Adam – Inside Student
I would say that the most profound [thing that I will take from this class] would be the renewed outlook I have on life’s purpose. It’s been years since an issue has sparked a fire inside of me like this one on restorative justice has. It is valuable to know that there are good, law-abiding citizens who share similar viewpoints on the criminal justice system as I do.
I have also taken from this class the astonishment of how so many people from such diverse backgrounds can share so many common ideas. It was great to see people put their stereotypes aside and openly receive others’ opinions. I am truly blessed to have been part of this experience.
Specifically, my life will be different from this class because I feel I have found a way to use all the negativity of my past in a way that could possibly affect not only my future, but others’ futures in a positive way. I truly believe that God doesn’t allow our suffering unless there is a chance it could lead to salvation. So, unless I went through 35 years of thunderstorms and rain, I may not have appreciated the sunshine when it comes. This class has changed my life because for the first time in a long time I think I see a hint of a rainbow. Hopefully the sunshine is next.
I still can’t believe how open and honest I felt in that classroom and how comfortable I felt around 18 or 19 people I had never met before in my life! One of my tattoos that I have is the phrase “One Deep” across my knuckles. One deep means basically that I’m by myself, a loner, ridin’ solo, etc… For three and a half weeks I felt approximately 24 Deep as I made connections with people easier than I ever have before. This class has also changed me because now I feel 2 Deep as I feel a renewed kinship with God that I hadn’t felt in a long, long time. Now that he’s trying to speak to me, I’m willing to listen and beg him to steer me the right way for once.
Tim – Outside Student
I will always remember the faces, smiles and the complex mixture of joy and sorrow that I could sense in the hearts of the men whom I met in [this class]. Their willingness to share some of their most painful and insightful experiences with us outside students was a blessing. This class provided a sacred space for all involved, and I firmly believe that restoration was done, even if only in small ways. Sometimes the broken pieces in our own lives are mended together when we choose to take the small steps which work towards wholeness in ourselves and in others. This class was a gift more than anything, and I am thankful that I was graced with the opportunity to be impacted by all who participated.
Kurtis – Inside Student
Being aware of all types of violence has helped me become a better person….I take openness and vulnerability away from the students [as their openness] has rubbed off on me. It shows how much you can learn from others and yourself by being easy-going. I learn to trust people and gain a sense of security by getting to know them. I can compare ideas without holding back because of fear of what people might think or say. Being vulnerable was shown to me by students in class with such ease that I tried being vulnerable myself and it became comfortable. This has helped me in so many ways and I’m grateful.
Encouragement…the knowledge given through the work encouraged me to do my part to change what I dislike or think will be fun. It motivated me to work hard. I wanted to learn things daily. My instructors pushed for me to give my all with the great material that was supplied. Plus I was told not to just scratch the surface (Thanks!). The students outside and inside showed genuine concern about all the things that were covered.
My life will be different by my actions towards people and society. My thinking pattern was changed once I understood a new level of violence. I can apply these things to my everyday living. Restorative justice will be applied in my life and taught to as many people as I can teach.