Get to know a little about Justine Andreu Darling, one of the core team members of the National Center on Restorative Justice!
What is your work at the National Center on Restorative Justice?
I am a devoted team member who makes connections. I am responsible for holding the National Restorative Coaching Program, which includes working with a phenomenal group of experienced restorative leaders and pairing them with committed restorative practitioners in the field who are looking for further support and connection. I also support people interested in deepening their restorative knowledge and skill set by coordinating scholarship opportunities for the Certificate in Restorative Justice Facilitation and Leadership at the University of San Diego.
How would you describe restorative justice in five words or less?
Relationships, humility, compassion, accountability, healing
What is your favorite Circle or icebreaker question?
Share a part of your name and where it comes from.
When you’re not at work, what is something you like to do that brings you joy and fills your cup?
We are all creative beings. It has been a journey to see myself as a creative being. I have an art corner in my home where I go regularly to process the world through paint, sparkles, water color, and items from the earth like rocks and leaves. It has become my home base.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received and how have you used it?
To be like a tree: grounded with deep roots that are well nourished, a strong core to weather the storms of life, and long leafy branches that can provide shade and nourishment for others. I envision myself as a tree every day and take steps to keep my roots deep and nourished with a committed mindfulness practices and staying close with family and friends so my core and branches are ready to go for the world.
If you could instantly learn a new skill, what skill would you choose and how would you use it?
Crystal bowl singing. I have one crystal bowl and have always wanted to learn how to play multiple tones to provide further healing spaces for myself and others. I would use crystal bowl singing in my restorative circles and processes. Sometimes we need more than words to express ourselves and reach deeper layers of healing.
What is your favorite type of cuisine, and what is your go-to dish at a restaurant that serves it?
I am a foodie so I would say everything but if I had to choose it would probably be Indian cuisine. I love coconut based curries with okra and zucchini.
Dr. Justine Andreu Darling began her restorative journey as a GED teacher and legal advocate for youth experiencing homelessness at the Covenant House in Newark, New Jersey. She is also a child of an incarcerated parent and has a deep passion for transforming the criminal justice system and addressing the school to prison pipeline. These passions led her to pursue an MA in Peace and Justice Studies at the University of San Diego and a PhD in Education at San Diego State University. Justine is a restorative trainer, facilitator, consultant, and researcher focused on addressing inequities in schools and communities through the use of restorative justice practices. In 2011, she co-founded the restorative justice program at the University of San Diego, which supports residential life, student affairs and the conduct office in using both proactive and responsive restorative processes to build a stronger community and address harms in a relational way. Most recently she served as the Director of Restorative Justice Practices at the National Conflict Resolution Center overseeing restorative implementation across San Diego in K-12 schools, universities, communities, organizations, and the criminal justice system. She has facilitated over 100 restorative conferences in higher education and K-12 schools and tries to spend as much of her waking hours in circle as possible. Justine has taught both in person and online RJ courses since 2011, through San Diego State’s Masters in Counseling, Vermont Law School’s Masters in Restorative Justice, National University’s Conflict Resolution Program, and USD’s School of Peace and Justice Studies. Currently, Justine serves as the Associate Director for the Center for Restorative Justice at USD where she also coordinates the professional Certificate in Restorative Justice Facilitation and Leadership and the National Restorative Coaching Program in partnership with the National Center on Restorative Justice (NCORJ). She has also had the honor of learning first hand from global restorative practices including the Youth Justice Agency in Northern Ireland, the Gacaca Courts of Rwanda, and the Maori Family Group Conferencing process in New Zealand.