The Youth Restoration Project of Rhode Island – Current Staff

Julia Steiny – Managing Director

Julia founded the Youth Restoration Project in 2008, developing partnerships with Rhode Island schools and social-service agencies to teach and implement Restorative Practices. Besides designing our training programs and consulting in several school districts, she’s Project Director for a National Institute of Justice grant to the district of Central Falls, managing a staff of full-time Restorative Conferencing Facilitators in several RI middle and high schools. She served for four years on the Providence School Board, and for 16 years wrote a weekly column on education for the Providence Journal.

Julia has certificates from Suffolk University’s Center for Restorative Justice, Bradley Hospital’s Trauma Training, and others. She’s a licensed trainer for the International Institute for Restorative Practices, a certified mediator, and has attended and presented at a number of international conferences. She’s also been a consultant and project manager for the RI Department of Education’s informational websites, working with DataSpark, The Providence Plan and the National Center on Public Education.

Our National Institute of Justice Safety in Schools Grant

In the Fall 2014, the NIJ awarded a major grant to the Central Falls School District along with YRP, the Urban Institute (a research group) and DataSpark (a local data group), to study the effects of Restorative Conferencing in five RI public schools.  Where conventional discipline systems emphasize punishment and tend to promote recidivism, the goal of conferencing is to get to the roots of misbehavior, find appropriate ways to make restitution and reintegrate offenders into the community.  Hired in partnership with Family Service of RI, our NIJ staff also supports the schools’ personnel in working to implement Restorative Practices and improve the overall school climate.

Pam Mathieu – Implementation Manager

Pam works with school administration to set up Implementation Teams to direct the redesign of the school’s disciplinary procedures on a Restorative model, including referral of appropriate cases to conferencing with our facilitators.  She’s also responsible for collecting data on the conferencinr program and interfacing with our researchers and data partners.

With 15 years of experience doing legal, non-profit and human services work, Pam is well-suited to wear the many different hats she has in her position.  Not only can she be trusted to work as a liaison between schools and our project, but she’s sure to have candy for the rest of that staff at weekly group supervision.  And with all her responsibilities at work, she juggles three children and her husband’s schedule as a firefighter.  — Gwendolyn Rogers

Trinice Holden – Supervisor

Our Supervisor oversees the staff’s work and is responsible for staff support, deployment,  evaluation and morale.

As a young adult, Trinice made her way to Rhode Island after growing up in Georgia.  For the last five years she’s worked with international students, and her involvement with their very different backgrounds and communities contributes to her work with us in Restorative Practices.  Trinice is fearless about trying new things while still getting her giant to-do list accomplished.  Her two sons breathe as much energy into her days as she does into ours.

Lehidy Frias – Facilitator

Lehidy’s parents come from the Dominican Republic, where she has spent much time gaining an easy command of Spanish.  She has a soothing presence that radiates confidence and understanding, especially in tense situations full of conflict.   Her fascination with languages and her international travels greatly enhance her ability to work with a diverse group of students.  Her willingness to learn and keep learning exemplifies what a restorative practitioner should be.     — Sheyla Gabriel

Sheyla Gabriel – Facilitator

Sheyla is one of our expert translators, fluent in Spanish.  Her sunny disposition and her ability to engage in active listening connects her with the students.  She’s ready and willing to assist her coworkers with her tech-savvy knowledge and calm patience.  As Sheyla continues to grow in her role as Facilitator, she enriches the team with her dedication to her community and school.  She adores her two dogs.   — Trinice Holden

Adam Gilbert – Facilitator

Adam is a Brown University graduate from Long Island, New York.  He’s a drummer and enjoys dancing and singing to himself, and one of his favorite hobbies is relaxing alone at home.  Adam manages to combine charisma with a go-with-the flow demeanor, which encourages open lines of communication and makes him an effective Faciliator within the context of conferencing.   —  Lehidy Frias

Narda Gomez – Facilitator

Narda is an excellent restorative practitioner who aspires to work in law enforcement, specifically to become a School Resource Officer.  Her fluency in Spanish, her wit, and her years of experience both in social service and as a security guard make her unstoppable. To refresh, Narda enjoys spending time with her daughter and gracing the world with her sharp sense of humor.   — Adam Gilbert

Gwendolyn Rogers – Facilitator

After graduating from Brown University, Gwen taught for 2 years in the Providence School District, mostly at Central High School.  We’re lucky to have a certified teacher to help us weave class management expertise into our Restorative Practices.  She learned Spanish starting in middle school, and is now fully bilingual.  In her spare time Gwen enjoys music, dancing and spending time with friends and family.  When she can, she loves to travel.   — Narda Gomez

Nerise sm 11

Nerise Beckford-Joly – Coordinator

No longer on our staff, Nerise has moved over to one of our National Institute of Justice grant-funded schools as Climate and Culture Coordinator.  So she’ll still be working with us, a fellow Restorative Practitioner (and one of the best).  Her focus shifts from staff supervision and conference facilitation to implementing, coaching and training school staff in restorative practices.  We’re thrilled about her new role and hope we can be as helpful to her as she has always been to us.  — Julia Steiny

Our Training Program

YRP sponsors several training series each year for teachers, school staff members, social workers and others interested in gaining experience in Restorative Practices.  Participants attend five 2½ to 3-hour sessions over the course of several weeks to earn a Certificate of Initial Mastery.  A shorter course is also available for a Basic Tools Certificate.  Click here for information on our current training program.

Victor Ramos – Director of Training

Victor received extensive training in Restorative Practices in his prior position as a Conference Facilitator for YRP’s National Institute of Justice grant. He works closely with Julia to refine our training materials and strategies.  His new expertise builds on 15 years as a specialist in community engagement, during which he worked with passion to resolve conflicts, cultivate relationships and bridge communication gaps among youth and parents, businesses and law-enforcement agencies. Victor’s made presentations to national conferences for the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and the National Tobacco Control Initiative for the RI Department of Health. He also has an extensive background in media development.