Elizabeth Chapman discovered a connection with people through the creation of pleasing spaces in which to live and work. The themes of reverence for our interconnected lives runs through the different areas of Elizabeth’s work. The practice of architecture allows an introvert to be profoundly involved with every aspect of other's lives. One deeply meaningful method of connecting with people is through the creation of supportive and pleasing spaces in which to live and work. Reflecting on how best to support human interactions with the built environment was the ground from which her interest in restorative justice originated. Being a parent was the setting in which an understanding for deep listening, and the healing it offers, took hold. Elizabeth started the Portland Center for Restorative Justice at First Parish Unitarian Church. Elizabeth holds a Master of Architecture from MIT, and a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University. She teaches courses in sensory neuroscience at the University of Southern Maine’s senior college.
Rachel Casey is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern Maine, where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate social work students. Before earning her doctorate in social work at Virginia Commonwealth University, Rachel worked as a mental health clinician in a women's prison. Frustrated by the many injustices she witnessed in the field of corrections, Rachel developed an interest in restorative justice as a possible alternative to traditional criminal justice approaches. Her experiences with restorative justice have shown her that transformative healing can take place when people engage deeply and honestly with one another. Rachel also conducts research about the experiences of incarcerated people. Her past projects have illuminated incarcerated women's experiences with mental health services and the impact of healing circle participation for incarcerated indigenous people. When she's not working, Rachel enjoys spending time at home with her spouse and two cats, reading or playing board games. As a recent transplant to Maine, Rachel has relished exploring the Portland food scene as well as the natural beauty of Maine's beaches and forests.
Jim Sparks is a psychologist in Portland who was originally drawn to restorative justice for its compelling vision of repair, redemption, and the return of community. He was first exposed to restorative justice practices while offering training at a Massachusetts prison, and felt moved and renewed by the sense of hope, community and accountability. A quality that keeps him engaged in the work is witnessing the way people can be powerfully changed through this process, with identities reshaped and significant transformations of painful experience. As a psychologist, Jim has published articles about navigating power in supervision, and evoking the “insider knowledge” of those who have lived through problems. He has also written about the impact on clients’ identities of participating in multi-layered conversations with therapeutic “reflecting teams.” A former newspaper reporter, Jim has for many years been captivated by language and the ways lives are shaped by personal, familial and cultural stories. Jim is married with two children. When he is not working, he enjoys trying to stay fit by participating in triathlons, and tries to never take for granted the perpetually changing beauty of the Maine coastline.
Charles “Kim” Coit, JD, practiced law in Boston before moving to Maine in 1977. (He is pleased to report that “he never looked back”). In Maine, his professional work has been in real estate, as compliance officer for several of Maine’s largest real estate brokerage companies, founding a proprietary real estate school and writing and publishing three textbooks. For many years he mentored young people at Long Creek Youth Development Center, and he served as President of the Friends of Long Creek. His driving interest is social justice, a commitment that sustains his current membership on three boards: The Portland Center for Restorative Justice, The Covenant Community Land Trust in Hancock County (providing low income housing), and Community Compass on the Blue Hill Peninsula. The work in the Blue Hill area is focused on early childhood development and enhanced school performance of students, all with the end result of breaking the cycle of poverty.
Fred Van Liew is a lawyer, trainer, mediator, facilitator, and writer. He divides his time between Portland and Des Moines, Iowa, his hometown. When in Maine, he facilitates community conversations on racial bias, gender, economic inequality and other issues, and serves as the Restorative Justice Coordinator for the Cumberland County District Attorney Office. When in Iowa, Fred is active as a facilitator, trainer and lecturer through his business, Van Liew Mediation. Fred first learned of Restorative Justice as a prosecutor in 1991, and for nearly two decades initiated and fostered Restorative justice within the Polk County, Iowa Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems. Restorative justice has changed Fred’s life, both personally and professionally, and he feels that our world desperately needs its potential for healing and transformation. Since retiring from government service in 2010, Fred has pursued graduate studies in Conflict Transformation and applied restorative practices to family, school, workplace, church and community conflicts. Fred is married, the father of five and grandfather of four. He enjoys bicycling, hiking, camping, travel, and being reminded by his grandchildren of what it means to be a kid. He is the author of The Justice Diary, A Third Half Journal, and Walt’s Last Year.