses to crime in which the voices of victims and the community are heard and valued.

Submit your ideas 
Is there something you believe the MCJC should be doing? Email us at mcjc@montpelier-vt.org.

Make a donation
Support a special project that is as yet unfunded, such as the Community Service Club, Victim Liaison, etc.

Volunteer! 
Volunteers are our greatest asset. The MCJC relies on skilled, trained volunteers to provide many of our services . Dozens of citizens give their time every year to staff and promote our programs. Volunteers serve as members of the Citizen Advisory Board, Restorative Reentry's Circles of Support and Accountability (COSAs), Restorative Justice Panels and occasionally as mediators and facilitators for community forums. The MCJC needs community members who are willing to deliver restorative justice in the Montpelier area by giving five to eight hours a month for at least a year to serve on a Restorative Justice Panel or a COSA. All volunteers are provided initial and ongoing training and support.
 

"Why we are all here is that we volunteers feel the great truth about life is
that we are in this life together."

Restorative Justice Panel Members are volunteers from all walks of life who serve on a working citizen board. These Panel members conduct meetings with people who have been sentenced to Reparative Probation for (primarily) misdemeanor offenses. The focus is on the harm that was caused to victims, who are invited participate, and to the community by the actions of the probationer. The informal, structured conversation in these meetings among Panel members, victims and the person who committed the offense leads to a plan of activities for the person who offended to make amends to those they hurt, restore relations with the community, and keep from committing future offenses. For a commentary on the Restorative Justice Panel (formerly Reparative Board) process that aired on VPR in 2008, see http://www.vpr.net/episode/42776/
                                                                                    
                                      

Circle of Support and Accountability volunteers provide group mentoring, with specific objectives and guidelines, to help a person who has committed a serious and violent offense become a productive, safe citizen upon release from prison. A COSA includes three to four volunteers, the reentry participant (core member), and a staff person. COSAs meet weekly and volunteers are encouraged to maintain other contact individually, according to their comfort level. This support encourages the core member to engage in healthy recreation, overcome addictions, find employment, keep appointments, etc. Staff ensures a coordinated effort with the probation officer, treatment providers, family members, and others involved in the core member's life. Check out Vermont Edition's coverage on VPR on
January 6, 2014: http://digital.vpr.net/post/addressing-recidivism-community-0
 
Effective volunteers are:
  • Broad minded  Able to see and appreciate complexities inherent in a situation
  • Victim sensitive  Willing to confront criminal thinking and victim-blaming
  • Compassionate  Understanding and caring about people who are victimized and able to be empathetic with someone who has done wrong
  • Reliable  Accustomed to following through on commitments
  • Self-regulating  Able to take care of themselves emotionally and respond rather than react
  • Good humored  Comfortable with using humor to get through tough and serious situations
  • Balanced  Skilled at seeing multiple sides of a person or situation
  • Encouraging  Able to recognize, acknowledge, and nurture strengths 
  • Curious  Open to continuous learning
Contact Yvonne Byrd to learn more about volunteering at 279-8595 or ybyrd@montpelier-vt.org.