15 Week Course

This is a college course for currently employed credible messengers (Fall 2019 course runs August 30, 2019 - December 13, 2020).

The Core College Course: Healed People, Heal People

The curriculum, developed collaboratively with non-profit managers, credible messengers, foundation leaders, and training and education experts, covers the following topics: Restorative Practices, trauma-informed care, social justice movements, employment expectations and non-profit management. Classes are offered in an intensive 6-hour session each Friday that uses restorative practices and group exercises, with a mid-week session that allows time for reflection, guest lectures, and further instruction and discussion.  Students earn three college credits for successful course completion.  The course is offered to currently employed credible messengers.  (A modified version of the course is also offered to young adults interested in becoming peer mentors).  The following summarizes the curriculum. The curriculum guide provides detailed content, materials, and objectives for course leaders.  
Unit 1: Principles of Restorative Practices
The course begins with an in-depth training on restorative practices. In this first section, students learn to utilize these principles as they build group cohesion and begin the process of healing. Students learn about oral story-telling using their own life experiences as a pedagogical narrative.
Unit 2: Foundations of Healing
Many credible messengers – both women and men – have undergone the abuses of being incarcerated in addition to having experienced significant suffering from early childhood into adulthood. Healing is essential for anyone who has experienced such traumas. In this section, students explore how prior ordeals influence their present behaviors and how healing is critical to recovery and leading a healthier, more productive life. By teaching the principles and practices of mental health and wellbeing, credible messengers become healthier so they can be a strong, reliable resource for the youth they mentor.
Unit 3: Foundations for Youth Work                    
Understanding the history of mass incarceration in the U.S. is essential for credible messengers in grasping how the dominant culture has criminalized and traumatized them. This provides a critical framework to be effective advocates for their mentees and become people who are part of the movement to create alternatives to imprisonment. This unit examines at the intersections of racism and sexism and studies the history of social justice movements in the U.S.. In this section credible messengers learn research and critical thinking skills, criminal justice advocacy, and cultural competency.

Unit 4: Workforce Readiness                                  
This section covers employment related topics, such as presentation and communication, identifying personal skills and attributes, employer expectations and organizational culture, and job interviewing and career planning.

Unit 5: Understanding Historical Trauma
This section provides opportunities for students to demonstrate the skills they’ve gained from the course and shift the focus from their own healing to how they work with young people. Participants work in small groups to design and present a lesson plan based on a need or skillset they have identified as necessary for their peers or mentees.