The Center for Restorative Youth Justice’s programs work one-on-one with youth and victims of juvenile crime in ways that promote true accountability, inspire connection, and increase community safety.
CRYJ believes in justice and crime prevention which focuses on the people and communities harmed by crime as opposed to focusing on what laws were broken or what punishments have been imposed. Conversations with victims and community volunteers allow youth to focus on what steps are needed to repair that harm.
The large majority of youth who come through CRYJ’s restorative programming are referred through juvenile probation. Youth participants include Flathead County youth from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of offenses. CRYJ works primarily with first time offenders – providing important accountability and reflection opportunities that result in real change and true accountability. For many, participation in CRYJ’s programming results in a dismissal of charges – providing first time offenders with an important opportunity to repair the harm caused as a result of their actions and to move forward in a positive way.
In 2011 Juvenile Probation in Flathead County documented that 35% of youth charged with an offense committed another crime within one year. The state average is even higher – suggesting that 46% of youth charged in the state commit another offense. In contrast, CRYJ data from this same time period shows that youth who successfully complete CRYJ’s alternative accountability programming are significantly less likely to reoffend – in fact CRYJ’s documented recidivism rate for 2011 was 13%, less than half that of the state’s average.
The CRYJ Team
CRYJ has 6 staff, an amazing Board of Directors, and an incredible base of more than 30 community volunteers. The work that we do would not be possible without the support and collaboration of the Eleventh Judicial District Youth Court Services, Montana Board of Crime Control, and the many individuals and partnering agencies within Flathead County.
Shareen Springer– Director
Shareen is the Executive Director of the Center for Restorative Youth Justice. She brings a broad background in youth development, facilitation, and organizational development and works to support CRYJ’s 6 incredible staff and more than 260 youth participants. CRYJ’s innovative programs create meaningful accountability options for juvenile offenders that focus on meeting the needs of victims, competency development, service learning, self-reflection and an expanded connection to community. Shareen holds a Masters Degree in Community Development and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon. She has worked with nonprofits and agencies across the globe to create meaningful opportunities for community engagement and social justice and brings a strong passion and commitment to youth. She loves growing food, feeding friends, knitting hats, climbing mountains and spending time on front porches with her family.
Diane Dwyer – VIP Coordinator
Diane has lived in the Flathead Valley since 1978. Her Mental Health/Human Services degree has opened many doors for her. She has worked locally for NW MT Human Resources, Big Brothers and Sisters, Nurturing Center, Flathead Care, Violence Free Crisis Line, and in various settings within the public school system. (Evergreen, Marion, District 5 and the Flathead Cooperative) She has worked as a volunteer on several board committees, and is currently a volunteer for Special Friends Advocacy and Violence Free Crisis Line’s Children’s Program.
Katie Boyd – CAB/VOC Program Coordinator
Katie Boyd grew up in a picturesque mountain town in the Cascades and her love for the mountains has been with her since day one. Katie received her undergraduate degree in Society & Justice, and Sociology from the University of Washington before moving to the Flathead Valley. She has been enjoying all the Flathead has to offer, both in the outdoors and community life for the last 11 years. Katie received her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Montana in May 2011. This avenue of study has led her to CRYJ, first as a practicum student and presently as a Program Coordinator of three accountability programs and Volunteer Coordinator at CRYJ. Katie loves working with youth and volunteers through the CAB, VOC, and TIC programs. Additionally, the Restorative Justice philosophy enhances Katie’s passion of promoting social justice.
Catherine Gunderson – DAAP Program Coordinator
Catherine Gunderson has been with CRYJ since the fall of 2008. In addition to volunteer and community outreach she is the Program Coordinator for DAAP. Catherine has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Willamette University in Oregon and has always had a special interest in working with non-profits. Catherine lives with her husband and three children in Whitefish. When not at CRYJ, she loves to ski, raft, camp, travel and read.
Anders Olson – Youth Connections Program Coordinator
Originally from the “Mile High” state Colorado, Anders is the newest member of the CRYJ team joining the office in September of 2011. Anders has spent much of his growing professional career working in the non-profit sector with youth from all different backgrounds and experiences. As the Youth Mentor Anders strives to create projects that incorporate the interests and skills of the youth while serving the needs of the community. It is his belief that by creating interest based service projects youth will feel more deeply connected to the programs they participate in creating meaningful experiences. While studying History at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO Anders enjoyed hiking in the mountains, juggling in parades, and laughing with friends.
Holly Singbeil, the newest member of the CRYJ team started in August of 2012. Holly was born and raised in Montana and moved to the Flathead Valley from Missoula 3 years ago. She has many years under her belt working as an office or corporate manager, has a degree in Business and is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. In Holly’s spare time she enjoys spending it with her two children, hiking, running, the gym and watching live music.
CRYJ Board of Directors
CRYJ would like to express our deep appreciation for our dedicated board members.
- Peter Nelson (Chair) – Pediatric Dentistry, Board member since 2002
- Pam Carbonari (Vice-Chair) – Kalispell Business Improvement District Coordinator, Mayor of Kalispell (2002-2009), Founding Peer Court Member (1998) Board member since 1998
- Jennifer Wheeler (Treasurer) – Glacier Bank, Vice President Commercial Loan Lender, CAB Volunteer, Board member since October, 2010
- Pam Haglund (Secretary) - Job Services Workforce Consultant, Board member since 2010
- Dave Bailon – DNS Technologies, VOC and CAB Volunteer, Board member since 2009
- Thom Dunnhoff – Youth Court Services Juvenile Probation Officer, Board member since 2008
- Kari Gabriel – Flathead CARE Director, Board member since 2009
- Margaret LeKander – Wheaton’s Bicycles, Skates, and Hobbies, TIC Volunteer, Board member since 2010
- Doug Scotti – Morrison & Frampton Attorneys at Law, Board member since 2008
- Melissa Hartman – Counselor, Board member since 2012
So much of our work relies on the generous service and support of our community volunteers.
Community volunteers are our most powerful assets in addressing harmful behavior in effective, meaningful ways. Both youth and adult volunteers provide invaluable support to our programs and organization.
CRYJ volunteers serve as program facilitators, mentors, office support and community service partners. Interested in volunteering, click here to learn more!
CRYJ youth participants dedicate more than 2,500 hours of community service every year to the Flathead community. We work with nonprofits organizations, agencies and individuals around the Flathead valley.
Click here to learn more about our community partners and supporting agencies.
Interested in partnering on community service projects? Contact us to learn more!