Artists get creative in support of restorative justice

The Restorative Justice Society holds a fundraiser on Oct. 18

The Restorative Justice Society – North Okanagan is turning to the arts.

The society will host its first Creative Justice Gala and fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Best Western Plus Vernon Lodge.

“The public is invited to join our board of directors, staff and volunteers watch 16 artisans who will each be creating an individual piece of art that will be auctioned off that evening,” said Warren Smith, president of the society’s board of directors.

The artisans will include sculptors, carvers, painters and more. Each will have their own booth to create their piece of art.

Some will also be bringing pre-existing pieces they’ve created.

Among those creating art will be former Vernon RCMP Safe Communities Unit manager Terry Pakenham.

Tickets for the event are $39 which includes dinner and live music. The tickets are available at the community policing office, 2900-32nd Ave., or by phoning 250-550-7846.

Doors open at 6 p.m., dinner is served at 7 p.m. and the auction will commence at 10 p.m.

This is the first major fundraiser for the organization, which only recently gained society status.

“We’re looking to try and expand the program and have a strong financial base,” said Smith, who explained that the majority of funding for the program comes from the City of Vernon, though the society is in discussions with the Regional District of North Okanagan to become part of its functions.

Funds are also being raised to help executive director Margaret Clark, a “one-woman show with all of our volunteers,” said Smith.

“We’re trying to have additional support for Margaret and we want to expand our services,” he said.

Restorative justice is a community-based service that provides an alternative approach for dealing with crime and wrong-doing.

The service allows the person harmed – the victim – a chance to meet the person who caused the harm and discuss what happened.

“The person harmed must agree to participate and the person who caused the harm must admit to the harm done and agree to take part,” said Smith.

In one case, an offender met with his victim who gave the offender a volunteer job with his company as a way of showing faith that the offender was sorry for his actions.

The offender did such a good job he was hired on full-time by the victim.