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Workshop focuses on helping youth help themselves

Restorative justice methods can apply in various situations

Ways to empower youth to make healthy choices will be explored at an upcoming presentation on youth and restorative justice."Youth face issues that adults don’t necessarily face," said Gillian Lindquist, program co-ordinator of the Victoria Restorative Justice Society, which is holding the event on Monday (Feb. 28).The plan is to share information and tools that will appeal to professionals and volunteers who work with youth. Parents, as well as students on a youth-related career path will also learn ways to assist young people through the conflict resolution process.In keeping with the concept of restorative justice, which facilitates healing and repairing the harm caused by crime, Lindquist will share restorative responses that can be applied at home, in the workplace and classroom.For example, a teacher who responds to a heated conflict between two students at school can apply restorative practices – "instead of going up to the kids and saying ‘you guys are out of control, you’re going to detention after school.’ That would be a punitive response,” Lindquist explained."That approach doesn’t work all of the time," she said. It might provide a short-term fix, but one that leads to anger and damaged relationships. "Conflict is an opportunity for learning. It’s not an inconvenience."A way to capitalize on such school-based experiences would be to ask students questions that empower them to take responsibility and recognize how their actions have affected others.A number of different restorative responses will be explored at the upcoming seminar, designed to help youth make healthy choices."It takes a lot more time and effort," Lindquist said. "In the long run, you'll get fantastic outcomes if you stick to it and be consistent." The free public presentation is Feb. 28 from 7 to 8:45 p.m. in the Crowsnest lounge upstairs at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, 1151 Esquimalt Rd. For further details, please call 250-383-5801 or e-mail