Circles and Verses programing is founded in Restorative Justice principles of providing
youth with opportunities to experience a sense of accomplishment and achievement while
providing support through mentoring and peer relationships. The program incorporates
Restorative Peace Circles and creative expression to develop youth leadership. Circles and
Verses is modeled from the Restorative Justice Community Hubs in Chicago, Illinois,
specifically Circles and Ciphers. This model utilizes restorative justice circles, youth leadership
training and activity, and interweaves elements of hip hop and creative expression to engage
young people in becoming peace leaders in their community.
General mission and nature of organization
The mission of the Junction Coalition is to provide a viable voice to our neighbors and to cultivate healthy relationships throughout the community. The Junction Coalition seeks to promote healthy relationships with local, state, and federal government to build a better quality of life for community members and for business owners who benefit the Junction community.
Junction Coalition plans to garner participation from local neighborhood residents in the development of programs to deal with the needs of the particular urban environment of the neighborhood: housing abandonment and demolition, land use and redevelopment, programs for our youth, workforce development and training, the safety of our children, and business revitalization.
All of the Junction Coalition’s activities will be conducted in a specific geographic area of Toledo, Ohio. This area is sometimes referred to as the Junction neighborhood, or Junction community. The neighborhood is bounded on the West at Brown Avenue, on the East at Division Street, on the North at Dorr Street, and on the South at Klondike Street.
Throughout the history of the Junction neighborhood, the Community has experienced the historic vagaries of disenfranchisement and systemic poverty. In previous years, several committed agencies and entities like the University of Toledo Social Foundations of Education students and the Padua Center’s Kwanzaa Park Neighbors worked with neighbors to provide assistance with improving street lighting with “Light the Night”. The community-based officers of the Toledo Police Department began providing neighborhood groups with information regarding visibility and crime within the community. ESOP (Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People) of Cleveland was one agency that established a program called Central City Citizens to provide education regarding predatory lending within the Junction area.
Despite the lack of economic supports, the residents in the Junction area have continued to host monthly community meetings for residents at a local community center. The City of Toledo coordinated with local residents to address issues of blight and crime by cutting the grass for the elders of the community and forming peer to peer coaching groups. The residents also started knocking on doors and meeting at the local community center with the message that superman was not coming and that if real work was to be done for community progress and reinvestment, community residents needed to make it happen. This community effort uses the philosophical framework built on Social Justice, Economic Justice, Environmental Justice, and Peace Education. Recently, the Junction Coalition incorporated and is now seeking 501(c)3 status.