In recent years, our country has loudly expressed a lack of faith in our justice and legal system. And over the past several weeks, we’ve seen anger and violence, rather than debate and discourse, take center stage in addressing injustice. Some legal organizations have taken steps to counter that. They have developed educational programs that teach negotiation skills to help defuse tensions and resolve conflict.
In Chicago, one of those organizations is the Chicago Bar Association’s Interfaith Committee.
For the past seven years, this CBA committee’s “Restorative Justice Program” has sought to teach local students how to handle heated conversations and stressful situations in a more peaceful manner.
The Chicago-area program works with children in grades 5 through 8 weekly, teaching them trial advocacy skills to curb incivility in both professional and everyday scenarios encountered by these rising leaders with the hopes of restoring confidence in our justice system.
At this time, the Restorative Justice Program is in need of volunteer attorneys to assist in the education of these students for the upcoming Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. These lawyers work in groups of two to three once a week for eight consecutive weeks. Each meeting with the children is broken down into a 90-minute session, with the time of day (during the school day or afterwards) varying based on location.
The following schools are in need of volunteers:
Myra Bradwell School, 7736 S Burnham Ave., Chicago, IL 60649;
Kennedy School, 1013 Division St., Chicago Heights, IL 60411;
and, possibly, the Montessori School of Englewood, 6936 S. Hermitage, Chicago, IL 60636.
Alonzo Stagg Elementary, 7424 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60621;
O’Keefe School, 6940 S. Merrill Ave., Chicago, IL 60649;
Clara Barton School, 7650 S. Wolcott Ave., Chicago, IL 60620.
Those interested in assisting the program should complete this volunteer registration form. For any additional questions, please contact the Chicago Bar Association’s Public Affairs Department at 312-554-2013.