The Alternatives to Violence Project began in Greenhaven Prison, New York in 1975 when a group of prisoners invited Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) to assist them in developing a programme with the objective of showing young inmates a different direction than the one that led them to prison. The first workshops held at Greenhaven were an immediate success and the programme quickly spread to other prisons in the USA and out into their communities. Today, AVP is running workshops in prisons, schools and communities in 53 Countries: eg Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Russia, South Africa, Nigeria, Costa Rica, South America, Aotearoa, Tonga, Hong Kong, Israel and Jordan.
AVPW has been active in the Waikato for the last 19 years.
Workshops cover: Self Esteem, Communication Skills, Co-operation, Conflict Resolution Skills, Community Building Trust. Our workshops are Self Directive Learning, with trained facilitators to help guide participants. We provide a professional, safe learning environment.
Our workshops are open to anyone who is wanting to make positive changes around Dealing with Conflict in their lives. We welcome referrals.
Cost: single$90 Couple $150
How does AVP work?
AVP is based on several insights.
- Within each of us, there is a power for good and a potential to transform conflict
- In any situation, there are nonviolent alternatives to violent responses to conflict.
- Every culture has its own range of nonviolent alternatives to violence in response to conflict.
- Each of us has the option to choose our response to each experience of conflict.
The key features of AVP workshops are
- Voluntarism – no one participates on a mandated basis, and the facilitators are unpaid volunteers
- Teamwork – there is always a team of several facilitators of diverse background and life experience, with shared leadership and no guru
- Diversity – the participants come from a range of ages, cultures, walks of life, and interests, and bring a wealth of life experience to the workshop.
- A safe learning environment is maintained by group agreement:-
- no put-downs
- affirm oneself and others
- listen and don’t interrupt
- respect confidentiality
- volunteer oneself only, speak from the “I”
- everyone has the right to pass if that is the right thing for them at that time
- Reliance on Transforming Power
- Experiential rather than conceptual focus
- A holistic focus, recognising the spiritual dimension of the person, rather than a behavioristic or rigidly rule-governed focus
- Building community is an integral part of the workshop process
- Fun and laughter is an integral part of the workshop process
- A varied pace, generally brisk, but with time for reflection
- Feedback throughout the workshop, with session evaluation and activity debriefing.
Adapted from: Garver & Reitan 1995 Nonviolence and Community:
Reflections on the Alternatives to Violence Project, Pendle Hill