“Circle processes offer a way of bringing people together to understand one another, strengthen bonds, and solve community problems—a necessity in an era of division, polarized politics, and angry debate.”
-Kay Pranis, The Little Book of Circle Processes
In Circles we literally and figuratively, Circle Up, in facilitated face-to-face meetings. The practical and symbolic benefits of a circle a many. In a circle everyone is connected, participants are equals with no hierarchy, everyone can be seen and can make eye contact and are each participant is given the opportunity to speak their piece. The intention of circle is to establish greater understanding among participants and work through conflict. This format adopted from native traditions has been proven through social science analysis to build relationships and trust between diverse groups, thus allowing them to be more effective in whatever context the relationship is in. As a result of these processes challenges, conflicts or potential biases are uncovered and replaced with greater understanding and connection among participants.
Circle Up offers facilitation of Circles, as well as training on conducting Circles so organizations can adopt this technique for themselves.
Educator-Student Circles and Police-Youth Circles are specialty Circles offered by Circle Up.
These specialty Circles aim to work through known stereotypes disparate groups have created about each other and open up dialogue that leads to a more realistic honest representation of each other. Ultimately the goal is to improve and build rapport and lead to spontaneous healthy relationships.
These 3-5 hour programs are held with 8 to 12 youth and a similar number of educators and/or law enforcement participants.