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Sue Mitchell, Former Board President & Current Volunteer

After almost 20 years of involvement with the Conflict Center, there are so many memories it’s hard to pick out just one. The first one is the way I was introduced to TCC.

At the start of my Alternative Dispute Resolution certificate program at The University of Denver, I took a class from Myra Isenhart, one of the first volunteers at TCC. During that class she mentioned its work to me and said, “We have a wonderful Reading for Peace program in which we work with children in schools.” She then went on to describe this program and its sponsor, TCC, suggesting that I might want to consider an internship with them and perhaps a place on the board. At the time I thought, “Oh, no. I want to do mediation. This sounds like much of the volunteer work I’ve done for years.”  Well, the best internship possibility I had was at TCC with the wonderful Jane Schmitz. I found that TCC was even more special than I had been led to believe and I loved Reading for Peace. As they say, the rest is history. And yes, I did serve on the board – for 9 years.

Many of the other memories come from the Reading for Peace program. Here are just a couple:

In one case a group of us were walking through the cafeteria on the way to set up our books and start the day when a little voice rang out, “Oh look! Here are the old ladies that read!”

A second one was the day that the five fifth grade boys in my group introduced themselves by telling me that their name was the same as the first boy who had spoken. During the discussion I called them all by this same name. Finally, the pressure became too great for one little boy. He cracked and told me that they hadn’t been truthful. Of course I was enormously surprised!

Many recent memories involve my age. One boy told me it was his teacher’s birthday and the year she was born. He asked me what year I was born. I told him I would tell him when we finished. When I did, he shouted to the teacher in utter disbelief “She was born in 1935!!” I’m sure he thought, “No one is THAT old!”

Sue Mitchell

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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.