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Why Become a Member of MAVN

On our website, Northern Valleys Alternative Measures (MAVN) offers the opportunity to become a visionary member of the organization, either as an individual or as a company. But what are the benefits? Here are 16 arguments that could spur you to become a member of an alternative justice organization like MAVN.

1. Build strength in numbers

As a justice intervenor, especially in the field of alternative justice, MAVN defends the interests of the population, and particularly those of the most disadvantaged. During the 2021-2022 fiscal year alone, almost 4,000 people were supported in one or another restorative justice action. To properly represent this segment of the population that does not always have a voice, there is nothing better than counting on a large number of visionary members. The simple act of becoming a member of an organization means that one adheres to its values and principles. The more members there are, the more the elected officials listen to the messages carried by an organization. Becoming a member of MAVN means increasing our strength in numbers in alternative justice.

2. Contribute to citizens’ quality of life

Through our citizen mediation service LIVING Together, funded by several municipal partners, MAVN contributes to a better quality of life for the general population. Indeed, citizen mediation makes it possible to resolve conflicts between neighbours in a peaceful and constructive manner. By equipping participants with tools in the process, MAVN makes them more autonomous in managing their current and future conflicts, which leads to lasting results. Currently, citizens of Lachute, Mille-Isles, Mirabel, Piedmont, Prévost, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs, Sainte-Sophie, Saint-Hippolyte, Saint-Jérôme, Saint-Sauveur and Wentworth-Nord can use the neighbourhood mediation service at no cost. Becoming a member of MAVN means promoting citizen mediation and fostering long-term quality of life.

3. Invest in youth

MAVN offers several services that directly impact youth. For example, the REPAIR Together service allows young offenders aged 12 to 17 to make amends for their actions following an arrest. They become aware of their responsibilities in relation to their actions and the resulting harm. The BEHAVE Together service offers interactive training workshops for young people in primary and secondary schools aimed at preventing crime – but becoming a member of MAVN means investing in youth in another way: many of our socio-judicial workers are themselves very competent young adults, supervised by a team of experienced workers.

4. Defend the less fortunate

In an era of growing social inequality, it is vital that voices speak up in defence of those less fortunate. MAVN‘s mission is to promote social justice in every way possible, and to make it a societal issue. The COHABITATE Together service is a very good example of this. This service aims to support social housing tenants who are experiencing worrying or bothersome situations.

By creating a close bond with this clientele, our socio-community workers identify problems of all kinds (physical, verbal or psychological violence, addictions, abuse, mental or physical health, loss of autonomy, etc.). They then find the most appropriate resource to quickly resolve the problem and accompany the tenant through the process.

5. Promote alternative justice

We often hear about the challenges of the traditional justice system. Lack of resources, excessive delays and other gaps often make the headlines. To remedy all these problems, MAVN proposes and promotes one of the least expensive and most advantageous solutions: alternative justice. Through its citizen mediation services, for example, MAVN helps resolve conflicts between neighbours without going to court.

Two other forms of alternative justice that are growing in popularity are the youth criminal justice program REPAIR Together and the adult General Alternative Measures Program (GAMP) ENGAGE Together. These programs focus on the accountability of the accused, but also on their efforts to make reparations to society in general or to their specific victims. By becoming a member of MAVN, you are making a strong statement that alternative justice is an effective way to obtain redress without relying on an already overwhelmed traditional justice system.

6. Make a gesture of solidarity

In today’s society, after a global pandemic, a prolonged war in Ukraine and the threat of climate change, we sometimes wonder how we can do our part to improve a world in crisis. Becoming a member of MAVN is a gesture of solidarity to affirm that people come first. Supporting an organization dedicated to building healthy relationships in the community, in a living environment or in a work team, is contributing to a society where life is good. Teaming up with an organization that plays a unifying role in the community is a way of defending social justice in all its forms.

7. Keep abreast of trends and currents in society

One of the strengths MAVN has developed over time is the network we have built within the community. Whether it’s our current visionary members, our very committed board members, or the many organizations and other community stakeholders we work with on a daily basis, they all stay on top of social justice trends and current events and share information with each other.

Becoming a member of MAVN means joining a very dynamic network of resources and well-connected partners, who make sure that information that affects us and interests us is circulated. MAVN has just invested in the creation of a Communications Officer position to ensure that this ripple effect within its already very active network is enhanced further.

8. Act as a social entrepreneur

Rooted in our philosophy, MAVN believes in the importance of empowerment and self-reliance. These are the guiding principles of our interventions when it comes to citizen mediation or restorative justice. But the same principles also apply to us! This is why MAVN has always acted as a true social entrepreneur, developing our services through a proactive approach. We look for every opportunity to add complementary services, to meet new needs or to improve our current offerings. In addition to responding to the growing needs of a changing society, we want to self-finance our services as much as possible.

We believe in this so strongly that we have come to act as a trustee for various projects or services that we administer or financially manage as part of our INNOVATE Together service. Thanks to a flexible and efficient structure, we can encourage the emergence of collective initiatives that bring together the vital forces of the community. Becoming a member of MAVN also means acting as a social entrepreneur in the continuous development of our resources and activities.

9. Leverage the power of experience

One of MAVN‘s undeniable assets in convincing the most committed people in society to become members of our organization is the strength of our experience. Indeed, it was in 1990 that MAVN set out to develop people’s interpersonal skills in the Laurentian region and beyond. While our services and expertise have continued to evolve over the years, the foundations on which this alternative justice organization in the Laurentians is based have not changed.

MAVN‘s reputation is well-established among community stakeholders throughout the territory, and our organization’s successes in citizen mediation and restorative justice are countless. This longevity is particularly a result of the vast experience of numerous workers and the management team who have been with the organization for over 15, 20 or 30 years. They all share the same passion for social justice, with a fervour that is renewed year after year.

10. Foster social transformation

One of MAVN‘s main objectives is to promote social transformation, one person at a time. Our interventions reflect this. By building capacity for people in conflict, by teaching them to communicate better, we help them to resolve their differences… differently.  They become more autonomous, more civic-minded, more involved. The restorative measures for young offenders or adults accused of certain criminal acts are designed to make these people responsible for their offences and the consequences of these.

Criminal mediation meetings with victims, in some cases, such as letters of apology and compensatory work, allow for redress, but also for victims to begin their healing process. The collective initiatives for which MAVN is trustee, the prevention workshops given in schools, the educational messages promoting social peace that are broadcast on our networks, all aim to promote social transformation, which can be supported by becoming a member of MAVN.

11. Strengthen the community network

In order to accomplish our alternative justice mission, MAVN must forge links with many community partners. For example, among the restorative justice measures provided for by law, a young person or adult offender may have to perform community or compensatory work within a recognized organization in the community, or sometimes even a business.

It is the responsibility of MAVN workers to find agencies willing to take in an offender and assign them work. By providing supervision and guidance to these offenders, host agencies become valuable partners in an alternative justice approach. MAVN also sits on several boards of directors and roundtables at the regional and provincial levels. Becoming a member of MAVN means consolidating this network of community partners and supporting the organization’s commitment to its community.

12. Stimulate social engagement

No matter what kind of social engagement we are interested in, the first step is often the most difficult. Raising civic awareness and learning to be a more active and healthier citizen is the basis for a healthier society. Our own mediators, who intervene in citizen mediation cases, do so on a voluntary basis. They are ordinary citizens from all walks of life, trained in the art of mediation and passionate about social justice, who have chosen to become involved with MAVN. Becoming a member of MAVN is a first step towards social commitment. It requires little time or effort but can open the door to new forms of engagement, while conveying a strong message for social justice.

13. Access exclusive events and activities

One of the undeniable advantages of being a member of MAVN is that you get exclusive access to activities and events held or sponsored by MAVN. Of course, the global pandemic and health restrictions have slowed down this aspect of our activities somewhat, but that is only a temporary setback. One such event is our Annual General Meeting, which provides an opportunity for all our members to come together in good spirits to celebrate the work accomplished during the year. Other events and activities for our members are to be expected in the months and years to come, since MAVN intends to advance its role as a catalyst for the vital forces of community.

14. Give voice to the cause of social justice

Through the diversity of our services, MAVN fulfils its role as an advocate for alternative justice. We offer different ways of holding people accountable, righting wrongs, obtaining redress and starting the healing process. But from a broader perspective, we also want to defend the principles of social justice. Equal opportunities. The elimination of sexism, racism, discrimination. An end to the undue privilege of the richest at the expense of the poorest. Equal access for all to justice, health care, and education, regardless of class or income.

To fulfil this mission, we must continue to raise awareness, to educate in citizenship. To become a member of MAVN is to support our efforts to achieve greater social justice at the regional and provincial levels. By crying out for justice collectively within the organization, our voices will carry more weight.

15. Foster a healthier workplace

One of MAVN‘s areas of focus has been dramatically slowed by the pandemic and health standards: developing interpersonal skills in the workplace. Whether it’s communication between colleagues, between managers and employees, or between staff and clients, we can help make workplaces healthier through training, advice, and coaching. But even though the WORK Together service has been at a virtual standstill for over two years, by becoming a member of MAVN, you are helping to preserve a workplace that is known for its quality: MAVN itself!

As an employer of choice, MAVN offers advantageous working conditions, based on respect for people and skills, continuous learning, opportunities to evolve and surpass oneself, all in an atmosphere that is both serious and relaxed. Supporting MAVN means protecting a workplace that sets an example of what can be achieved… together.

16. Build a fairer and healthier society

To summarize all the reasons to support MAVN, it would be necessary to be able to describe in detail each of our interventions that happen on a daily basis. Citizen mediation, which helps people in conflict to speak to each other, listen to one another, and express themselves in a healthy and respectful way. Restorative justice, which supports young offenders or adults accused of certain types of offences to become aware of their responsibilities and the consequences of their actions but is also an alternative way of obtaining redress.

Support for tenants of social housing or workplaces, in particular by accompanying them through the resolution process. Prevention workshops in schools and other citizenship awareness activities. And even our activities as trustee of various collective initiatives of a social nature! The common denominator in all these interventions is the desire to build a fairer and healthier society, thanks to the commitment and involvement of all our partners, our volunteers and our team, which is entirely dedicated to social justice.

To learn more, visit mavn.ca. To support our alternative justice organization, simply click on the Become a Member tab and fill out the form.

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