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.