Heart of Hope

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Heart of Hope

A Guide for Using Peacemaking Circles to Develop Emotional Literacy, Promote Healing & Build Healthy Relationships

By: Kay Pranis, Carolyn Boyes-Watson, Ph.D.

Publication date: January 2010

Heart of Hope provides specific formats for conducting effective Circles around developing emotional literacy and building healthy relationships. The book is being used extensively in schools by teachers and administrators as well as in health care facilities and elder abuse programs.

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Title information

This resource guide is designed for practitioners who work with youth, young adults, and their families within social services, violence/pregnancy prevention, education, and positive youth development programs. It offers a flexible set of tools that can be applied to a range of settings and for a variety of purposes. We believe that any caring and responsible individual can learn to use these practices safely, creatively, and effectively: * the peacemaking circle; * the practice of mindfulness/meditation; and * exercises and concepts derived from Power Source, an emotional awareness/emotional literacy program for at-risk youth and young adults. The peacemaking circle is the core practice of the guide. In the Heart of Hope (HOH), the peacemaking circle provides the environment where participants develop emotional awareness and emotional literacy and learn to practice mindfulness. Users learn how to plan, create, and facilitate the peacemaking circle as a safe place for shared dialogue. The resource guide provides 50 step-by-step model circles. Each model circle offers activities for building and deepening relationships as well as for developing emotional awareness and emotional literacy. It also includes easy-to-use exercises in breathing, simple yoga, and meditation. As a foundational approach, the HOH has broad applications within adolescent services, child welfare, education and schools, and all kinds of prevention programs. The Heart of Hope approach described in this Guidebook is a wonderful resource for social workers striving to build relationships with adolescents. As a collection of tools for engagement, dialogue, and inquiry, the Heart of Hope Resource Guide is a direct practice approach to connecting with adolescents in ways that increase their emotional awareness, their understanding of healthy relationships, and empowers them to be leaders in their own lives. - John M. Vogel, MSW, LCSW Associate Director Massachusetts Child Welfare Institute Department of Children and Families

Pages: 352
Language: English
Publisher: Living Justice Press
Average: 5 (2 votes)

Kay Pranis

Kay Pranis is a national leader in restorative justice, specializing in peacemaking Circles. She served as the Restorative Justice Planner for the Minnesota Department of Corrections from 1994 to 2003. Before that, she worked six years as the director of research services at the Citizen’s Council on Crime and Justice. She has written and presented papers on peacemaking Circles and restorative justice in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Japan. Since 1998, Kay has conducted Circle trainings in a diverse range of communities—from schools to prisons to workplaces to churches, from rural farm towns in Minnesota to Chicago’s South Side.

Home Town: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Carolyn Boyes-Watson, Ph.D.

Carolyn Boyes-Watson is the founding director of Suffolk University's Center for Restorative Justice and an associate professor of sociology at Suffolk University. Professor Boyes-Watson has been on the faculty since 1993. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's and Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, Mark.

Home Town: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Education: Ph.D.

Praise for Heart of Hope

Nancy Riestenberg
Minnesota Department of Education and author of Circle in the Square
Heart of Hope is like instant Circle: everything one needs to start the conversation is in that book except for a talking piece. And I suppose, in a pinch, one could use the book as a talking piece too! Carolyn and Kay provide whole Circles with openings, closings, check-in questions, discussion questions, art-infused activities, and explanations. The chapters provide a sequence of topics that would lead any community of young adults (or adults) through a process of inner and outer discovery, both as an individual and as a member of the community. This book is a gift.

Brenda Morrison, Director
Centre for Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University and author of Restoring Safe School Communities
Heart of Hope is a foundational guide for developing, transforming, and nurturing healthy relationships in families, classrooms, and communities.  With the peacemaking circle process at its core, this resource provides a step-by-step guide to enhance and deepen emotional literacy, healing, and mindfulness. Through these practices, each of us deepens our relationship with our self and others. In doing so, we learn how to put our best self forward, particularly when life gets challenging. Heart of Hope will be a central guide for parents, teachers, and community leaders wanting to be the change they want to see in the world. They will be leading the way for the next generation, as heart and hope are the greatest gifts we can give our children.  

Mandy Halabi
Program Manager, YOUCAN Youth Services
As a Peacemaking Circle Keeper & Trainer, The Heart of Hope has been THE best resource imaginable. Not only does it guide you through the Peacemaking Circle Process in a very simple way, but it also provides so many variations of concrete, succinct, thoughtful, genuine, and intentional Circles that can be practiced in a wide variety of contexts and situations.

Tracy Roberts, MSW
Chief Executive Officer, Circle Center Consulting, LLC
People who come to my Circle facilitators training always ask me for the best book that will guide them as they start out leading Circles. Without hesitation, I say The Heart of Hope. I go on to tell them that even after facilitating hundreds of Circle, I still reference it. From the wonderful introduction and explanation of Circle to the perfectly crafted and themed Circle outlines to the suggested openings and closings, it's a “one stop” for learning, planning, and implementing your Circles. The Heart of Hope is the quintessential guide to Circle facilitation for anyone who is just starting out or who has been facilitating Circles for years. It truly is one of the best purchases I have ever made. 

Arlene Groh
Consultant, Healing Approaches to Elder Abuse
The Heart of Hope is much more than a “direct practice approach to connecting with adolescents.” It is readily adapted for broader use. As co-facilitator for the Empowering Seniors Support Group, I found Heart of Hope to be a practical guide for working with older adults affected by elder abuse. It helped us find a way to create a safe place, for participants to connect on a deep emotional level. Despite the trauma of abuse, they tapped into their “good, wise, and powerful core” and felt empowered to “be leaders in their own lives.” They shared stories of healing and change. Many thanks to Carolyn and Kay for this amazing resource!