X

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
I prefer to receive emails for

About Us

Vision Statement

Communities embrace conflict as opportunity to sustain safe and thriving relationships.

Who We Are

Founded in 1987, by Liz Loescher, The Conflict Center has grown from an idea in the basement of her house to a long-standing nonprofit located in Sunnyside neighborhood dedicated to providing practical skills and training to address everyday conflict through relationship building. While our programs and offerings have evolved over time, The Conflict Center remains steadfast in its commitment to being at the center of nonviolence in families, schools, workplaces and communities.

 

What We Do

For over 30 years, The Conflict Center has been providing programs to Denver and throughout Colorado. Through our youth and adult classes and conflict management workshops, we empower individuals to see and use conflict as an opportunity to grow, learn, and create positive change in their lives. We partner with schools to foster a community of inclusion, where students feel safe to be themselves. We shift school culture to build nurturing, positive relationships, and to implement a restorative culture where students are held accountable within the school community, making punitive discipline the exception rather than the norm. At The Conflict Center, we believe that all of us are capable of and responsible for building healthy relationships in our homes, schools, congregations, workplaces, and communities.

 

Commitment to Inclusivity

In keeping with our values, The Conflict Center is committed to inclusion and equity and to social justice in the elimination of organizational structures and actions that oppress, exclude, limit, or discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, status as an officer or enlisted members of the military forces, veteran status, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We welcome all who share our mission and vision. We are committed to providing our services to all people where individual differences are respected and valued.

Values

Conflict Center Position Statements

  • The need for students and staff to feel safe is essential to a healthy and beneficial learning environment. The Conflict Center considers school safety to include physical safety as well as psychological and interpersonal safety, where students and staff feel respected and can be themselves in their full identities.  
  • The Conflict Center believes that safe schools are created through the use of school-wide strategies that intentionally build cultures of mutual respect, accountability, and a strong sense of community. We support approaches, policies, opportunities, and decisions which further achieve creating safe environments in Colorado schools while opposing strategies which create more conflict and violence in schools.  
    • Any dialogue and action regarding safety in schools should prioritize the involvement and voices of students.
    • A restorative school culture encourages students to see conflict as an opportunity for dialogue, repair, and community building.
  • The need for students and staff to feel safe is essential to a healthy and beneficial learning environment.  The Conflict Center considers school safety to include physical safety as well as psychological and interpersonal safety and believe that the presence of guns in schools creates psychological distress for students and staff.
  • The Conflict Center believes that the presence of guns in schools are antithetical to school safety.  
    • Conflicts should be resolved through peaceful and restorative practices.
    • TCC supports policies and decisions to eliminate guns on school property in every area, including administration and staff.
    • TCC does not naively assume that violence won’t happen in schools simply because guns aren’t allowed; however, we believe that the presence of guns in schools contributes to the propensity that violence will occur.
  • Traditional discipline within schools focuses on punitive measures such as expulsion and suspension, actions which often alter the life path of students and feed the school-to-prison pipeline. The Conflict Center believes that school discipline policies should seek to both hold students accountable for their actions while also promoting learning, growth and the opportunity to repair harm. School discipline policies should be grounded in the principles of restorative practices, and focused on keeping students part of the school community as much as possible.
    • Actions such as expulsions and suspensions should be rarely, if ever, used in the disciplinary process in schools and, if used, they should contain an accessible appeals process that includes family members and community members.
    • Understanding that disciplinary processes impact students of color disproportionately, any school discipline policy should take into consideration cultural competency and implicit bias, and should be viewed through a racial justice lens.
    • Schools should engage in the proactive creation of school culture which focuses on providing school staff and administration with the tools and skills needed to address conflict through restorative practices and supports school policies which further this approach.
  • To be successful and effective, students, staff and administration require a school culture which bolsters their ability to learn and teach. The Conflict Center believes that a healthy school culture is one that fosters an environment that allows students to effectively learn, grow, and build meaningful connections. Such a culture requires that students and staff are provided opportunities to learn skills to address conflict, emphasizing the utilization of restorative practices.
    • School culture should embody the principles of restorative justice-particularly through the teaching of skills that empower members of the school community to manage conflicts in prosocial ways.
    • The Conflict Center emphasizes the utilization of restorative practices in schools as a way to address the school-to-prison pipeline by providing an alternative to discipline that would otherwise use the criminal justice system to navigate behavioral issues.
    • The Conflict Center supports school policies that encourage students and administration to engage with one another in dialogue to solve problems and build, repair and restore relationships.
    • The Conflict Center supports school policies that are intentionally inclusive and culturally responsive, and that safeguard against directly or indirectly excluding students and staff, especially members of marginalized communities, from the school community.
  • The criminal justice system is designed to punish and incarcerate offenders without much consideration for restorative approaches, while burdening communities and taxpayers with financial and societal impacts.  The Conflict Center believes incarceration is used too often as the default sanction rather than as a last resort.
  • The Conflict Center believes that the criminal justice system should engage in practices which give offenders the opportunity to take accountability and repair harm. The Conflict Center believes that by implementing restorative practices in the criminal justice system, individuals and communities will experience more positive outcomes when dealing with crime.
    • TCC primarily emphasizes the utilization of restorative practices in schools as a way to address the school-to-prison pipeline by providing an alternative to discipline that would otherwise use the criminal justice system to navigate behavioral issues. However, restorative practices can and should be utilized outside of schools in the judicial system as a way to combat the larger issue of mass incarceration and the retributive nature of the criminal justice system.
    • Individuals can change their behavior through the intentional practice of skills to manage their emotions and reframe conflict in their lives which can lead to positive outcomes.
    • TCC also believes in the concept of justice reinvestment, which shifts energy and resources to community-based efforts as alternatives to policing and incarceration.  
  • For restorative approaches to have the largest impact, the entire community must practice and contribute collaboratively to the vision including schools, social and human services, police, judicial systems and neighborhood groups. The Conflict Center believes in taking action and bringing others together symbiotically to further its vision for a restorative community.
    • TCC contributes to building stronger communities by empowering neighborhoods and individuals with the tools to better navigate conflict.
    • Communities should work toward de-escalating conflict and building a community in which restorative practices are the norm and applied in an equitable framework.
    • The Conflict Center believes that the concept of community policing should be better understood as empowering communities to “police” themselves by utilizing tools that TCC emphasizes such as restorative justice, transformative justice, conflict navigation, and de-escalation.

The tools and policies that we advocate for in schools and communities are applicable in all facets of life. The Conflict Center believes these same tools are also important and beneficial in home environments.

  • When conflict management tools are practiced and embraced in the home environment, these same tools can be applied in circumstances outside of the home and therefore contribute to a healthier society.
  • Practicing a restorative approach to conflict at home ensures these values continue through many generations.
  • The Conflict Center supports policies and actions which further improve conflict management at home and in family and relationships.
When conflict happens in the workplace or people experience inappropriate or difficult behavior at work, relationships are damaged and productivity often suffers.
 
Workplaces that embrace Restorative Practices have the potential to create a safer, happier and more effective workplace for everyone. Restorative Practices can be used within the workplace both as a preventative measure and to address conflict when it does arise, enabling teams and individuals to work well together.

Restorative Practices can be an effective way to resolve workplace conflict. It involves:
  • bringing together all those affected by conflict
  • providing a safe environment for the expression of perspective
  • allowing participants to come to a shared understanding
  • identifying creative ways to deal with conflict
  • providing opportunities to rebuild damaged relationships and strengthen teams 

Restorative approaches can also be used proactively within the workplace to build strong, positive relationships. Staff meetings, for example, can be focused on building relationships and based around a foundation of mutual respect.
 
To discuss opportunities to bring this training to your workplace or to customize this training to your organizations needs, please contact Jessica Sherwood at Jessica.Sherwood@conflictcenter.org or call 303.865.5624.
close-link
close-link