Our Coalition has always used a triad model to connect with people, educate the community and then advocate for systemic change.


This means we listen to the people going through the process to research problems, then work to develop possible solutions, and then find ways to produce programs that implement intentional change strategies that works for our clients and our community.

1). Connect clients to Services and learn as we work with people how to help better.
2). Educate the clients, the community, families, organizations and our civic leaders about the issues that our clients face as they strive to enter the mainstream of life, after a collisions with civic systems caste them out.
3). Advocate – for changes in our bureaucracies such as the emergency services, jail, law enforcement and all layers of the law and justice systems – especially locally. It is locally where we have the most leverage to help reduce injustice and to mitigate the excessive penalties that often come with a 911 call, or an arrest today.

The foundational work of the Coalition has always been direct services – to work directly with people who are arrested now, or who are dealing with an arrest in their family, or in the aftermath of an arrest, incarceration and with reentry. This means we have been working with the whole family to help them deal with the traumatic impacts on families, employers, and everyone involved.

Along the way, we have learned many things. Primarily, that the sooner we can help people in the family (and those involved in the personal distress cycles) address issues, the better. This might be early on (at prevention, intervention, or conflict cycles) the faster people heal, and the less likely they are to get arrested or go to jail in the first place. This intercepts the generational side effects.

This means meeting people “where they are as they are. Sometimes it means we are writing letters and doing our work over the phone with people in jail or prison. Sometimes we are meeting people in the street when they are dealing with conflict. At other times we meet in public places where they feel safe. And we often host meetings where people can come talk with others who can provide services, or have wisdom to shared. Our different programs provide ways that we can do appointments where personal coaching can be used to move people through the situation they are in using a more step by step method.

The Founder’s Story

Irene Morgan with longtime members

Founding Members

When we started, we did not know where we would end up…

Irene Morgan founded the Coalition in 2006 as the ‘Whatcom County ReEntry Coalition’. With the support of several members of the community -who had worked in the traditional social services industry, or had been involved with people attaining re-entry after an arrest, we developed original programs to help in an almost unattended territory.

However, we did not find a big welcome from other non-profits, who were vying for similar funding, from a limited grant funding pool.

What we did find, however, was that there was a lot of political, social and civic resistance to helping “criminals” -when most people are familiar with helping ‘victims’.

Few people could understand that people who come out of the justice system are often directly harmed and victimized by the system itself – simply because of how the system works. This was especially true for those working in the system, for the system, and paid by the system.

After doing more research, our Coalition realized that the highest rate of return for our time and money invested in helping people, was to help them earlier and timelier,in the conflict, arrest, court and conviction cycle – and immediately, for prevention of the shock and emotional damage caused from the arrest. Most people in the jail are non-violent, and 62% are awaiting trial and have not been convicted, so helping people at that stage to mitigate the damages to their families and their future is a better idea.

It is simply costly to the families, harder to fix, and much more expensive for taxpayers if we try to help people after they are already convicted, have spent time in the jail or prison, and who have experienced the damage to their family, work and reputation.

We also started to realize that we had to stop the jail industry (and it’s addictive business model) from expanding as a business in Whatcom County. Instead, we needed to build restorative justice, restorative health and restorative economic industries.

So in 2013 we renamed our organization the Restorative Community Coalition to reflect that change in focus. We want to restore our entire community to health, anytime people have been involved in the justice system process.

We imagine communities where incarceration is minimal and only for the extraordinarily violent; where there is prevention, recovery, and rehabilitation for people who have been addicted, traumatized, and abused, instead of jailing and punishing; where people learn how to go back to work and become capable and productive members of society.

Our organization is piloting a brand new project that focuses on direct services to clients. Our Restorative Community Center has three phases: stop the cycles, restore a life, and build a future. We are currently seeking funding for this revolutionary project that can truly turn someone’s life around.


Board of Directors

JOY GILFILEN

~Joy Gilfilen~

President

Joy became President of Restorative CommUnity Coalition in 2010.

She is a thoughtful entrepreneur, producer, facilitator, author and educator; born in Eastern Washington and raised on a farm wtih 4-H leadership training, then moved to the peaceful Puget Sound. On her families farm, she raised all kinds of animals, and she took great pride in how her animals were treated, and shown. She has always been ‘at one with nature’, and always kept that philosophy in mind with the rearing of her own two sons.

She is a thoughtful entrepreneur, producer, facilitator, author and educator; born in Eastern Washington and raised on a farm wtih 4-H leadership training, then moved to the peaceful Puget Sound. On her families farm, she raised all kinds of animals, and she took great pride in how her animals were treated, and shown. She has always been ‘at one with nature’, and always kept that philosophy in mind with the rearing of her own two sons.

As a young adult and enterprising entrepreneur, Joy became deeply involved in community, leadership and business development, eventually becoming a business consultant working with global companies involved in sustainable change.

Recognizing that the privatization of prisons has changed the socio-economic-political landscape, she studied and observed and built the models to inspire ‘whole systems thinking’ for all of our futures.

IRENE MORGAN

~Irene Morgan~

Founder & Secretary

“I have dedicated my life to promoting peace through intentional choice, conscious action and the healing of hearts.”

Irene was raised on a farm in Everson, Washington. She and her husband raised their family, and ran their slaughter on the farm business for 20 years.

Following her heart in 2006, she studied the healing arts and became a counselor and therapist. Irene’s personal instincts and wisdom allowed her to reach out and identify where her compassion for humanity could truly be of the most benefit. This led her to founding the Restorative CommUnity Coalition.

In addition to her many achievements, in 2015 she also co-authored the book, Stop Punishing Taxpayers, Start Rebuilding Community.

Click the button below to learn about the original inspiration that led Irene to develop the RestoreALife Center business plan.

DEBBIE DAVID

~Debbie David~

Facebook Manager

Debbie joined the Restorative CommUnity Coalition in 2010.

Her background is in corrections, administration; and she has worked with people, who have conviction histories, to become positive, productive citizens and community members.

We value her outstanding efforts and resourcefulness in researching information and documentation for our websites and social media outlets.

~Kyle Weiss ~

Board Member

Kyle has been supporting the Restorative Community Coalition for many years as a technology provider, as the owner of multiple businesses in the technology field.

He is the owner of Connect Nationwide and has been sponsoring events, and providing insights into the impacts on business when an arrest impacts employees or family members of employees.

ATUL DESHMANE

~Atul Deshmane~

Board Member

Atul Deshmane is an engineer by training and practice… but he also has run a business and serves in local government and various non-profit boards. Atul has worked to commercialize clean energy and transportation technologies with large and small companies. Atul is currently focused on local government and is presently a Whatcom PUD commissioner and Whatcom Planning Commissioner.

About working with the Restorative CommUnity Coalition, Atul says, “The RCC matters to me because it takes perhaps the most intractable issue in our society and infuses it with an enlightened AND effective way to guide people away from practices that destroy our potential rather than enhance it.”

Atul Deshmane is an engineer by training and practice… but he also has run a business and serves in local government and various non-profit boards. Atul has worked to commercialize clean energy and transportation technologies with large and small companies. Atul is currently focused on local government and is presently a Whatcom PUD commissioner and Whatcom Planning Commissioner.

About working with the Restorative CommUnity Coalition, Atul says, “The RCC matters to me because it takes perhaps the most intractable issue in our society and infuses it with an enlightened AND effective way to guide people away from practices that destroy our potential rather than enhance it.”

Atul is exploring innovations that increases the resilience of communities. Atul has a hobby farm and has been bike commuting for over 6 years logging over 30,000 miles. He enjoys spending time with his two wonderful adult children, hanging at the farm, enjoying the outdoors with friends, and dancing tango.

Past Board Members, advisors and supporters include:

Christi Carey, Anastacia Metcalf Lundholm, Oliver Lundholm, Ava Sakowski, Beth Brownfield, Sage Waters, Kathy Leathers, Juanita Jefferson, Jim Cozad, Kirsten Hammer, Clint Lincoln, Jeff Coates, Scott Holen, Ranger Kidwell-Ross, Terry Weber, and many more. Our list is being updated, and many people are anonymous.

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