staff and interns
Mel Motel, Executive Director
Mel joined the Brattleboro Community Justice Center as Director in August 2017 after fifteen years of work in Restorative Justice, social justice, and education. Mel is not new to the BCJC, however: she moved to Vermont in 2006 to help build the BCJC’s Restorative Reentry Program as an Americorps VISTA and then as the BCJC’s Reentry Program Coordinator. In 2013, Mel founded the Just Schools Project, where she worked with more than a thousand adults and youth in K-12 schools to implement restorative practices programs. She has also taught the Community and Restorative Justice course in the Community College of Vermont’s Criminal Justice Program.
Mel sees her work both at the BCJC and in her life outside of it as building restorative communities: where all people get what they need and where we ourselves have the skills to respond to and transform harm within our own relationships and communities. She also likes to spend time with her partner, friends, and dog; play sports of all kinds; and sing karaoke.
Jackie Trepanier, Program Coordinator
“I believe that when given a conscious choice, most people prefer not to be in pain or to cause pain. However, life is sometimes harsh and confusing .We are all trying to meet our needs and we all make mistakes along the way. Compassion, safety, connection, understanding, reflection, and awareness are all things that allow us as people to grow and change. These are things that I hope to provide through my work at the BCJC.”
In her 20+ years working in the fields of conflict transformation, facilitation, and adult education, Jackie has found the presence of these qualities essential in supporting individuals to take responsibility for their choices. Jackie has served as the Program Coordinator at the BCJC since 2010 and manages the Restorative Justice Panel program, the pre-charge program known as Justice Alternatives, and has served as lead mediator. She is tremendously grateful for all she has learned and continues to learn by way of being and working with people. When not at work she loves to dance, garden, watch the clouds, and hang out with friends and family.
Jim Cecere, Reentry Program Coordinator
Jim has held a range of positions and careers throughout his professional life from owning a chain of ski shops to retaining an auto leasing company as well as a business acquisition firm. However, Jim’s proudest accomplishments involve his work with Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation and with the Brattleboro Community Justice Center. He spent nine years with Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation helping people break down barriers to employment and the last five here, at the BCJC as the Restorative Reentry Coordinator. “After getting my Masters in Marketing/Finance and starting my own business, I am ashamed to say that I did not give Restorative Justice a moment of my time,” Jim said. “Meeting Larry Hames (the former director of the BCJC) opened my eyes to a world that I knew nothing about. I now see the importance of Restorative Justice in the community and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to spread reparative ideals through my work at the BCJC.”
Meg Mott, Temporary Reentry Coordinator
Meg Mott has been interested in alternative forms of justice ever since she worked as a Court Advocate for a local battered women's shelter. She has taught about restorative justice in her law classes at Marlboro College since 1999 and joined the Board of BCJC in 2016. She is grateful for this opportunity to work with COSAs and to learn from our core members and volunteers.
Becca Jacobson, Restorative Schools Trainer
In her role at the BCJC, Becca works with local schools and the community to bring restorative justice practices into their communities. Becca co-facilitates circle processes for a variety of school age students and addresses various topics/ experiences in these circles. She is currently pursuing her second Master’s Degree at The School for International Training and is excited to be deepening her knowledge of restorative justice and social justice education. Her first Master’s Degree is in International Education having worked for The Institute for Shipboard Education and Semester at Sea.
Becca has also worked on a pilot grant administered by the United States Department of Labor entitled, Summer Jobs and Beyond: Career Pathways for Youth. As the Employer Liaison for this grant, Becca collaborated with community partners to create subsidized work-based learning opportunities for at risk youth in rural communities of western Massachusetts, USA. In addition, Becca is a passionate experiential learning facilitator. For the past seven years, she has been working at East Campus: Outdoor Learning Center, located in Springfield, MA. In this role Becca has been able to design and implement a variety of programs, workshops, and trainings for a wide range of people with various identities and intersection of identities. During this facilitation work, Becca utilizes key principles of Adult Learning Theory, Experiential Learning, and Intercultural Communication to create brave and intentional spaces for learning and growth.
Grace Koch, SerVermont VISTA
Grace is a freshly graduated Loyola University Chicago alumnus who has just received her BA in Theater with a minor in Political Science. Her work throughout college was dedicated to finding ways of using creative expression as a tool for political organizing through a multitude of different avenues including building power with community organizing group One Northside's Mental Health Justice team, studying the work of Augusto Boal's Theater of the Oppressed, and directing a collaboratively devised comedy show on the climate crisis.
She is excited for her move from Chicago to Brattleboro and to start work with the Brattleboro Community Justice Center where she hopes to put her undergraduate education to use serving this organization and the greater Brattleboro community. She's looking forward to creating warm and welcoming spaces for volunteers to learn and grow in their restorative justice work, getting to work with the staff at BCJC, and spending some quality time wandering around the woods of Vermont.