“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
— African Proverb
Since its inception in 2010, GCC has sought to serve the Athens, Georgia community and beyond, working in collaboration with our community partners to build a just and equitable community. From the beginning, the primary focus of our work was teaching conflict skills to help children, youth and adults embrace conflict as a natural part of life and an opportunity to learn and grow.
Over the years, we have honed the focus of our work to build peace with justice by advancing restorative practices within communities, schools and institutions.
Today, GCC’s work is advanced by a dedicated core leadership team, a committed Board of Directors, school-based restorative coordinators and a collection of GCC-connected experts and collaborators.
Whether it be in schools, in the criminal legal system, in communities or in workplaces, GCC supports long-term culture change, toward a culture of respect, mutual support and accountability. Our vehicle for culture change is through promoting restorative practices, and helping build systems and structures that are equitable and serve the needs of all members of the community, particularly the most vulnerable and historically marginalized.
GCC supports culture change by engaging in long-term relationships, measuring impact over time. Restorative Practices are not a quick fix. Unjust and inequitable structures and systems have taken generations to build, and the dismantling of these systems and structures, and “building the new in the shell of the old” must be engaged with a patient urgency. As John Lash often says, “the work is too urgent to rush.”
Also, as we seek to measure impact, we recognize the importance of developing new metrics to measure culture change progress via the implementation of restorative practices. For instance, many of the metrics used in schools, like Out-of-School Suspension, In-school Suspension and Office Referrals, are focused on measuring punitive discipline and negative behaviors. Developing systems to track the transition to a restorative culture and the effectiveness of restorative approaches are essential to support the building of the culture that we seek.