Welcome to Core Team Corner!

Dear Westsiders, 

Do you keep hearing about the Core team and wonder what it is? And why it is? Please read on for a quick view of the origins and future of Westside’s Core team. Please keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive review, and we encourage anyone with questions to reach out and have a conversation with us! You can reach us at coreteam@wsuu.org.

Our work with Pam Orbach of the Center for Restorative Solutions began last winter. Members interested in right relations self selected into a group at our Beloved Community Café in the fall of 2022. From that group emerged a Core team, charged with meeting with Pam weekly to learn restorative justice skills (non-violent communication, circle work, supported conversations and more). The Core team also agreed to build skills to coordinate community engagement with the work at Westside. The initial Core team members were Henry Bennett, Tracy Burrows, Kristina Darnell, Shannon Day, Don Wahl and Jade Wilde. Others interested in right relations work formed the Wellbeing Team who met with Pam every other week to learn and practice important skills for this restorative work. We took a short break over the summer of 2023, and membership of the Core team changed to include Riley Anderson, Amy Hance-Brancati, Aimee Schiefelbein, and Paula vanHaagen. Kristina Darnell shifted her work to the Wellbeing Team.

The graphic above was created for and shared at a community circle in January where we started to talk about what a covenant for our community might look like. Flowing into and in the river itself are the different activities the Core team has been a part of planning and facilitating, many with the assistance of Pam Orbach. From community circles on topics from trust and mourning, to allyship and fun and connection, a lot of ground has been covered! In addition, healing circles have been held for groups within Westside that have experienced harm in different ways during the last several years. 

While the Core and the Wellbeing team are going strong, we are also at a time of discernment about how to continue to build skills and share and grow them within our Westside community. We believe that connection and support is deepening with each event that takes place, and this is strengthening our community. 

As you’ll be hearing in some upcoming communications, we are moving forward with collecting input and gathering people to share ideas about creating a community covenant. We want to hear from as many voices as possible. What is important to you and what agreements do we want to make with each other in our community? Stay tuned for opportunities to share your ideas.  Please add your voice!

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