New and unexpected challenges often lead to bursts of innovation and efficiency. From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., CYS has energetically developed new user-friendly systems for delivering our restorative justice and youth development services.
“The number of restorative justice (VORS) and family (FARS) mediations CYS now conducts on a monthly basis through video-conferencing is nearly double the number of in-person sessions we provided in the months preceding the pandemic!” says Volunteer coordinator Alex Rojas. In a recent Town Hall Meeting, CYS volunteer mediators expressed overwhelming satisfaction with the online platform. Transition to video conferencing has also allowed CYS, for the first time, to offer large-group mediation of cases involving multiple youth involved in a single incident. Refinement and specialization are hallmarks of growth in an organization, and the CYS Mediation Unit is a shining example this month. A special mediation group composed of six volunteers, all VORS-certified, has now been formed to handle the unique challenges of sexual battery cases. Additional trainings have been created to introduce our volunteers to the Zoom-hosting role. And, in an exciting new partnership with the Lennox School District, CYS is developing trainings to prepare our mediators to bring proactive restorative circles to local classrooms. If you would like to get involved in these efforts, please email us at: [email protected]