About Us

How We Got Here

From 2012 to 2016, Caryn and David were part of the Conflict and Communication Center of the Ozarks. We brought with us several years of experience working in the areas of restorative justice, conflict transformation, and volunteer training and support. Our activities centered around "providing free or affordable services which foster healthy communication, sustainability, and the transformation of conflicts in families, organizations, and communities." Over this time, we noticed a common need for both individuals and organizations to have support in developing reflexive practices and organizational cultures that would make healthy approaches to conflict more effective and sustainable. 

Building on this foundation, Welcoming Path was organized in the autumn of 2016 out of commitment to make these practices more accessible to communities and individuals engaged in addressing issues of social justice and social change. In addition to our ongoing activities and consultations, we are also developing programs and projects. However, our long-term projects are currently on hold. We hope that circumstances allow us to return to these activities, including our research project (exploring how members of the LGBTQIA+ and polyamorous communities experience and engage with conflict) and a pilot program offering long-term training program (that helps people engaged in community organizing, social work, volunteering, and other vital activities understand and apply the key concepts and skills of our approach). We are also exploring the possibility of offering a support group for the integration of mindfulness practices into ordinary aspects of life. 

About Caryn, David & Our Board

Caryn (pronouns: she/her) works as an instructor with Missouri State University’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice in Springfield, MO where her focus includes critical, restorative, and multicultural perspectives in the study of crime and justice. Caryn holds a master’s degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice, as well as a graduate certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution, and has over a decade of experience working with, and training others in, communication, trauma healing, restorative justice, peacemaking, and conflict transformation. Her work has been most focused on helping such populations as prisoners, probationers, juvenile offenders, adolescent girls, and struggling families learn to safely and effectively communicate in order to reach goals and improve relationships, as well as move forward after relationship-based trauma. Caryn has also co-authored a textbook with Aida Y. Hass-Wisecup, Restorative Justice: Integrating Theory, Research and Practice, available from Carolina Academic Press (HERE).   

David (pronouns: they/themis an interfaith minister and community educator. They hold a master's degree in Intercultural Studies, and have continued their learning in the fields of conflict transformation and sustainable development. They have been offering community programming and education since 1993, and training and services related to conflict transformation, reflective practices, and community development since 2007. Their work has focused on supporting communities experiencing direct and structural injustice to find creative and constructive responses to heal relationships and work together to challenge and transform difficult circumstances and unjust systems.  

The other members of our board of directors, Holly and Dakoda, bring a wealth of experience and a diversity of perspective to our activities. Their backgrounds include: training and providing ongoing support for social workers, case managers, and family advocates; direct services supporting healthy child and family development; community education and portfolio accreditation for social services providers; support group facilitation for gender and sexuality minorities; participation in community activism and mutual aid networks; and hospital employment. 

About Our Mission & Values

Welcoming Path is committed to

Supporting individuals and communities to create positive change 
through reflexive and transformative practices.

Our organization is founded upon the following values and aspirations:

  • Community: We are committed to strengthening our local community by providing opportunities for reflection and action which serve to cultivate creative and transformative solutions to conflict and stress, and enhance the health and resiliency of the relationships and networks that surround us.
  • Self & Organizational Care: We acknowledge that we, as practitioners and as an organization, cannot responsibly serve others without caring for our own well-being. We are committed to caring for the physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual health of ourselves, our relationships, and our organization so that we can better serve our clients and community.
  • Integration & Collaboration: In all of our activities and partnerships, we are committed to learning with and from others across multiple contexts. We acknowledge that mutual attentiveness is an essential part of sustainable and resilient communities, even if such an approach requires more time, energy, and flexibility. 
  • Generosity: As a nonprofit organization operating solely by the generosity of volunteers and in cooperation with local partners, we understand that the life of our organization depends on the support and participation of our community. We are committed to the responsible stewardship of our time, resources, and community relationships. This includes a commitment to wise governance and oversight by our Board of Directors, and an ongoing commitment to support our local community and to act in ways that do not violate our organizational values.
  • Non-Discrimination: We are committed to the non-discrimination of others based on sex, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and economic status in regards to our services, as well as inclusion in our staff and Board of Directors. 
  • Continuing Education: We acknowledge that in order to provide safe and effective services in our communities we must engage in consistent and ongoing education and training in order to maintain and improve our knowledge, skills, and abilities. We are committed to maintaining a spirit of curiosity and learning: asking questions, deepening understandings, increasing competence, and welcoming change. 
  • Integrity: We are committed to the above-listed values and aspirations. We will regularly reflect upon and amend this statement, ensuring that we are embodying the aspirations that nourish and guide our organization.

About Our Logo

Our logo, designed by Portraits by Ruth, combines a simplified double spiral labyrinth with the image of a tree. Labyrinths are traditional symbols of reflection, discernment, transition, and change. Evoking the shape of a tree invites us to consider how a reflective journey can be part of a person's or community's sustainable and long-term growth. 

We are grateful for the opportunity to join together in our mission of "supporting communities to create positive change through reflexive and transformative practices."