Marion Little

Manager, Educational Services

Peterborough ON

Areas of Interest
Distance Learning
Emotional Intelligence
Restorative Justice
Social Change
Violence Prevention
Youth Programs
Spoken Languages
Public Message


Marion Little, MA Dispute Resolution, CNVC Certified trainer

Marion (she/ her) is a seasoned facilitator and social service professional specializing in institutional and community violence prevention/ response.

She's devoted her career to fostering community resilience and safe sanctuary. She currently manages and delivers Educational Services for the John Howard Society of Peterborough (Ontario, Canada), serving: schools, organizations, businesses, and the wider public.

Her programs and trainings are rooted in compassionate Nonviolent Communication, focusing on Community Mediation, Restorative/ Transformative Practices, facilitated dialogues, conflict coaching, dispute resolution, communication skills, and peer-to-peer listening. These topics have fascinated Marion since childhood due to her own struggles and challenges learning social skills, untangling misunderstandings, and navigating conflict. 

At the university level, she’s undertaken research into the impacts of NVC training and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in dispute resolution, ethics & reflective practice, collaborative leadership, and non-profit management.

She's served as a specialist administering institutional sexual misconduct prevention and response programs. This included international collaboration to draft a violence prevention and response policy, adopted by the world wide Anglican Consultative Council in 2012, which positively impacts 80 million Anglicans.

Marion has also provided support, as executive director, to charities addressing youth homelessness, affordable childcare, and peer-to-peer supports for sex workers. Due to her extensive work preventing and addressing marginalization and violence, she's been honoured to stand as an Accredited Observer to the UN Commission for the Status of Women, and to testify before parliamentary committee in Ottawa.

Marion’s evenings and weekends are filled with plotting and planting a small food forest alongside a Black Oak Savannah wildflower garden. She's often found, pen-in-hand writing essays, or covered in paint messing around with odd bits of paper, old globes, and canvas.


Every day I cross the Ottonabee River on my way to work. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about author Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's translation of Ottonabee or Ode-nibi from Anishinaabemowin into English. In her 2011 book, she explains that "ode" (o-da) means heart, and "nibi" means water.

The Ottonabee is: "The River That Beats Like A Heart."
I can't stop thinking about it.

Now, when I cross the river, I wonder: What does it mean to live and work and learn and play beside The River That Beats Like a Heart? What kind of honesty and empathic listening are required? What self-empathy? What strategic actions go beyond honouring treaties, to engage mutual respect and foster life-serving relationships - personally and systemically? Who am I in relation to this river, this community, my family, my ancestors, the history of this place, the Anishinaabe people, and the structures that shape the social and political space around us?

I wonder about my heart, and the hearts of the people I love, and of the people I know, and the people I don't know. I wonder about the hearts of people who enjoy being around me, and the hearts or people who feel overwhelmed, irritated or frustrated in relation to me.

I wonder about the community hearts, the hearts at the margins, the hearts facing complex challenges, the well-resourced hearts and the hearts working 3 part-time minimum-wage jobs.

I wonder about the hearts of Indigenous folks persistently calling the rest of us into accountability and mutual respect, even in the face of ongoing genocidal horror. I wonder about the hearts of folks caught up in war, and folks caught up in natural disasters.

I wonder about the heart of our dear blue planet.

I wonder about the hearts I'm not listening to as deeply as I could, and how I yearn for my own heart to be more fully heard. I wonder about the next heart-filled step.

The River That Beats Like a Heart fills me with wonder.

- Marion Little