Touchstone Honoree: North Shore Health Care Foundation is proud of Restorative Justice
Grand Marais is quite the destination for many. But even a beautiful tourist town has its troubles.
That’s why it’s important the North Shore Health Care Foundation supports a Restorative Justice Program. It came on board with the Foundation in 2020.
Most of their cases involve youth, and are referred from the courts or probation or the school. Volunteer facilitators with training work with both the parties who were harmed, and did the harming.
“They really spend time individually with the participants and their support people. Once we’ve prepared them both, both parties, then we ask if they are willing to meet face to face,” Inger Andress explained. She’s the president of the Foundation and chair of the Restorative Justice Program.
Those meetings are done at the neutral Cook County Higher Ed building.
Andress recalled a bullying case they worked on, where eventually the two were able to sit near each other and no one was afraid.
Another stemmed from an incident on a local playground, and once a miscommunication was cleared up, the air in the room just shifted. “He put out his hand, and said, I’m so sorry. I did not know that,” Andress shared.
A grant from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation helped them add a case coordinator, and offer larger scale trainings to even more people.
“One of the key priorities for of the foundation is children’s mental health and substance misuse. And one of the things that, you know, restorative justice does is provides a second chance and teaches healthy conflict resolution and how to live in community post-incident,” Valerie Marasco Eliasen explained. She’s the Executive Director of the Foundation.
They’ve also added a Truancy Solutions program, to help keep kids in school.
Andress said seeing people realize how they can address conflict creates a ripple effect in the community.
You can watch all six honorees at 6:30pm tonight, on WDIO.