Guest Post from Catherine

In talking about Restorative Justice, I share the point of getting to know each other.  The more you know about someone the less likely you are to harm them.  This is also a basic premise of Restorative Justice.  Recently my coworker Catherine, shared the following story with me, I asked her to blog on it for me.  It shows a great example.  — Kris

I have a story that I think is a good example of why connecting to our communities is important. And proves the point….we don’t harm those we know.

I live in a small town 30 miles east of St. Paul in Western WI. There are several rent controlled apartment buildings in my neighborhood. When I first moved into the neighborhood (over 10 year ago), I noticed many of the children from the apartment buildings wandered around the neighborhood unsupervised in the summer time. Since I have an in ground heated pool in my back yard, and am a former life guard, I decided to open my pool to the neighborhood children one day per week during summer vacation. The response has been overwhelming. I have children of all ages show up on “open swimming” days. Many have no towels or swim suits and just jump into the warm water…clothes and all! They are so excited to swim in the pool. Two little elementary school aged girls were regulars this past summer and I was able to spend time getting to know them.

September came around and I closed the pool down. I decorated my house with scarecrows, corn, and pumpkins. One Saturday morning in early Sept my door bell rang. I opened the door to find my two little summer swimming friends. They were standing on my front porch with two new girls. The two new girls were unfamiliar to me. One of my little swimming friends said, “Mrs. Cranston these two girls stole your pumpkins. We made them come back and return the pumpkins and tell you they are sorry.”

Upon inquiry I found out the two new girls had just moved into the apartment building. The saw my pumpkins from across the street. The new girls came across the street stole my pumpkins and brought them back to the apartment building. My two little swimming friends found out the pumpkins were from my house and were appalled that their new friends would steal from me…their friend.

I know in my heart that my pumpkins would never have been returned if my two little swimming friends hadn’t stepped forward to make things right. They told their new friends, “Those are Mrs. Cranston’s pumpkins, you can’t steal from her.” I am convinced these little girls and other children who live in the apartment building are looking out for me…because we have a connection now.