When we first spoke about what had happened it was clear he was still frustrated and angry. The crime had occurred over six months ago. The damage to the vehicle was fixed, but not the damage to his trust in young people and the injury to his emotions. Face-to-face, they were finally able to talk.
“I’m scared at what he will do to me,” the young, female offender had confided on our way to the meeting.
During the meeting he asked questions about what had happened. And why. He told her how angry and frustrated he was—and about his disappointment. She apologized with a sincerity one might not expect from someone who had been labeled ‘juvenile delinquent’ from an early age. Then he did do something to her: he forgave her.
Restore is about relationships. When parties leave the meeting a little better than when they came in, when both sides have a little better understanding of what it means to take responsibility, to hold accountable, and to make things right—then we have done more than just our job—we have helped people see each other—and the world—just a little bit differently than before. And given the state of the world, we think that’s a good thing.
Restore is blessed to have so many friends and supporters who also see things “a little bit differently” and give so generously to help us fulfill our mission—one conversation at a time:
…helping two people in a local retirement community resolve their differences by creating a place where each felt safe enough to be able to say the things that mattered to them—and to be heard. As they had an honest conversation with each other, speaking from their own experiences instead of their assumptions about the other, the resentment, the fear, the hurtful misperceptions and inaccuracies began to fade. The tensions that had built up over a year were eased to the point where they no longer had to avoid each other or feel that knot in the stomach as they passed.
Restore relies almost completely on the generosity of supporters like you. There are many reasons to contribute to an organization—just as there are many reasons to work for one—but here is where we are in common—each giving according to our gifts and our talents to restore a world of broken relationships—and helping others to see not only the possibilities of a new way of thinking but the promise of a new way of acting.
Please help us continue to help others grow stronger at the broken places.
John Gehm, Director
P.S. We see many exciting opportunities on the horizon in 2010! Besides exploring all the other areas restorative justice is positively changing lives—in schools, in churches, in organizations—Restore is hoping to be able to hire its first Program Coordinator to help match needs with resources. This will mark a significant change in the life of the organization. Thank you again for keeping us moving forward.