Professional Development

Training and Professional Development

SSLC encourages a holistic model for all service providers that highlights positive youth development, trauma-informed care, and restorative practices. To support innovative, inclusive best-practices when working with marginalized youth, SSLC offers fee-for-service trainings and professional development. Trainings last anywhere from 4 hours to 3 full days and are tailored to the needs of an individual, group, or organization. While SSLC offers several distinct trainings, each training is grounded in trauma-informed care and positive youth-development. We are also able to offer trainings that blend pieces from each workshop. If you are interested in learning more about our professional development offerings, please reach out to or

restorative justice fellows

SSLC Offers Trainings on the following topics:

  • Peacekeeping Circles & Restorative Justice Practices
  • S.O.U.L. Model: Best-Practices for Gender-Specific Programming
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Positive youth development

Circle Keeping & Restorative Justice Practices

Restorative justice is a theory that emphasizes repairing harm that is caused through criminal acts. It is best accomplished through cooperative and collaborative processes that involve all of the relevant stakeholders. These can be powerful and transformative practices that heal individuals, relationships, and communities. The workshop methodology for circle keeping and restorative justice practice trainings draws from popular education and participant-led approaches, including small group work, discussions, interactive activities, and multimedia presentations. SSLC offers three day circle trainings to prepare individuals to act as circle keepers, as well half day introduction to restorative practices trainings.

Expected Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand underlying philosophies and historical context grounding circles and restorative practices;
  • Explain different types of circles and ways they can be used;
  • Gain experience participating in community building, talking, and healing circles;
  • Understand and manage the flow and phases of circles;
  • Receive and practice traditional prompts for holding restorative circles
  • Create action plan to begin using circle practice in your organization;
  • Follow up consultation and implementation support.

Restorative Justice Practices: Gender Justice

Gender justice is defined by the Social Justice Fund as when “all people — especially women, girls, and gender-variant people — are able to identify and express their gender without fear, discrimination, or harm, and have the economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities in all areas of their lives.” This module centers gender justice in developing restorative practice with the following guiding principle: all genders, races, and ethnic identities deserve justice, therefore those at the highest risk of experiencing injustice — girls, femmes, and non-binary youth of color — deserve policies and practices that ensure they are safe and empowered.

Expected Learning Outcomes:

  • To familiarize the group with foundational restorative circle practices;
  • To familiarize the group with culturally sensitive and intersectional approaches to working with black and brown youth;
  • To familiarize the group with a gender justice framework for social justice education.

Positive Youth Development

Positive youth development is an intentional, socially-oriented approach that engages youth within the systems that they exist. In recognizing the strengths and ideas of young people, this strategy promotes positive outcomes for youth by creating opportunities for them to build constructive relationships in their communities, schools, peer groups, and families. Staff that work in youth advocacy can learn to encourage leadership at a young age as a preventative step against teen dating violence, substance abuse, and systems-involvement. These trainings are strongly grounded in well-researched frameworks, including trauma theory, strengths-based approaches, and developmental theory.

Jamy giving a presentation Expected Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify participants’ personal and professional goals and plan to achieve those goals;
  • Utilize strength-based and popular education-based group facilitation tools;
  • Identify best client engagement tools to use based on individual’s presenting issues and strengths;
  • Identify the link between individual difficult behavior and experiences with trauma;
  • Collaboratively create goal-oriented case plans with target individuals, families, and other stakeholders;
  • Feel more supported and skilled in overall counseling and case management practice with court-involved youth and families.

Mindfulness & Self-Compassion

a talking piece used in restorative circlesMindfulness is the practice of cultivating present-moment awareness from a nonjudgemental stance; self-compassion is the practice of tending to one’s feelings with care and warmth. Mindfulness and self-compassion have been shown to help individuals with emotional regulation, increased ability to focus, and decreased stress levels, as well as provide tools to respond to difficult emotions and conflict in ways that promote growth and healing. Mindfulness can be practiced as a more formal, sit-down meditation practice, or informally throughout one’s day. The concept and practice of mindfulness and self-compassion are powerful antidotes to burnout and anxiety, and can be accessed by people of all ages. Staff engaged in direct service can learn how to incorporate mindfulness and self-compassion into their daily routine for self-care, as well as how to use practices with clients of all ages in an individual and group setting.

Expected learning outcomes:

  • Understand basic principles of mindfulness and self-compassion;
  • Create personalized mindfulness practice;
  • Practice self-compassion in daily life;
  • Increase self-compassion and compassion for others;
  • Deepen connection among co-workers;
  • Integrate mindfulness practices with clients;
  • Understand empirically-supported benefits of mindfulness and self-compassion;
  • Motivate with kindness rather than criticism;
  • Handle difficult emotions with greater ease.

Core Trainers & Previous Collaborations

Tanisha Douglas

Executive Director/Senior Trainer

Caitlin Gibb

Director of Development & Strategic Partnerships/Senior Trainer

Jamy Drapeza

New York City Program Manager/Trainer