kindness is magic

 

Photography by Stephen Restelli

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We are always on the lookout for caring, conscientious volunteers to help further our mission to the community.

 

Circle Of Support and Accountability (COSA) Volunteer for the Offender Reentry Program

People are coming out of prison and returning to the Barre community on a weekly basis. These are not new members to the community. These are people who have significant ties to the area; they are returning to their families and their community and need support.

You can make a difference. We need teams of volunteers willing to work with offenders as they transition from prison back into our community. This program has a proven track record in lowering recidivism (reoffending); thus, making the community safer and keeping people from being re-incarcerated.

COSA’s are made up of community volunteers who meet once a week with offenders encouraging those coming out of prison to create strong bonds of support, friendship and accountability as they work to become healthy members of society.  Your role is to offer mentorship and support to an offender who has expressed a desire to change and a commitment to cause no more harm. As a trained team, the group will help to establish clear expectations for the offender with regard to community behavior and responsibility. The commitment is for one year of service.

 
It gives you an opportunity to be a part of the solution and the change you want to see.
— COSA Volunteer
 
 

Restorative Justice Panel Volunteer

Serving on a Restorative Justice Panel, community members work as a team with 3-5 other Panel members to conduct a structured problem-solving meeting with persons responsible for and affected by a crime. This meeting is focused on understanding the harm caused, how the offender will make amends, and actions the offender will take to avoid re-offending. Staying away from a punitive mindset, as a Panel member you would represent the community perspective and ensure a restorative justice response to the crime committed. The team, along with active involvement from the offender and affected parties, construct a plan for the offender to make amends.

Restorative Justice Panel members serve the community in two ways. First, they help people affected by crime be heard and have their needs attended to. And second, they support people who have done wrong to understand the impact their actions have on victims, affected parties and the community.

Training is required for this position. There are 1-2 meetings/month, which go for 2-3 hours. A commitment of one year is preferred.

 
Being a part of this unique process is always eye opening, and helps participants repair the harm done to victims and the community and allows the person who caused the harm to “clean their side of the street,” by not only making amends, but by gaining new understanding of how their actions affected others. The hope is that what is that learned will stay with the participants as they are faced with choices in the future that will affect others.
— Jeannie MacLeod, Director
 
 
 
 
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