Restorative Justice

Inspired by Christ, the Trinity Restorative Justice Committee was formed to support Trinity's mission to "do justice" by focusing on the needs of at-risk youth and adults in the city of New Orleans, supporting them and their families to avoid their entry or re-entry into the Louisiana criminal legal system.

The aim of “restorative” justice is to go beyond penalties and facilitate community healing in the wake of criminal offenses. It is justice which promotes ways in which the dignity and worth of offenders can be protected, nurtured, and re-established, better enabling them to again become valuable, contributing members of society.

Below you will find a list of local organizations that have identified volunteer opportunities for Trinity members to engage in this important work.

Center for Restorative Approaches

The Center for Restorative Approaches was founded in 2008 to offer restorative approaches education and facilitation to the New Orleans area. CRA offers trainings with schools, workplaces, organizations, and other communities. We help people to learn and use restorative approaches to build community, foster healthy communication, and to prevent and resolve conflict or wrong-doing. We have facilitated nearly 1,400 restorative dialogue interventions with more than 90% of them reaching agreement.

The Trinity Restorative Justice Committee is supporting CRA's Restorative Justice Diversion (RJD) program in partnership with the District Attorney’s Office of Juvenile Division.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Agreement Manager (requires 16 hours of training by CRA) who supports the responsible party as they work through the agreement that comes out of the Restorative Justice Circle.

Training takes place on weekends. Volunteers are required to have a background check. To apply or for more information contact Kai Werder at or Trinity Restorative Justice Committee Member Merry Toups at . Learn more at

Communities in Schools

Communities in Schools (CIS) is a national non profit which works with students age 3-22 to empower them to complete school on time and give needed resources to both students and their families. CIS for the Gulf Coast works hand in hand with schools, communities, and families to surround students with a caring network of support to help them stay in school and achieve in life. CIS is currently working with 20 public schools in New Orleans as well as schools in New Iberia, Lafayette and East Baton Rouge. Services to the students take place inside the schools in the form of crisis support, mental health support, uniforms, food bags for weekends and case management for special needs/special education students. Many of the schools have had restorative circles to address behavior problems to help students avoid entering the juvenile justice system.

In 2021, CIS served 11,000 students in LA including 7,000 in the NO area. 95% of students live below the poverty line or in extreme poverty and most are children of color. 150 students were homeless and 75 were LGBTQ+ (although the true number is probably much higher). 82% of the annual budget goes directly to programs and services for public school students.

Volunteer opportunities include: Mentors, tutors, guest speakers, school grounds beautification, office workers, and "done in a day" projects. 

Volunteers are required to be at least 18 years old, have a background check, and complete 4 hours of training. To apply or for more information contact Donneisha Wilson, LPC, NCC at  or Trinity Restorative Justice Committee Member Margaret Wall at . Learn more at or call (504) 486-8002.

Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO)

Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is a local, nonprofit organization dedicated to securing the release of those who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  1. Qualified attorney volunteers willing to participate in the handling of cases
  2. Individuals willing to volunteer on a regular basis ( once or twice a week for extended time periods ) as IPNO transitions to a new case management system. This work would require a level of competency with computers and copiers/scanners.

Those interested in volunteering should contact both Cat Forrester at IPNO ( ) and Trinity Restorative Justice Committee Co-Chair Jerry Meunier at  or (504) 669-7096. Learn more at


TrainingGrounds is an outstanding organization that supports and coaches parents of children from birth to age five in learning positive parenting practices. Located along the Lafitte Greenway at Galvez St., one of its important programs is the “We Play Center” where a staff member aids parents and their children as they interact and play. TrainingGrounds also offers “Parent Learning Workshops” and other specific programs for expectant parents, parents of newborns, and for parents and children on the autism spectrum. It is committed to promoting better family relations and the cognitive and emotional development of children.

TrainingGrounds currently has about 300 families and has served 3000 adults and children from its beginning in 2016 to 2021. Funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Baptist Community Ministries, and others enables its services to be free. TrainingGrounds is an “upstream,” preventative program in promoting better family relations and better outcomes for children. It is “restorative justice” in counteracting the disadvantages so many New Orleanian families and children have had—and continue to have—by aiding parents and children from the very beginning.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  1. Welcoming new visitors to the “We Play Center"
  2. Help with outreach activities including at Resource Fairs, and in other ways that could be tailored to the interests and skills of volunteers.

Contact: Trinity Restorative Justice Committee Member Phyllis Raabe at . Visit to learn more. Those interested in volunteering should contact Melanie Richardson at or 504-408-0506. 

Download the volunteer application.

Ubuntu Village

Ubuntu Village and its leader Ernest Johnson, focus on mentoring and family advocacy in Juvenile Court in Orleans Parish. They help families advocate for their rights and for those of their children by educating them and helping them navigate the juvenile justice system, guided by the belief that those directly affected by incarceration should be at the forefront of efforts to reform the system.

Volunteer Opportunities include:

  1. Sign up to do rapid response emails. This involves receiving emails and after reviewing them forwarding them to the appropriate political entities.
  2. Sign up to attend community meetings concerning issues related to juvenile justice and poverty.
  3. Participate by attending functions to be better informed and educated about youth, their parents and their quality of life when impacted by the juvenile justice system.
  4. Join and participate in the Youth Justice Advocates coalition.

Contact: Trinity Restorative Justice Committee Member Edith Morris at . Learn more at

Yeah! Yoga

Yeah! Yoga is dedicated to sharing the tools of yoga with youth involved with or affected by juvenile incarceration, offering yoga and mindfulness classes to youth inside secure facilities, (detention centers, and jails) as well as out in the community. Yeah! Yoga is also developing a teacher training program for youth to become yoga teachers. 

The Yeah! Yoga curriculum integrates yoga practices with evidence-based interventions to support youth in building resilience and in the management of traumatic experiences to empower youth with tools to regulate their emotions and connect to their personal values and strengths.

Volunteer Opportunities include:

  1. Gift Donations (weighted eye masks) for students who complete four weeks of classes.
  2. Financial donations to defray the costs of brochures about mindfulness practices.

Contact: Trinity Restorative Justice Committee Member Edith Morris at . Learn more at

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