Her Vision Embodied.
Restorative Partners formed through Sister Theresa’s vision and perseverance.
Much of Sister Theresa Harpin's life work has been spent working in Social and Restorative Justice. She has been a member of the Sister's of St. Joseph of Carondelet for over 40 years, serving as Pastor, Campus Minister, Musician, and Parish Social Justice Coordinator. She is a Certified Facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project, Aggression Replacement Training, and Thinking for a Change Programs.
In 2006, Sister Theresa joined the staff of the Center for Restorative Justice Works and initiated the "Get on the Bus" Program. This program reunited children with their incarcerated father's at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo County. She grew the program from a single bus traveling from Los Angeles, to 18 buses from all over California. The power of family reunification transformed her life, and working with those impacted by crime became her passion.
In 2011, with the collaboration of the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office and Probation Department, Sister Theresa launched Restorative Partners. Restorative Partners is a nonprofit agency that offers healing and help to those impacted by crime within San Luis Obispo County, including victims, offenders, and the community. Her vision provides professional and volunteer programming that engages the mind, body and spirit in rehabilitation, recovery, and re-entry. In launching Restorative Partners, Sister Theresa drew together the expertise of other nonprofits, universities, businesses, and faith-based communities that educate and develop programs that reduce recidivism and provide better re-entry and integration into our communities.
In 2015, Restorative Partners (RP) was awarded funding for a Mentorship Program, matching returning citizens with community volunteers to help navigate the challenges of re-entry. This work soon led to getting involved with recovery/re-entry housing. In 2016, RP took over two recovery homes in Los Osos, CA. A year later, we celebrated the grand opening of Anna's Home for Women and Children in Paso Robles, CA. In May of 2018, RP opened our new State Parolee housing and outpatient services in San Luis Obispo, CA. This is the only parolee re-entry housing/drug and alcohol treatment program of it's kind in San Luis Obispo County.
Since launching RP's treatment program, Sister Theresa has expanded our services to include court referred and other self-pay clients.
Sister Theresa and the Restorative Partner's Team know that jobs are critical to successful re-entry and are often hard to come by for those returning to the community. Yet, through our work we have found a way to bridge the gap by providing job training through partnerships and local employers. Under Sister Theresa's leadership, Restorative Partners now offers two vocational training programs, Culinary Training and an Internship Program through Cuesta College, as well as a Solar Installation Training Program with GRID.
When asked, "How does Restorative Partners cover so much ground with their services?" Sister Theresa quickly responds with, "We are Restorative PARTNERS! We do nothing alone. We draw together a wide range of local talent and expertise to meet the needs of our clients, and to bring healing and repair to our community. As one of our volunteers put it, TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER!"