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 (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 (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 community 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.  

Holly (she/her) provides direct services as a parent educator through the public school's Parents as Teachers program, supporting healthy child and family development. She has worked providing training and ongoing support for family advocates and other staff in the Head Start program, and is a trained instructor for the Family Development Credential course. 

About Our Mission & Values

Welcoming Path is committed to

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

Our organization is founded upon the following values and aspirations:

  • Self & Organizational Care: We understand that our personal wellbeing cannot be separated from the wellbeing of our community. We are committed to creating a culture of caring for ourselves, our relationships, and our organization. 

  • Integration & Collaboration: In all 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 regenerative communities, even if such an approach requires more time, energy, and flexibility.

  • Accessibility & Inclusivity: We recognize that our society and communities often marginalize, exploit, and exclude the experiences, needs, and presence of many of us. We are committed to cooperating with the communities and people with whom we work to hear and understand our diverse needs, adapt our services to welcome the participation of all, and cultivate a culture where inclusion is the norm. 

  • 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. 

  • Collective Responsibility: We recognize that these values are best lived out collaboratively, and compartmentalizing them inhibits us from embodying them, personally and collectively. We understand that when we commit to living out these values individually, we are supporting the ability of one another to do the same. 

  • 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 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."