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  • 10 people are interested

How AVP Started

AVP began in 1975 in a New York prison at the request of long-term prisoners. A workshop was held for youth coming into conflict with the law. The success of this workshop quickly generated requests for more, and the program quickly spread to many other prisons.

It soon became obvious that violence and the need for this training exists as much outside prison as within, and that everyone in all walks of life and circumstances is exposed to and participates, in some way, in violence, whether it be physical or psychological.

This program has now spread to over 50 countries around the world, including New Zealand, Costa Rica, Israel, Russia and South Africa.

AVP began with support from the Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) but the program is non-denominational, and works in many social and religious contexts.
our principles

The Alternatives to Violence Project is an international voluntary movement which organizes workshops empowering people to lead nonviolent lives, based on respecting and caring for ourselves and others.

We believe there is a power for peace and good in everyone, which can transform our relationships.
AVP is open to all ages, backgrounds and genders. Our workshops are not allied to a particular faith or sect.

Although workshops had been taking place in California since the mid-1980's, AVP California was formed in 2004 to respond to the call by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to significantly increase the number of workshops in California prisons. That required increased coordination, outreach, and recruitment of new facilitators across the state.

If you have an interest in volunteering with a local AVP Prison program sign up to volunteer with this opportunity and a local coordinator will be in touch shortly.

An AVP basic workshop takes 2 full days, and explores the five pillars of AVP: affirmation, communication, co-operation, community building and transforming power.

  • Affirmation and Communication

Improving communication skills forms an essential part of our workshop. We begin with introductions, agreeing on boundaries for the workshop, sharing names, and getting to know the group.

The exercises help us improve our listening skills, and share what is good about one another (affirmation) - something we typically don't do enough of.

  • Cooperation

Learning to cooperate in a group can take different forms, even without communicating verbally!

AVP is an experiential program - everything we do in our workshops begins with our own experiences.

Before we start discussing cooperation in the workshop, we first remind ourselves how it feels to work in a group, either cooperating with the others or not!

Reflecting on what we learn from our experiences, and listening to what others have learned, helps us to grow as a person.

  • Community Building

Group construction and trust exercises help build a sense of community, as do fun games and shared storytelling of experiences.

Doing such exercises together is fun, and also teaches us a lot about ourselves and others.

Our trained facilitators will debrief each exercise, drawing out lessons and insights from the group.

AVP workshops are great team building tools - participants get to know each other much better, and build a valuable basis of trust and understanding.

  • Transforming Power

A key element of AVP is preemptive conflict resolution by creatively transforming unhealthy relationships through sharing, caring, improved communication skills and sometimes even surprise and humor.

Role-plays and other forms of drama allow us to explore possible approaches to different forms of conflict.

Important insights are gained through the role-plays, which are flexibly adapted and debriefed as they run, again helping us to assess and digest whatever we learn.

  • Further Workshops

An 'advanced' workshop builds on the principles of the first workshop, and each group works towards a consensus to choose topics they will explore in more detail.

Participants who have experienced our workshops and want to deepen their involvement can also train to become facilitators with AVP.

AVP is currently active in several prisons throughout Kern County. We are currently looking to train volunteer facilitators to support the local prison programs.

If you think you may be right person for this opportunity, please submit your interest here and a coordinator will be in touch to schedule a meeting and your orientation.

3 More opportunities with ALTERNATIVES TO VIOLENCE PROJECT - Kern County



2005 Eye Street, Suite 4, Bakersfield, CA 93301, US

Mission Statement

AVP is a program working to reduce violence by learning about relationships, communication, and conflict resolution through workshops in prisons, jails, and the community. We are a volunteer-run, non-profit, organized by local volunteers. We invite you to learn about AVP, take a workshop, and even become a volunteer facilitator!


Through an international network of local chapters, AVP facilitators - all trained volunteers - offer workshops for all who would like to reduce the level of unresolved conflict in their lives and the lives of those around them in prisons as well as in the community and with youth. AVP offers Basic, Advanced, and Training-for-Facilitator Workshops. Workshops are fast-paced, weaving together interactive exercises, facilitated discussions, role plays, humor and games.

AVP is:

  • An experiential program, helping people change their lives.
  • A community program, offering a new approach for community groups, social service agencies, schools, youth organizations and all who would like to participate.
  • A prison program, helping inmates learn new skills and attitudes that lead to fulfilling and crime-free lives.
AVP builds upon a spiritual base of respect and caring for self and others. AVP draws participants and trainers from all religions, races, sexual identities, and walks of life.


Sat Nov 16, 2019 - Sun Nov 17, 2019
09:00 AM - 05:00 PM  


1819 Brundage LaneThe Hall located inside ofThe Society for Disabled ChildrenBakersfield, CA 93304



  • Mental Health
  • Legal (General)
  • Adult Education
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Relationship Building


  • People 55+
  • Group


  • Orientation or Training
  • 18-22 Hr weekend workshops up to monthly.
  • Orientation ,Training and prison clearance required *RETURNING CITIZENS ARE HIGHLY ENCOURAGED TO APPLY

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