Are you looking for Meaningful service? Change of pace? New ways to spend your energy?
Keep sharp by learning new things such as; Interacting with people of different generations and walks of life, Experiencing the diversity of others’ lives and communities in America.
The Alternatives To Violence Project is an international movement of creative conflict resolution built on affirmation, respect for all, community, cooperation and trust. AVP, begun in 1975 and is active worldwide, Please visit AVP International to see what we are up to around the world.
AVP is an association of community, school and prison-based groups offering experiential workshops in personal growth, community development and creative conflict management. See AVP California for details on what our local California chapters are doing.
AVP now has a local chapter right here in the Central Valley!
Founded in prison and developed from the real life experiences of prisoners, AVP encourages every person’s innate power to positively transform first themselves and then the world we live in.
Here are what others are saying about the Alternatives to Violence Project volunteer experience:
Robert Barns (90 years old)
When "Bob" was 67, he attended a yearly Quaker gathering that had offered many workshops, but didn’t find any that he really clicked with. After hearing about AVP at the gathering, decided to give it a try and signed up for the basic workshop. After the second workshop, he was hooked. Since then he has continued to take part in workshops, over 200 of them! Half of these have been in prisons where he was working with a team of outside volunteers and inmates. The exposure to the inmates have led to a greater understanding of their talents and evolution of their stories, allowing some of those locked up who "know nothing else except crime" to find other passions and strengths.
George Ramos (75 years old)
George was involved in a training program that required participants to give back to the world by helping those less fortunate and he had chosen to volunteer at a soup kitchen. When he saw how his wife was connecting to the people, he felt like volunteering there wasn’t the best thing he could commit his time to. A friend had told him about an AVP meeting in Minneapolis and he was taken with how the participants in the workshop formed a community and close connections. Though he started AVP with the intent to accomplish the requirement, it was personal growth that kept him in the program. He found the life lessons of emotions and connection that he had missed out on while pursuing an education and career. AVP also offered him an opportunity to exercise his technological interest by creating a program that would track all workshops and act as a database for the nonprofit .
Betty McEady ( )
Betty was intrigued by the works of a number of activists and scholars focused on social and criminal justice topics. That led to her interest for wanting to change her perspective about those who were or still are incarcerated. Along with wanting to change her perspective, Betty was wanting to further her evolution from violent attitudes and also find others who wanted the same. While taking part in AVP, she came to many realizations. Though she has been retired for a year now, AVP has allowed her to continue teaching and learning past the boundaries of a traditional institution, discovering AVP has subtle ways of bringing forth a level of empathy that helps one to balance care for others and self.
Guillermo Bermudez (66 years old)
Guillermo found AVP through a time in his life when he was questioning motives and negativity he was surrounded by while incarcerated and a fellow friend and inmate asked him if he wanted to participate in a program known as AVP. It wasn’t until months later that he took part in his first AVP workshop, and he was immediately taken with how the facilitators would let the process continue on its own, instead of trying to intervene and "fix the situation" the group would find itself in as the less experience wanted to. Those working through the nonprofit showed him empathy and in turn, he, along with many others who were in the group, learned to imagine others circumstances as if they affected them personally. Guillermo would like those who are considering AVP to know that violence begins when we dehumanize others, make jokes about them, or start talking in a way that we don’t realize is disrespectful.
Pat Hardy (75 years old)
Pat started facilitating workshops while she was still working and traveling full time, but found the workshops were her own personal retreat and learning experience. Once she retired she discovered her skills as an organizer and became part of a group of volunteers who re-started AVP/California. Now the largest AVP/ state organization, AVP/CA has trained over 20,000 people in the past 11 years. After "retiring" from organizing AVP/CA, she is now working with AVP/CA Outreach Coordinators. She still says "This work feeds my soul and keeps me learning about myself and others."
Stories heard and written by Ciara Ramirez, 18 year old student and AVP Facilitator
For more information contact Cathy Clark at (661)565-0949
visit our website: avpcalifornia.org | 1-800-905-6765 ext. 4 | KernAVP@gmail.com