Re-Organization at Restoring the Soul

The Collaborative Community (parent organization for Restoring the Soul)  is sad to announce the departure of its long-time Executive Director, Tania Leontov.  Ms. Leontov is the founder of the Restoring the Soul and of FOCUS Offender Reentry Mentoring, both of which are now projects of The Collaborative Community.  The Board of Directors and staff are all deeply grateful for her many years of service at the helm.  It is her passion, energy, wisdom and vision that have made the organization the success that it is today.  Everyone who has ever met Tania in her role at The Collaborative Community will attest to her deep concern and abiding compassion for the welfare of our clients.  We wish her wonderful outcomes as she moves into the next chapter of her life.

As The Collaborative Community moves through this time of transition changes to Restoring the Soul’s program may be made. Please stay informed here and on our facebook page.

A Cry for Civil Discourse Wrap-up

“A Cry for Civil Discourse” was a huge success and showed off our special two-day format. In this blog post I’ll be recapping our January 24th panel presentation with information from each of our panelists.

Our first panelist on Thursday the 24th was the Rev. Paul Kotke. He is the lead pastor at Unviersity Park United Methodist Church in Denver. He has been active in interfaith work at the University of Denver. He spoke to us about his work in leading “Action Circles” inspired by the work of Parker Palmer in his book Healing the Heart of Democracy. These Circles are groups of diverse people centered on learning practices of effective communication. There are lots of resources related to Action Circles at the website for Center for Courage and Renewal including this Democarcy Action Guide.
This list of the Five Habits of the Heart are a thought provoking place to start thinking about Civil Discourse.

Our second panelist was Tom Bache-Wiig of Connection Partners, Inc. He spoke about the physical structures of our brains and the way that they can impact our ability (and inability!) to communicate with one another. This article on mirror neurons explains what they are, how they relate to empathy, and some of the scientific debate going on around them.

Our next speaker was Heather Bergman of Peak Facilitation Group. She has a lot of experience working right here in Boulder County on a number community projects. Her presentation highlighted the great advantage and great disadvantage of collaborating in Boulder: people are very engaged. That means that you can always find people willing to share their opinions but you’re also likely to find people who disagree with one another. With that in mind she shared some ideas about how to break groups out of an “us versus them” mentality and replace it with a more community oriented, problem solving one.

Finally Professor Matt Koschmann, an assistant professor of communication at CU Boulder spole on the structures of communication and how they impact collaboration. For Dr. Koschmann, communication isn’t just about transmitting ideas but is also how we construct our social realities. He drew the audience’s attention to how we establish spaces for civil discourse and collaboration can be more inclusive or exclusive or can help shift people out of their usual social groups.


Photos from this event are on Facebook. If you’d like to listen to the audio, check out our archive of past forums.

Correction to E-News Letter from January 17

In the Restoring the Soul/Collaborative Community e-newsletter a pair of mistakes were made in a quote attributed to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. First, his name was misspelled as Marin as opposed to Martin. This was a typographical error.

However, another error of deeper implication was brought to our attention by a reader of our newsletter. By referring to Dr. King as simply “Martin Luther King, Jr.” we ignore the reality that this man was an ordained pastor and the holder of doctoral degree. This is, as our reader indicated, a failure of our culture to attribute the proper dignity and respect due to a man who worked very hard to obtain those credentials, largely because he is black. Dr. King worked hard in his own lifetime to make sure that received the respect that he was due as an man of letters and pastor and he deserves the same credit now. We reproduce his quote, with proper citation, below.


“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”– The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil Discourse– Whats this all about?

In January Restoring the Soul is going all out with its two day, special format forum. Thursday January 24th is the usual panel presentation with question and answer period and on January 27th we’re having a workshop with former congressman David Skaggs to practice and reflect on the Civil Discourse. (There will even be a chance to get your hands dirty and talk about some controversial topics like fracking, gun control and public lands use!)

So why did we decide to make this kind of a fuss about it? Because to us it seemed like the most important topic we could do in the wake of the fall elections. The decision to host the forum on this topic and to have a workshop attached to it came up in the office during the last weeks of the campaigns. Whenever there had been a presidential debate the night before staff and volunteers would inevitably talk about it the next morning and regardless of the person’s politics or who they thought had won the night before, the refrain was constant: “I wish they could actually debate each other, I want to know what the real issues are and what’s going to best decisions for our country.”

We realized that at the national level and at our local level, in politics, in religion and even just in our personal relationships people don’t always bring ourselves to the conversation in the right way. We don’t listen well enough, we dismiss the people across the table from us and we attack with rhetoric before we even think to discuss politely. And one day in October, as we hashed this out at a Restoring the Soul Advisory Council meeting it dawned on us to do something big.

And we are. On Jan 24th (1130-1pm, 3950 Baseline Road, Boulder) we’ve got a panel discussion. Here we’re going to be laying out the case for a more civil approach to discourse. Why does it matter? How does it work? When has it been a success l in Boulder County? We hope you’ll join us for light refreshments and with your questions and ideas on the topic.

January 27th is the workshop and I can’t tell you how excited I am about this event. We’re going to be hosting it in a very new space, The HUB Boulder, at 1877 Broadway from 3:30-5:30pm. This is when we get to really put our money where our mouth is. Former Congressman David Skaggs is going to give our keynote address, there will be a brief introduction to a single method for civil discourse and then we’ll break up into smaller groups to do some practicing. At the small group tables there will be some controversial topics in the hopes of stirring the pot a bit, but also giving us the opportunity to listen a little better and share about ourselves a little better. To wrap things up, we’ll return to the big group and reflect on the small group discussions: what worked, what didn’t and what we’ve learned going forward.

This topic, Civil Discourse, is near and dear to everyone at Restoring the Soul’s heart and we hope you’ll come along to both of our events.

November Forum Wrap-up: New Paradigms in Healthcare

Many thanks to all our panelists who gave us their time and shared their expertise with us as well on Thursday November 29th. Despite how out of sorts we were in November–we weren’t on our usual fourth Thursday because of Thanksgiving and we weren’t at our usual location, but rather in the South building at Congregation Har HaShem– we still had a very good turn out. Below you’ll find info on our panelists and some resources and links for you to check out if you are interested in knowing more.


Anne Doyle–Recuperative Care–Guidepost.R

The goal of Guidepost.r is to offer medical care and respite to homeless men and women in Boulder County. For homeless people a short stay in medical respite (basic medical care, a roof over your head in a motel or home, food, companionship) can help them recover from a health issue before they need to be hospitalized or can give them space to heal after a stay in the hospital. It helps reduces hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations, saving the health care system money. More than that, however, it gives sick homeless people access to care they wouldn’t otherwise have. Please explore the Guidepost.r website for more details and be in touch with Anne if you have questions or an interest. This project is just getting up and running after a successful pilot program last winter and its a great time to get involved.

Simon Smith–Clinic Director, People’s Clinic–Clinica Family Health Services

Medical Respite care is a great and innovative service for persons without access to care in emergencies and near emergencies. However, for more traditional primary care people under the poverty line and without insurance don’t always have much in the way of resources. Clinica, with their Boulder location The People’s Clinic, is geared towards ensuring that every low income person in their service area has access to high quality preventative medical and dental care.

Simon gave us a couple of clues to how Clinica has been innovative in providing care and in making the most with what they have. First, he described a “pod” system that they use for offering care. This keeps a team of doctors, physician’s assitants, nurses, mental health professionals and caseworkers in the same physical space to cut down on time spent traveling to find other staff members of do simple things like file reports or make copies. Patients are assigned to a team and see care givers from the same team, in the same pod every time they visit. This provides a “medical home” for the patients. They’re receiving efficient, quality health care in a comfortable familiar environment.

Second, Clinica emphasizes access to healthcare for their patients. By keep providers schedules open (instead of reserving certain kinds of appointments for certain times of day) and scheduling appointments as soon as possible it allows doctors to do “Today’s work, today.” Patients get the care they need from the team of care-givers they recognize and they get it quickly. This kind of access helps ensure that patients develop habits of health for the long term. One last tool Simon mentioned which bears noticing is Clinica’s use of electronic medical records. Again, this makes the care givers more efficient. However, it also lets them tailor the kinds of care they give to their population by looking at whole groups–diabetics or pregnant mothers, for example–and seeing how they are responding to care. This way they can identify trends in their patient’s healthcare and respond to them.

Meagan Dolloff–Therapist–Integrated Therapies, Longmont United Hospital

Meagan gave a really interesting talk about different services and kinds of care that are offered as compliments to “traditional” medicine at Longmont United Hospital. Patients at this center are able to receive massage, acupuncture, nutrition advice and herbal therapies alongside the care they receive from ‘western’ doctors who are managing their care. While Meagan admits that “alternative medicine isn’t going to cure cancer” she does credit it with helping chemo-therapy and radiation patients manage the side effects and symptoms of their treatments better. The better they feel, the more effective the other treatments will be. While all this is geared towards a better patient experience, it also has tangible benefits for the health care system as well by increasing the effectiveness of care and reducing the rate at which people return for care.

Dr. Bill Blanchet–Physician–Boulder Internal Medicine

Like Meagan, Dr. Blanchet brought information about new kinds of medical care and treatments which are making an impact on how the public and professionals understand health care. His practice has made a point of providing the most effective and safe means of screening for common medical issues. With simpler and more effective screenings Dr. Blanchet hopes that “we’ll stop talking about preventative care and start actually doing it.” He identified three simple diseases and the new procedures that can be used to find them earlier and simpler: Colon Cancer, Lung Cancer and Heart Disease. There are new, less invasive and simpler procedures which make screening for these diseases easier to do and they are often more effective. The drawback, according to Bill, is that often these procedures aren’t covered by public insurance like medicare or medicaide. However, if you have private insurance see what you kinds of preventative screening you can take advantage of.

Also, Dr. Blanchet is on the radio discussing health matters the first Tuesday of every month with Lindsay Woods. Tune in to hear them on KRFC 88.9′s “The Tuesday Talk Show” from 6-6:30pm.

Medical Care for Boulder Homeless

When the Doctor says “its time to go home” what happens to people with no home?

Medical treatment when you’re uninsured and homeless is difficult to find. Often, the only care available will be emergency treatment when a problem has a reached a critical point. Preventive care simply isn’t an option. What happens, though, after a homeless person is discharged from the hospital? For 78% of homeless persons discharged from the hospital, that means trying to recover in a shelter or on the streets– not easy task by any standards.

Recuperative Care is a program in Boulder County looking to serve the medical needs of the homeless population. Begun as Medical Respite Boulder, a program of BOHO, Recuperative Care is now up and running under a new mission driven social-enterprise–GUIDEPOST.r. The goal of Recuperative Care is to provide a safe, stable, clean environment where homeless persons can recover from hospital procedures. This kind of care is essential. Homeless persons are 10 times more likely to end up in a hospital than someone of similar income with a stable home and they cost significantly more to care for. They also are more likely to be readmitted because of being unable to comply with doctors instructions for their recovery.

Right now Recuperative Care is in its early development stages, its securing financial oversight from the Global Services Office, registering as tax exempt, acquiring the appropriate insurance and accruing the needed materials and finances to begin providing care to Boulder’s homeless. However, by year’s end Recuperative Care hopes to be ready to receive referrals from hospitals and shelters and provide care for up to six individuals.

Anne Doyle, ( the impetus behind Recuperative Care in Boulder, will be speaking at Restoring the Soul’s forum on November 29th. Come to hear from her about how this new facet of care can help homeless men and women as well as the health care system as a whole. ( November 29th, 11:30-1:00. 3950 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO)

Testimonials of Recuperative Care’s work are available here.

Crime and Community Safety, October Forum Followup

On October 25th, Restoring the Soul came back from a short hiatus in Sepetember to host a lunch time forum on “Crime and Community Safety.”

We would like to thank our panelists for their time and expertise:

Stan Garnett,
Boulder County District Attorney
Leslie Ogeda, Boulder County Community Justice
Michael Brady, Longmont Community Justice Partners
Tania Leontov, FOCUS Offender Reentry Mentoring

  • The Community Protection Division of the Office of the District Attorney is a great resource for Boulder Count. DA Garnett let us know about all the work they have been doing to help prevent certain kinds of crime and exploitation. This division can help you with questions surrounding suspicious investment opportunities, identity theft, elder exploitation, internet fraud and immigrant exploitation–among other issues. Call their hotline for help or advice, anytime, at 303-441-3700
  • Leslie Ogeda gave a short discussion of the Community Justice Reentry Council and its development. CJRC has a partnership with the Sister Carmen Community Center (Lafayette) to provide a resource center for reentering offenders and is developing a similar resource center with the Bridgehouse (Boulder).
  • Michael Brady, President of the Board at Longmont Community Justice Partners, discussed restorative justice and the real impact it makes on the community. LCJP has a lot to be proud of; only 10% of particpants re-offend after working with LCJP and 95% of participants (community members and offenders) report being satisfied with their restorative justice experience. This is a link to fairly dense, but very informative report on their success from a third party investigator.

Eat Out for a Good Cause

Veterans Helping Veterans Now is a phenomenal organization providing free services to veterans and their families in Boulder County. Their upcoming fundraiser is “Hungry for Change 2012.” On November 12, 2012, eighteen Boulder County restaurants will sponsor VHVnow’s 5th annual Hungry for Change fundraiser. Each restaurant will donate 15% of the day’s profits to VHVnow, where it will go towards programs directly serving veterans. Grab your friends and family and head to one of these participating restaurants this Veteran’s Day to support Boulder County veterans! Visit VHVnow’s website for details.

Participating restaurants include:

Walnut Cafe
3073 Walnut St., Boulder

South Side Walnut Cafe
673 S. Broadway St., Boulder

Super Mini Walnut Cafe
2770 Arapahoe Rd. Suite 116, Lafayette

Casa Alvarez
3161 Walnut St., Boulder
Happy Hour 4PM-6PM

Nepal Cuisine
4720 Table Mesa Dr., Boulder
11AM-3PM, 5PM-9PM

Old Louisville Inn
740 Front St., Louisville

210 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont

The Dickens Tavern
300 Main St., Longmont

Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub
1922 13th St., Boulder
Happy Hour 3PM-7PM

Bacco Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar
1200 Yarmouth Ave. Unit A, Boulder
Happy Hour 3:30PM-10PM

Georgia Boys BBQ
237 Collyer St., Longmont

Foolish Craig’s Cafe
1611 Pearl St., Boulder
Happy Hour 3PM-6PM

The Blue Parrot Restaurant
640 Main St., Louisville

Miller’s Grille
103 S. Public Rd., Lafayette
Upstairs 4PM-9PM
Downstairs 3PM-12PM
Happy Hour 4PM-6PM

Sakura Japanese Cuisine
600 S. Airport Rd., Longmont
11AM-2PM, 4:30PM-9PM

Kho’s Asian Bistro
1325 Dry Creek Dr. #106, Longmont
11AM-2PM, 4:30PM-9PM

Leenie’s Southern Cafe (Lafayette)
400 S. Boulder Rd. Suite 2400, Lafayette

Leenie’s Southern Cafe (Longmont)
800 S. Hover Rd., Longmont

October 25th Forum– FINAL DETAILS

October 25th, that’s this Thursday, will be another chance to come out for Restoring the Soul’s lunchtime forums. This month we’re talking about “Crime and Community Safety” and we’ve got a great set of panelists.

The Honorable Stan Garnett, Boulder County District Attorney, will be speaking on his office’s work to stop elder abuse.

Leslie Ogeda, Program Specialist, Boulder County Community Justice, will be discussing The Community Reentry Council’s center in Lafayette.

Michael Brady, President of the Board, Longmont Community Justice Partners, has agreed to offer a presentation on restorative justice.

Tania Leontov, Executive Director, FOCUS will be speaking about FOCUS’ mentoring of ex-offenders in Boulder County.


As always, snacks and coffee are provided. Our host site is Kosher so if you bring a lunch, please make it vegetarian. The panel will run from 11:30-12:30 and the Q&A will follow from 12:300-1:00.

This month the forum will be held in Congregation Har HaShem’s South Building. Enter the parking lot at 3950 Baseline Road and drive all the way south, the building will be on your right.

Longmont Community Justice Partners and Restorative Justice

It’s a pleasure to announce that Longmont Community Justice Partners will be represented at our October 25th Forum. (11-1pm at Congregation Har HaShem’s south building.) In this Blog post I want to take a moment to look at LCJP’s work in restorative justice. It’s a very exciting model for cultivating a safe community and reducing crime.

What is Restorative Justice? defines restorative justice as “a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused or revealed by criminal behaviour. It is best accomplished through cooperative processes that include all stakeholders.” LCJP defines restorative justice as “a structured process that invites all persons involved in a crime or conflict to have an equal voice in repairing all harms of the incident to the greatest extent possible.”

What both definitions of restorative justice have in common is the idea of “repairing” the harm that has been done by a crime. Traditional models for justice—which dominate the official criminal justice system—are what LCJP calls “retributive justice.” That means that the end goal of the system is to punish a crime which has been committed. In essence, it responds to the harm of a crime with the harm of a punishment.

Restorative justice seeks to restore all parties—victims, offenders, the community—to harmony rather than pile up pain and hardships which have been judged as “equal.” Its goal is to make a whole community better and it begins in an equal meeting of the offenders and victims. LCJP has a simple (although, I’m sure its never simple in real life!) three step plan for these meetings. First, the offenders share what they did and why they did it. Second, victims share with the offenders how these actions made them feel and affected their lives. Finally, all of the parties collaborate in making a plan for repairing the harm.

Restoring the Soul is excited to have LCJP on our panel for October. Please take the time to review their website, especially their annual report which chronicles their success in 2011. Also, has a whole host of resources and a very up-to-date news section.