On Tuesday, June 19, the Center completed a four-session training with staff at Straight Ahead Ministries, a faith-based organization that works with formerly incarcerated youth, some of whom are gang affiliated. This was our first staff training with an administrator, as well as street counselors participating.

The twelve-hour workshop, offered over four weeks, provided an introduction to skills in conflict transformation. Along with diagrams and theories about conflict, there were lots of role plays. (Straight Ahead folks are a dramatic bunch.) Each session began with a check-in, during which participants were invited to “bring their conflicts to the table.” Tensions in the workplace? Among the kids? These became the material for applying what we learned.

Michael Langa, who honed his peace-building skills mediating conflicts in Africa, was our lead trainer. He used stories and practical examples to convey complex information. One participant was so impressed with Michael’s insightful analyses, he said he wanted to keep Michael on “speed dial’ for help with his conflicts.

We loved working with Straight Ahead staff, a thoughtful group. Their dedication to youth in need was inspiring, and we look forward to future collaborations.