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Grizzly Community Support Centers

Who We Are

Volunteers are provided with specific restorative questions that hopefully lead to resolution of issues at the preliminary stage and allow the student to return to class after a restorative interaction with the teacher (or sometimes the class). The volunteers also provide another adult connection and role model for the students which may be lacking in some of their lives.  Behavior issues that cannot be resolved at that early stage can be referred to either the Dispute Resolution Center or the Dean of Students. Volunteers provide immediate “triage” in defined situations where student behavior results in the need for the teacher to direct the student to leave the classroom. Volunteers would not handle behavior that involved physical confrontation.  Between referrals, volunteers may be asked to be in the halls encouraging students who are not, to be in class and in the cafeteria during breakfast and lunch for visibility and relationship building.

Volunteers receive training not only in restorative practices and the specific requirements of their job, but also active listening, cultural competency, suicide prevention, and other needed areas.  Training models developed by the Center for Youth Program Quality are used including,  Ask-Listen-Encourage and Reframing Conflict Training.  Volunteers are provided with job parameters (do and don’ts), a job description, a volunteer application and other forms to fill out. Volunteers are asked to sign up for one (2-3 Hour) shift per week to facilitate scheduling and relationship building. Volunteers may sign up for more shifts if they wish, as many volunteers find this program rewarding and impactful. We hope to have a sub pool for emergency situations when volunteers cannot make their shift.  Background checks are done for all volunteers. 

What We Do

Grizzly Community Support Centers: Supporting our Students and Schools

The Grizzly Community Support Centers (GCSs) are a collaboration between the Ypsilanti Community Schools, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, and volunteers from the faith community, the U of M and EMU social work programs, and the community in general. GCSCs help keep students in class, learning, and help enhance the learning environment at the schools. GCSCs support the students and teachers at the Ypsilanti Community High School and Middle School. A GCSC pilot began last March in the High School and because of the impressive positive impact, the program has been asked to expand to the middle school. The Grizzly Community Support Centers are part of the YCS Restorative Practices disciplinary continuum and enhance the school’s capacity to manage student behavior through increased individual student contact with caring volunteer adults who are trained to use restorative practice methods.
Restorative practices provide opportunities for students to share their feelings, build relationships, solve problems,  accept responsibility for misbehavior, play an active role in addressing the consequences of their behavior and “make things right”. Restorative practices can prevent situations from occurring or escalating as well as resolving them after they happen. Desired outcomes include greater student buy-in to school processes, less lost class time by individual students, early on resolution of behavior issues resulting in decreased disruptions in classrooms and fewer suspensions caused by escalating problematic student behavior.  Long term goals include improved academic achievement.  

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