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(Updated) TCC Mourns the Death of its Founder, Elizabeth Loescher

Date: September 14, 2015

Elizabeth Loescher, founder of The Conflict Center, passed away early Sunday morning
after a valiant struggle with cancer.  She died at home surrounded by her family, as was her wish.  Ms. Loescher, known as Liz by friends and colleagues, was a dedicated educator and peacemaker who devoted her life to improving the lives of others through teaching violence prevention skills to children and adults.

Ms. Loescher founded The Conflict Center in 1987 and ran the organization out of her basement for the first few years of its existence.  As a teacher, Ms. Loescher saw first-hand how conflict in classrooms interfered with students’ ability to learn and how much instructional time teachers lost because of having to referee those conflicts.  Ms. Loescher turned this need into an opportunity by creating a new curriculum to teach students how to handle their own conflicts without resorting to violence.  The curriculum she devised is called Peacemaking Made Practical and was originally designed for elementary school students, but has since been adapted for middle and high school students. This curriculum has proven to be effective based on empirical data and forms the basis for much of The Conflict Center’s work today.  Over its 28 year history The Conflict Center has served over 170,000 individuals by teaching and modeling skills to prevent violence, encourage better communication and problem-solving, and build stronger relationships.  Ms. Loescher retired from The Conflict Center in 2002.  During her active retirement she spent time with her children and grandchildren, and in 2010 she was a key player in the establishment of a second violence prevention organization, The Georgia Conflict Center located in Athens, Georgia.

Michael Hoops, immediate past President of The Conflict Center’s Board of Directors, had this to say:  “I’m sad to hear the news that one of my heroes has passed.  I feel a tremendous responsibility to keep her mission alive.”

Ron Ludwig, The Conflict Center’s Executive Director, commented:  “Liz was a great woman and one of the true peacemakers in my life.  We are honored to continue her legacy and her mission of peacemaking.”  Mr. Ludwig also spoke of the growth The Conflict Center experienced during its fifteen years of operating under her leadership.  When The Conflict Center outgrew its operating space in the mid-1990s, Liz directed a capital campaign that got and fully renovated the building that now houses The Conflict Center.  The three-year campaign was successful without ever incurring any debt or mortgage on the property, which enabled The Conflict Center to continue operating with comparatively low overhead and to offer violence prevention skills to all members of the community regardless of socioeconomic status.

Liz is survived by her children Jeff Loescher (and wife Carol), Mick Loescher (and wife Erin), and Suzy Loescher Quinlan (and husband Jeff), and eight grandchildren.

There will be a rosary service on Friday 9/18 at 7pm, and a funeral mass on Saturday 9/19 at 1pm.  Both will be held at 10:30 Catholic Community, 1100 Fillmore St., Denver CO. 

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New series of Restorative Justice workshops and special series pricing!

Date: September 10, 2015
Do you want a new skill for the workplace?
Do you want to build a peaceful community?
Do you want to learn how to build a community where discipline is handled in a restorative way?
Do you wish you could find peaceful approaches to harm and problem-solving?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions then Restorative Justice training at The Conflict Center may be for you!

Restorative Justice (RJ) is a value–based approach that includes communication, reparation, reintegration, healing, responsibility and most of all respect. The process gives the victim a voice and the opportunity for reparation and healing, being able to ask questions to the wrongdoer in a guided and safe environment. It also provides the possibility for the wrongdoer to take responsibility for his/her acts and be part of the decision making to repair the harm in a constructive way.

The Conflict Center is offering a series of three Restorative Justice workshops this fall:

  • Restorative Justice Principles I: Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 8:30am-4:30pm
  • Restorative Justice Principles II: Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 8:30am-4:30pm
  • Restorative Justice Principles III: Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 8:30am-4:30pm
Each workshop builds upon knowledge and skills taught at the previous workshop; as a result participants are strongly encouraged to begin with Restorative Justice Principles I and attend each workshop in sequence.  If you are interested in these workshops and have had previous RJ training through another source, please contact Theo Vargas, Volunteer & Intern Coordinator, at theo.vargas@conflictcenter.org to determine if your previous training may substitute for any of the above workshops.

All of the above workshops will take place at The Conflict Center, 4140 Tejon St., Denver CO 80211.  CEU credits are available.  Each workshop includes a one-hour break for lunch, which is not provided.  Details of each workshop are provided below.

Restorative Justice Principles I
During this workshop participants will be able to: explore Restorative Justice and Restorative Discipline principles; understand the differences between punishment vs. discipline; learn how to establish a culture of accountability amongst youth and adults; gain insight into power struggles and authority; practice how to facilitate RJ circles; and establish a network of individuals with an RJ lens.

Restorative Justice Principles II
Prerequisite: RJ Principles I.  This workshop is for individuals who: have had previous basic Restorative Justice training or attended Restorative Principles I workshop; are looking for more RJ practice; are interested in actual RJ opportunities in the community; and are interested in volunteering for The Conflict Center’s RJ program
This session will provide participants with the skills, knowledge, and ability to practice restorative justice approaches.  Participants will learn how to apply restorative justice to their specific community needs.  With Restoratative Justice II, paricipants move beyond RJ theory and become RJ practitioners.

Restorative Justice Principles III
Prerequisite: RJ Principles I and II.  This workshop is for individuals who: have attended RJI and RJ 2 workshops; are looking for more opportunities to practice RJ; are interested in actual RJ opportunities; and are interested in volunteering for The Conflict Center’s RJ program.  This session will provide the participants with the skills, knowledge, and ability to practice restorative justice approaches. Participants will learn how to apply restorative justice to their specific school program. With Restorative Justice 3, participants will be actively engaged in the restorative process and should be able to demonstrate RJ skills.  Elements contained in this workshop include: steps for initiating a school-based RJ program with support and coaching from The Conflict Center; post-RJ questionnaire and two-week follow-up process; data tracking of school-based RJ activities; mentoring new RJ facilitators and volunteers; addressing defiance in the RJ circle; and school-specific role plays.

The cost for each workshop is $99.00 per session if you register at least one week before the date of the workshop.  (After this period ends each workshop is $120.00)  HOWEVER, for a limited time The Conflict Center is offering a special rate for those who choose to register for the full series.  If you register for all three workshop in one transaction by September 21, each workshop will be only $89, or a total of $267 for all three workshops.  This is a savings of $93
off the regular price for each workshop!

To register for any or all workshops listed above, call 303-433-4983 or email info@conflictcenter.org
You may also visit our website at www.conflictcenter.org for more information.

Please join us to explore Restorative Justice, and thanks for being part of The Conflict Center family!

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Sticking Points: The Reader’s Guide

Date: August 21, 2015

Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart by Haydn Shaw

Each year Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado selects a book as recommended reading for the community at large, with the goal to spread information and encourage conversation on ways to resolve conflicts at all levels of society. Although this book focuses on issues that arise in the workplace, it quickly becomes apparent that the sticking points Shaw identifies also appear in a variety of settings including home, school, neighborhood, congregation, or civic group. Sticking Points is a timely work as there are currently four generations in the workforce – retiring Traditionalists to the as-yet-unnamed post-Millennial generation. Families already consist of up to five living generations.  Shaw uses “ghost stories” of each generation, pivotal events that shaped each generation’s perspectives, to build a foundation of shared understanding between generations.  Shaw presents a five-step process to transform sticking points into places of renewed unity.  Sticking Points provides better understanding of generational differences, and teaches ways to improve communication and build stronger relationships.

The Guiding Question:  How do we develop shared understanding, respect, and appreciation of each generation’s views, and how do we use that shared understanding to improve our relationships at work, home, and in the community?

For Individuals:  Shaw’s examination of the events that shaped each generation’s perspectives encourages the reader to question their assumptions about generational stereotypes and apply this new-found understanding to relationships with members of different generations in any setting. What are your assumptions about Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials? What do you think others assume about you and your generation? Do you fit the typical description? What helps you feel understood by those of other generations?

For Families: The five-step process Shaw describes in Chapter 3 will prove useful for untangling family conflicts rooted in generational differences, particularly in the multi-generational households that are becoming more prevalent in the United States. What are the “ghost stories” that form your perspectives? What are the values of family members? Are they based on experiences from certain times in history? What are “old” or “new” expectations in your family?

For Workplaces: Shaw writes “If we are going to get through this next decade, we have to understand that we are natives to only one generation and immigrants to the other three.” (p. 18) Workplaces devote significant resources to enhancing cultural diversity, yet many workplaces cling to outdated norms, policies, and processes because “that’s the way it’s done here.” Do you experience outdated policies or norms at your workplace? Are there inappropriate behaviors that diminish the productive atmosphere for employees and customers of varying ages?  How can you agree on corporate norms based on differing generation-based values?

For Communities: The nature of community changes with each successive generation. Communities – neighborhood, civic group, faith-based groups – that wish to remain viable for the long term must find ways to connect with members of all generations. What makes community members feel isolated and unimportant? Is understanding and inclusion a concern of the group and/or are individuals responsible for their own choices? What are ways to find out about opinions and needs of individuals so your community can keep members of all ages engaged and ensure they feel valued?

This Reader’s Guide was prepared by Mitzi Hicks, MPA, Grants & Contracts Administrator for The Conflict Center.

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