Testimonials

From Program Participants

*The Family Reentry Meeting Experience*

Evaluations From One Family:

From the incarcerated (Client): “It gave me the chance to re-connect with my family and understand different aspects of my addiction. My family offered me support and they see that I’m for real about doing better. Hearing how you’ve affected the ones you love has a profound affect. You can learn that people are still there for you. The meeting was facilitated very, very well. It was kept on focus but also let us talk out anything we needed to. The written re-entry plan will hold people accountable for their agreements and gives something to look back on. I thought it was awesome and I’m glad I did it. My heart feels full of love and it’s motivating.”

 

From the mother of the Client: “I’m appreciative of the opportunity to gather my family. It gave each person a voice and a way to talk in a calm way about difficult things. It’s always good to feel like you’ve been seen, heard and appreciated. My daughter seems centered and aware. I believe that she is making good choices, is dedicated to doing well and reclaiming her place in the family. The facilitator was calm, positive and caring. There was a good structure and reframing but not pushy or demanding. We kept on track and accomplished our goals. Regarding the written plan: It’s helpful to have something to refer back to when time goes by or if things get off track. The written word can be powerful for envisioning change. The process is a chance for healing, getting things off your chest, limit setting and planning. It has a structure that is based on positive energy so it’s safe and productive. It set us up to work together.”

 

From the step-father of the Client: “This was very positive. It gave me a chance to express myself in a safe environment, to face the person and tell them how they affected me and my relationships. It takes a village to raise a child, but families can help the ones that have fallen. Hopefully this will encourage the person to have a positive outlook on the future. It was facilitated very well. Things kept flowing and we didn’t dwell on the negatives. It’s nice to know there are programs out there. Keep it up.”

 

From the brother-in law of the Client: “I feel hopeful and relieved. The meeting was productive and facilitated well. This process helped deal with the issues and expectations of the family. The written reentry plan will be a reflection and reminder of the right direction we should all be headed in. I haven’t seen my sister-in-law in some time and would not have given her the chance/opportunity that I will now if it weren’t for this process. Reconciliation took place today.”

 

From the sister of the Client: “This meeting was very important. I really can’t say how much it meant to me to be able to do this, particularly for my own personal situation. You may NEVER have this kind of opportunity - to sit and talk safely about everything you need to - again. It was a calm, honest environment where we all got to share and hear each other. The facilitator let us talk it out. Some people had more to say and she let us go on and took very good notes. She prompted questions comfortably. The written reentry plan is a motivational tool, a symbol of a loving time shared to create a better future for us. It was a lot like a reunion of family members who had made their lives so separated from past drama and issues. The people who were invited showed up, and changed our outlook from wanting nothing to do with her to feeling excited and ready to support her in any way possible. It’s a very positive experience, life changing really.”

*Mediation for Couples and Families Reuniting After Incarceration*

From Program Participants

“The way we communicate will be healthier and the way we understand each other will be better.”

“I feel more peace because I was finally able to express my true feelings about hurtful topics.”

“These are real steps to conflict resolution. The program gives you tools to use at home.”

“I learned how to use reflective listening, and I heard a lot of what my wife had to say about her pain, and that helped me. I have also been heard without an outburst like in the past.”

*Parent Teen Mediation Testimonials*

From Parents

“I learned more about my son in the last three hours than in the last three years.”

“I have some new ways of dealing with things that happen and info on how to react. This is a great way to get your feelings out. The facilitators control the situation so the angry arguments don’t get out of hand. They also have ways of making you feel good about the ideas and help that you may need.”

“We can use the tools we practiced today to heal the damage our relationship has endured. I think we will do our best to hear and understand each other’s needs. I feel hopeful and supported because I believe we all want the best for each other.”

“Vicki put me at ease immediately. I felt she had everyone’s best interest as her goal. I never felt as though she was in anyone’s corner, but instead surrounding and supporting each one of us.”

“This program offers supportive, knowledgeable and skillful tools at your disposal.”

“We have all learned about how our poor communication effects each other, too often in a negative way. I feel inspired that we can actually have positive communication and healthy relationships.”
“It was a really positive meeting and helped establish a base for future communication.”

“It was good because we began to feel more like a family.”

“Now I am more calm. I know what to do. Before, I didn’t know what to do. I have more security and peace in myself. You gave us a lot of confidence.”

“There will be more listening to the other side, with respect, credibility and without derision. The mediation was realistic, functional and foundational.”

“We actually got to talk about events for an extended period without doing more damage. We have a much better baseline than before.”

“We covered a lot of core issues and came up with a plan of action that will help us strengthen our relationship. My fears, anxiety and concerns have been addressed and relieved. This is a good, safe place to address issues that are affecting your relationship with a resulting plan of action. I feel great.”

 

From Teens

“We dealt with a lot of our problems in this mediation and I really feel like this helped a lot.”

“I feel my Mom and I are on the same page now.”

“I think it was a good way to talk without getting into an argument and actually understanding one another.”

“This meeting helped me get out what I’ve been trying to say for a long time. I feel like new changes are going to help me figure out how to say what I need to.”

“I communicated with my parents a lot better at this meeting and I hope to carry some of these techniques back home with me.”

“Our relationships will hopefully be better now. I have a good look on what I need to do to fix the bad things and it really doesn’t seem harder than I thought.”

“After the mediation, I feel calmer, better, more relaxed, probably because I was worried and didn’t really want to come, but now I’m glad I did.”

“Vicki was very calm, a great explainer, and everything she said made sense.”

“This is a good program. If you just try it I’m sure you will find better ways to communicate with your parents.”

 “I think that there will be less fighting and more talking.”

“If there is a problem with communication and you can’t seem to find a result to work things out, this mediation is the next step to save a relationship.”

“This is a great way to connect. Our relationship will be better now because we have learned better ways to discuss the ways we feel about the situation we are in. I feel better now because things will improve and I will be less stressed.”

*Family Transition Meeting Program Participants*

From a juvenile: “I love my family and will work hard at the Ranch Camp to change and come home soon.”

From a parent: “This meeting let us tell our son how much we love him, believe in him and will miss him. Now he knows what to do while he’s away. We feel hopeful for him to do well there and to come back home.”

*Victim Offender Dialogue Program*

From Juvenile Offenders

“I learned that I have to use my head and think before I act. I learned a good lesson and will become a role model. I have the opportunity to give back to the community.”

 “Before this incident, I was really obnoxious and really didn’t care about things, but now it’s put things in perspective.  It made me a better person to me and my family. I think this program is awesome and it was a great experience.”

“It felt good to sit down and talk with someone about everything that happened.  My attitude has now changed towards people who try to start things with me. This program lets you really sit down and solve things.”

“It was a good idea to have this meeting because it has helped me to realize that what I have done has affected others also.  I recommend this program because you can learn from your mistakes. I really appreciate you taking your time to help me out.”

“I feel that I have violated somebody, and that I befriended them at the dialogue.”

“The meeting was helpful, it changed the way we see each other, and it helped us settle our differences. We resolved it by talking, not by doing something bad to each other. Now that we met and talked, I realize that we’re not different from each other. We have a lot in common.”

“This program taught me to be a better person because I’m better than stealing.”

“This meeting was a great experience for me. It has taught me how to face my problems and solve them in a peaceful manner. The best part was being forgiven by [the victim] for my past actions and for the impact it had on him.”

 “This opportunity was a gift. Nothing can compare to reconciliation between both parties and closure.”

“I feel that I messed up and I have a lot of work to do. I’m never making a mistake like that again. I will not commit a crime again.”

 

From Parents of Juvenile Offenders

“My son has had the opportunity to understand his actions and their consequences on a deeper level. He has been able to share his own feelings and ask for forgiveness.”

“The closure achieved feels satisfying on both pragmatic and emotional levels.”

“It was a positive step in resolving damaged relationships & clarifying misconceptions. It’s begun a healing with our neighbor & given me hope for more healing and further resolve as time goes on.”

 “It’s been good to get to know the victims. They are terrific people with a great attitude towards the community. I would hope that this program would be available to as many kids as possible. I think it can really help them. I think it’s helped my son really understand that his actions do affect others.”

 “I feel better and more positive. I feel we can start to heal as a family.”

“This program fosters healthy communication and growth in human beings. This kind of dialogue program is needed to foster peace and understanding in our world. Thank you, Vicki, for your calm and caring demeanor. You are doing very important work!”

“The kids can own their actions and repair huge mistakes. Lessons are learned and relationships are beginning to heal.”

 “I think the program has had a very POSITIVE influence and affect on what could have been a very negative experience – and I think it’s both an emotional “win” as well as a long term financial “win” because of the positive impact on the community.”

 

From Victims of Crime

“Now I can live my life without thinking about what happened. It makes me feel more free. Other people should do this program because it can help them the way it helped me.”

“It’s a great alternative for those who show remorse and are willing to admit a mistake. Seeing the willingness of others to better themselves and use this experience to grow is a great encouragement to me. I recommend this program for other victims because it gives the opportunity to show support for the offender & the ability to see the consequences. Great job showing compassion & explaining the process!”

“It was a good meeting and I understand now why he did it. I feel safer. We’re cool now with each other. I recommend this program because it fixes people’s problems.”

 “I recommend this program because it’s face to face. I was able to say what I was thinking and feeling and get it off my chest.  This was a productive meeting, I will get the money from the offender to replace what was broke or stolen, and I feel I can move past this now.”

 “I feel relieved that it is over and glad that I took the time to do the dialogue. I am relieved that the offender said that I was not targeted because of my position at his school. I was pleased by the offender’s sincerity and remorse. The dialogue was perfect for our situation. I would definitely recommend this to anyone. It is important to have a chance to face someone who has done something to you or your property. It allows closure and hopefully a chance to feel that one can heal from whatever hurt happened.”

“This really helps create a venue for the offender and victim to talk without feeling threatened. I feel safer and more relaxed. I feel like it helped a lot and I feel better about coming to school every day.”

“I feel much better than I initially did before the meeting. Having grown up in a very disciplined environment, I initially thought he was “getting off easy.” But, I now see that this is an opportunity for the offender to grow and learn from the experience.”

“I strongly believe the meeting we just had will carry out in our future relationship and I feel very relieved we worked out our issues. This program gives each person a chance to talk and be heard. It really does save relationships.”

“This program is an excellent, non-confrontational way to tackle a difficult problem head on. It addresses important issues but leaves out the uncomfortable feeling that usually comes along with talking about them. The way this program is conducted provides an invaluable experience.”

 

From Parents of Victims of Crime:

“This was very positive. I feel that my son will be safer now.”

“I never imagined that my son would be the victim of a crime and that it would be taken care of in this way. I never knew the need for the program until I experienced it.  Now I can really see the need. When we get money again, we’ll be donating some of it to your program.”

“Our questions have been answered and it feels good to have clear, open communication. It feels good to have closure.”

“The dialogue helped move things to a new place. They can see each other differently and better understand each other. I feel my daughter will be safer now. Now, I feel much better and not angry. It helped them both. And there are positive actions to take.”

“VODP made a huge difference in our lives. After the assault, my son was very apprehensive to go anywhere, afraid that he would see [the offender].  We were living with a lot of stress because we were afraid to go to town. I was even worried about my son going out. Then, instantly, right after the dialogue, everything changed. He immediately felt comfortable to go out again. Now he goes everywhere and he feels comfortable.  The release in his tension is very noticeable. There’s no other way that this could have happened without this program.  VODP was the only program that offered us any chance to talk with [the offender] and it was our only real hope to resolve it. I can’t overstate how pleased I am with this program. You were so helpful and responsive. You are the key. We’d still be dealing with this every day if it wasn’t for you. Since the day of the dialogue, it literally is the biggest change that I could have imagined happening in our life.”

“I’m really happy that this was resolved. I feel great.”