Restorative Justice Project offers training for volunteers

Posted Sept. 12, 2011, at 12:46 p.m.

The Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast is offering free training for volunteers to work with their programs that serve adults who are re-entering the community after a period of incarceration. Volunteer opportunities range from mentoring individuals, leading community outings, to facilitating community resolution circles.

Training for volunteer mentors in Waldo County is scheduled 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20 and 27, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Soup Kitchen in the Belfast Center, 9 Field St., Belfast.

Training in Knox County is scheduled for 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 and 11, and 9 a.m.- 4p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at the First Universalist Church in Rockland, 345 Broadway.

RJP’s goal is to bring about a cultural shift in the way that the community, law enforcement and the justice system work together to address crime and punishment. Restorative justice creates a forum for victims to have a voice, and gives an opportunity for the offender to take accountability and acknowledge the impact of their crime on the community.

Formed in February 2005, the work of RJP has resulted in significantly decreased recidivism, healing of victims and transformed lives — rarities within the traditional criminal justice system. Participation by community volunteers is critical to the success of this approach to personal and communal healing. RJP is supported by a widespread partnership that includes law enforcement, probation, the District Attorney’s Office, local congregations, numerous social service agencies, and more than 60 volunteers.

“We have a need for more volunteers in both Waldo and Knox Counties,” said Margaret Micolichek, executive director of RJP. “We could easily double the number of persons we are working with. Our more than 60 current volunteers are actively committed to meeting this tremendous need.”

Volunteers receive training in all program areas, and training and support are offered throughout their volunteer time. For more information, or to download a volunteer application form, visit http://www.rjpmidcoast.org/cms/volunteer or call 338-2742.

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