The Gift of GCC Training and Whole-School Change

January 3, 2024

Clarissa Gonzalez has been a passionate Youth Development Practitioner for the past 15 years. This has taken many forms, from leadership development and holistic health/wellness education, to Native cultural work and restorative practices. Originally from Chicago IL, she is the co-founder of Machtia Toltekatl, an educational institute of Native Arts & Sciences and the owner of Ritual Leaf Co. through which she offers herbal products that promote mindfulness & wellness. She is currently the Restorative Practices Facilitator at Pinecrest Academy Sloan Canyon in Henderson Nevada.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to join the Georgia Conflict Center’s School-wide Restorative Practices Certification Course. It was precisely what I needed to launch a school-wide program at the K-12 school where I work!

This program was incredibly robust, grounded and facilitated with integrity and it was clear that GCC moves in its principles of justice and equity by offering me a scholarship to attend.

Because I am at a school that is barely considering implementing school-wide Restorative Practices, there was no way I would have received funding to attend the program, however I knew I needed this certification course to encourage administration and teachers to buy into the program. I was at a crossroads. So I was incredibly grateful that GCC moves in its principles of equity and I was able to receive a scholarship to attend! It is no exaggeration to say then, that in turn, GCC’s program catalyzed the launch of RP at my school impacting over a thousand students!

Not only was this program key to a solid foundation in anyone’s practice, but it explored in depth what it takes to build a restorative mindset and communication. It allowed me to connect with other like-minded practitioners who supported me and gave me advice on how to navigate the process of establishing a program at my school. The facilitator, Danny, did a beautiful job of creating a welcoming environment that held the spirit of a circle even virtually and all of the guest speakers and fellow participants inspired me to persevere despite setbacks.

Although I recognize that embodying the work of Restorative Practices is a lifelong process, and no certification can ever truly reflect the depth and breadth of this work, taking this certification course helped my school trust the process of establishing a program, and helped me feel fully resourced and supported to be able to hold space for the hard conversations and differing opinions with administration and teachers at my school.

Now, I am finally able to offer Tier 1, 2, & 3 circles at my school and my colleagues are all asking about training at GCC!  There is no doubt that this training was a vital part of the puzzle to bring Restorative Practices to my community. Thank you!

Make a Donation

other blogs and recommended reading

Opinion

Where Is the Forgiveness and Grace in Cancel Culture?

A link to an editorial written on 12/28/21 in the New York Times from Michael Eric Dyson, reflecting on Bishop Tutu's approach to apartheid and the limited value of punishment or banishment.

Read full article (LINK OPENS IN A NEW TAB) →

Restorative Practices for the Seven Generations to Come

“History is asking us to become healers. We are so good at causing harm, at every level. We are experts at that. So I want to thank you for answering history’s call so that we will have a future for the seven generations to come.” - Dr. Fania Davis

Read full article (LINK OPENS IN A NEW TAB) →

What SEL Teaches Us About Safety

With SEL, we can foster emotional safety and mental wellness, and help reduce violence and risky behaviors among students.

Read full article (LINK OPENS IN A NEW TAB) →

At This Oakland High School, Restorative Justice Goes Far Beyond Discipline

Fremont High students are even helping young students engage in restorative justice practices.

Read full article (LINK OPENS IN A NEW TAB) →

"Over Ruled" Contemplates the Upward Spiral of Restorative Justice

Taken at face value, the 12′ structure installed on playa will spell out a cheeky provocation, “NO DANCING,” clearly legible from afar. But as the viewer approaches, each of the large block letters will reveal a story, a testimonial from a real person about a personal experience with unjust rules. Smith sees the piece as a call to awareness of social injustice and the power of restorative justice.

Read full article (LINK OPENS IN A NEW TAB) →

Regulating Restorative Justice: What Arbitration Teaches Us About Regulating The Restorative Process In Criminal Courts

This Note from Hope Harriman shares her introduction to Restorative Justice as a volunteer in Rwanda, her journey with the Restorative Justice Community Court in Chicago, and her opinions about possible regulations on restorative justice to ensure its success.

Read full article (LINK OPENS IN A NEW TAB) →