Photo by  Hillary Harvey

Founding Director

Mika Dashman is an attorney and restorative justice practitioner.  She is also a New York State-certified mediator and has mediated criminal court cases and facilitated community conferences through the New York Peace Institute.  Mika facilitates peacemaking/community-building circles for organizations, student and professional groups.  She has been awarded the David Lerman Memorial Fund Fellowship in Restorative Justice by the Project for Integrating Law, Spirituality and Politics in both 2015 and 2017.  Prior to beginning her work in alternative dispute resolution, Mika spent more than six years providing direct legal services to indigent individuals at several New York City non-profits, including Housing Works, Inc., where she also worked on all aspects of the agency’s civil rights impact docket.  Mika is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and Sarah Lawrence College.

We are grateful for our dedicated volunteers


Jett Bachman is a youth educator and advocate for survivors of sexual violence, who provides workshops for K-5 students around creating healthy relationships and practicing consent throughout their lives. Jett provided counseling and advocacy for LGBTQ survivors through Title IX processes while earning a BA in Gender & Women's Studies from Pomona College. Seeing how rarely survivors' visions of justice were met by these processes and how often they felt revictimized sparked Jett's interest in restorative practices. Jett has volunteered with RJI since late 2016 designing materials and managing this website!

Anabel de Castro is a professional pianist-organist from Baltimore, MD and a graduate student at the Silberman School of Social Work. Her interest in the theory of restorative justice and desire to be a part of the movement led her to volunteer for RJI in 2016. With the assistance of RJI, she completed an introductory Peacemaking Circle Training with Kay Pranis.


Jennie Eber has been volunteering with RJI since early 2017. She assists with prospect research and grant writing. Jennie is deeply committed to social justice and working to make the world a better place, one step at a time. She has a Master's in Public Administration and currently lives in Philadelphia, PA.

Wendy Knight holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan where she focused primarily on program evaluation and intergroup dialogue. Her interest in dialogue eventually led her to become a mediator with the New York Peace Institute where she currently participates in their restorative justice Criminal Court Mediation Program.

Jessica Laus is a development professional who has volunteered for non-profits in the fields of historical preservation and education, adult literacy, adolescent mentoring, LGBTQ rights, and animal welfare, respectively, for nearly ten years. She was first introduced to restorative justice practices at a small Quaker school in Detroit, and she is most interested in how RJ can work to build communities and mitigate involvement with the criminal justice system. She currently lives in Newark, NJ.


Stephen Toriello has been volunteering with the RJI since Fall 2016. He is also currently an intern with the New York Peace Institute's Criminal Court Mediation program. Stephen is passionate about social justice and about working to help people cultivate compassion and mindfulness.