Op-Ed

Coalition seeks to reclaim lives

Facilitator Anastacia Medcalf with board directors and panelists Irene Morgan and Joy Gilfilen at the Restorative Solutions Conference March 19, 2015, in Ferndale.
Facilitator Anastacia Medcalf with board directors and panelists Irene Morgan and Joy Gilfilen at the Restorative Solutions Conference March 19, 2015, in Ferndale. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Restorative Community Coalition was established in 2006 and had about 30 volunteers in 2015.

Purpose: Have you ever seen a shopping cart under a bridge filled with wet despair, topped with a satellite dish? And wondered about the person and mind that could have designed your new computer rather than stealing it? We all see the cost of the cycles of incarceration to our community, in dollars and humanity. We hear the forecast for local “structural deficits, and exhaustion of financial resources.”

We are a community of ideas, diversity, and compassion — so we already have solutions!

The Restorative Community Coalition links your solutions and ours, with humanity, with innovation, with traditional wisdom. We create systems that connect people coming out of the justice system to how they matter. We build prevention programs, redirecting the satellite dish into education, jobs, honor and freedom. Our mission is reclaiming lives for sustainable, generational re-engagement through restorative, economic and systemic action. Investing in people on purpose!

Volunteer highlights: Volunteers from our diverse community helped hundreds of people break cycles perpetuating addiction, social decay, and poverty, saving taxpayers $25,000 to $50,000 annually per person; develop sustainable preventative programs; educate voters and officials on systems of economic, social, and restorative alternatives; create a vision for our shared future that includes innovation, culture, mentorship, jobs, housing, health, farming, and sustainability.

Signature fundraiser: Restorative Economics Conferences to be announced. Annual membership campaign will run from May Day through the Fourth of July.

Wish list: Our first goal is building the RestoreALIfe Training Center — mentorship, recovery, and education in a safe community living environment.

Current volunteer needs: Publicity of the opportunities for our community to funders, collaboration to increase awareness and action at all levels of education, business, and local government. Donate your time, skills, and resources to becoming part of local ingenuity and positive change.

For more information, go online to RestorativeCommUnity.com.

VOLUNTEER MONTH

April is National Volunteer Month and The Bellingham Herald has partnered with the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County to highlight local nonprofit agencies that offer opportunities to become involved in our community. For more information online about the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, go to whatcomvolunteer.org.

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