Jean Lauer and Bert Mohs both have a heart for listening to stories and encouraging second chances as a way of contributing to the potential of youth through Restorative Justice programs offered in Winona County.
The Volunteers of the Month for November are both regular presences with Restorative Justice, which holds offenders accountable by promoting responsibility for repairing harm while rebuilding relationships among victims, offenders, and the community. Programs serve area youth with mentoring, community service work, and other initiatives as alternatives to the traditional court process.
Lauer grew up in northeast Wisconsin and attended undergraduate school at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, exploring creative ways of healing through expressive arts. This led to work offering retreats for families of people with developmental disabilities and later, as a pastoral minister in a large suburban church in the Twin Cities.
Ten years ago, Lauer earned a master’s degree in servant leadership from Viterbo University with certification in spiritual direction from the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse. She then became a chaplain resident in a trauma center and later, enjoyed her dream job as a program director at a spiritual retreat center.
Lauer is now the director of Heartwisdom Center for Compassionate Consciousness in Winona and has offered spiritual direction for over 10 years and facilitated retreats and sacred circles for over 25 years. All of that experience has inspired Lauer to share her skills as a volunteer with Restorative Justice programs in Winona since 2011.
“I love restorative circles because everyone in a circle is equal, everyone has a story to share and a unique voice to be heard,” Lauer said.