Alumni Spotlight - Elise Krumholz
Elise Krumholz, a 2016 graduate of the Conflict Resolution MA program, was the founding coordinator of the Teen Court Coordinator for the Teen Court program in Lone Tree, Colorado. Teen Court is a peer-driven diversion program for eligible youth respondents that receive an offense in the city. It employs restorative justice alternatives to the traditional criminal court system. Youth volunteers conduct a Peer Panel process based on the restorative principles of addressing harms committed and restoring the broken relationship with the community. Throughout the process, participants in Teen Court form their own community, and through these bonds, hold one another accountable for restitution of the "harm" inflicted.
Elise credits her education in the Conflict Resolution program for providing solid theoretical knowledge that is applicable to her daily work. A core concept that she sees applied repeatedly is procedural justice, or fairness in the justice process itself. Procedural justice is important when designing a program and its implementation. For a new program to be successful, all participants must feel like the process is fair and balanced. Another skill that Elise finds herself using frequently is mediation, which is often utilized with families that participate in the program.
One of Elise's greatest accomplishments is seeing the program's success through its first full year. The success is marked by individual and programmatic growth. The amazing volunteers and dedicated youth respondents are a sign of the program's potential. Within that success, Elise is constantly challenging herself to develop meaningful opportunities to restoratively repair harm. Through continuous community outreach, Elise challenges herself to look for more creative and engaging ways for the youth to reflect, learn, and demonstrate ownership of their actions. Lone Tree's Teen Court has been able to partner with other programs and service providers to offer different venues for youth to take accountability for their actions and explore ways to repair harm. The youth volunteers also challenge themselves by creatively brainstorming new restorative options based on the individuals impacted and the respondent's strengths.
Elise plans to continue developing and engaging in different methods of conflict resolution, such as, facilitation, restorative justice, and dialogue. A particular area of interest of hers is to expand into public policy facilitation. Elise advises Conflict Resolution students to delve deep into theory or a particular practice of interest. The program is a great jump off to learn about aspects of the discipline that interest you. Opportunities are out there to further develop knowledge and challenge yourself to grow.
~Heather Kulik, MA 18