When Katrin Clouse spoke about her art at a show at Metro Hall, she realized the irony. “I slept there, through the Out of the Cold program. I never believed I could be back here for something like this.” The art show was part of a pilot Transformative Justice peer project geared toward helping participants from our Corner Drop-in.
Delivered in partnership with Rittenhouse, the project started with an art component that encouraged community building and an understanding of restorative justice. The next phases included mediation training, and finally, mediating disputes in the Corner, and the community itself.
Throughout the project, Katrin and her peers learned about de-escalation strategies, conflict resolution styles, stigma and discrimination, personal resiliency and communication skills. They also gained confidence, self-esteem and the ability to handle conflict in their own lives.
Katrin saw firsthand the power of restorative justice when she mediated a tenant/landlord dispute. “One of the building staff broke down in tears after realizing how his actions contributed to the problem. The process was rewarding for everyone. It brings out people’s empathy and helps them heal. It really does change you.”