Presenter Rick Kelly has dedicated his 40 plus years as a child and youth worker to
themes that include thinking outside of the box, innovation, creativity, prevention,
health promotion, advocacy and system change.
As a child and youth worker (now CYCP) he has had a variety of roles which run the
gamut from street worker, psychiatric crisis worker, residential worker, play therapist,
parent/family coach/counsellor (http://www.stepinstitute.ca/), mental health consultant
and program supervisor and manager.
For 17 years he taught full time at George Brown College. It was there that he caught the restorative bug. After being introduced to the model through an indigenous lens, he readily took hold of the relevance and opportunities for the program, students, and College and field partners. He continues to honour and respect the gift of this knowledge from our First Nations brothers and sisters.
He conducted research, developed a separate advanced skills training program, supported a host of student-led projects and conference presentations, partnered with sister programs to set up the Social Innovation Hub as an alternative field placement and developed an international placement in Jamaica. During this time, he was certified as restorative conferences facilitator for youth justice and as a trainer with the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP/ https://www.iirp.edu/). He worked with many school boards in Ontario who were early adopters of the model and were engaged in system-wide implementation.
He deepened his understanding of Restorative Practices by completing his Master’s in Restorative Practices at IIRP, the only graduate school dedicated to Restorative Practices, and through studies at the Canadian School of Peacebuilding/CMU in Peacemaking Circles (http://csop.cmu.ca/).
He set up his own training organization 4 years ago (Just Us: A Centre for Restorative Practices). Throughout he has adapted the model to address the realities of youth work while challenging conventional thinking in the model. He incorporates our growing understanding and need to utilize a neuro-developmental perspective as well as to be trauma-informed. He encourages creative practices such as art, spoken word and music to facilitate the development of youth voice. He uses restorative practices as a foundation for knowledge mobilization, program transformation and systems change.
He is also working with York University’s, Dept. of Social Work, YouthRex (http://youthrex.com/) knowledge mobilization initiative as a lecturer and workshop presenter.