July 26, 2017 | by Meg Delaney and Amy Navvab
Umoja’s Peace Rooms in our partner schools are the hub of restorative justice practices for school buildings and often can be a vehicle to promote positivity in a school.
This spring, two Peace Rooms, John Hope and South Shore International College Prep, each hosted a week of proactive programming called “Hope and Healing Week” and “Peace Week”, respectively. Each day had a different theme including mindfulness, coping with stress, healing from grief, healthy relationships and gratitude. Each theme had an activity that allowed students and teachers to connect and reflect in new ways from creating stress balls to reflecting on the values most important in a healthy relationship.
A highlight from Hope and Healing week at Hope from RJ Specialist Meg Delaney was, “Seeing students engaging in meaningful conversations and using their creative side to process feelings and stress, I was reminded that it really is the simple things that can begin the process of healing. So often, my students are expected to move on immediately after a loss and their experiences with grief and violence are consistently normalized. Creating space to talk about these issues and validate their feelings has been incredibly powerful for our school community.”
At South Shore International College Prep, RJ Specialist Amy Navvab was excited to see students who don’t normally interact in the Peace Room coming together to participate in activities. She explained, “In the day to day of resolving conflicts in the Peace Room it can be hard to make time for joy and pure relationship building. We know relationships are the core to Restorative Justice so it was great to take a week to promote proactive community building and social emotional skill building through the Peace Room.”
Learn more about Umoja’s Restorative Justice model.