Understanding unhealthy relationships through a restorative justice approach allows us to take a close look at what happened, who was harmed, how to take full responsibility, how to repair harm in a safe way, and how to connect with school and community resources.

This unique approach allows for someone experiencing dating abuse or someone who is participating in harm to have a safe place to explore the why, the opportunity to ask for help, and the opportunity to practice healthy relationship skills.

Old wisdom – specifically, the Talking Circle – is an essential tool we use to help our youth understand harm caused by dating abuse. Current approaches, strategies and laws have not yet achieved dating violence prevention success, and this abuse is directly affecting academic success and school safety in our communities. We believe a new approach using “Old Wisdom” is the key to breaking the generational cycle of intimate partner abuse and school-based programming is the best way to ensure successful delivery.

Each component of the What is LOVE curriculum is grounded in the 5(R) principles: Respect, Responsibility, Repair, Relationships, and Reintegration. We offer opportunities for students, parents and staff to build and practice responsible, respectful, and healthy relationship skills by gathering in circle to discuss harm caused by dating abuse, talking one at a time, listening with respect, giving equal voice, to find lasting solutions.