Here is some general information about the Alternatives to Violence Project:


WHAT IS THE AVP PROGRAM?

AVP is an experiential program, helping people change their lives...
It is a community program, offering a new approach for community groups, social service agencies, youth organizations and all who would like to participate.
It is a prison program, helping inmates learn new skills and attitudes that lead to fulfilling and crime-free lives.
It is a program for everyone. Though founded in 1975 by inmates with the help of Quakers in New York State, AVP draws its participants and its trainers from all religions, races and walks of life. AVP does hundreds of workshops each year in prisons, schools, and for community groups. AVP has spread to a total of 44 states and 24 other nations.
It is an intensive learning experience, offering two or three-day workshops on three levels:

  • The Basic workshop

  • The Advanced workshop

  • The Training for Trainers workshop

 

AVP BASIC WORKSHOPS

The Basic AVP Workshop focuses on primary conflict resolution skills. Step-by-step experiences and exercises focus on:
Affirmation - Building self-esteem and trust.
Communication - Improving both listening skills and assertive methods of expression.
Cooperation - Developing cooperative attitudes that avoid competitive conflicts.
Creative Conflict Resolution - Getting in touch with what we refer to as “Transforming Power” to resolve violence.
By role playing, participants learn new and creative ways to respond to conflict situations.
AVP workshops seek to assist individuals in personal growth and change. AVP is not psychotherapy.

 

AVP ADVANCED WORKSHOPS

Advanced workshops allow a deeper look at aspects of violence such as stereotyping, power, fear and anger. They may also focus on related topics such as AIDS, gender issues and forgiveness. They build upon our collective experience in communication, cooperation and problem solving. Consensus is presented as a decision making process. 

Fear - Reveals the hidden fears that usually underlie anger, jealousy and prejudice.
Anger - Results in a deeper understanding of the personal situations that trigger anger.
Communication - Develops the skills and the ability to communicate in tense and stressful situations.
Stereotyping - Builds awareness of stereotyping, bias and prejudice in personal relations.
Power and Powerlessness - Helps individuals understand power structures and get in touch with their inner power.
Forgiveness - Builds the groundwork for true reconciliation and freedom from guilt.
AIDS - Results in understanding and acceptance for people who are HIV+.
Additionally, advanced workshops are frequently designed to meet the needs of the specific group being trained.

 

AVP TRAINING FOR FACILITATORS

The Training for Facilitators workshop focuses on team building and leadership skills. The curriculum includes:
Group Process Skills - Introduces leadership styles, planning for experiential learning and processing of exercises.
Team Leadership Methods - Focuses on developing a team contract and cooperative leadership styles.
Hands on Experience - Offers practice in planning, presenting, processing and evaluating workshop sessions.

 

HOW AVP BEGAN

The Alternatives to Violence Project began in 1975. An inmate group at Green Haven Prison in Dutchess County, New York, was engaged in work with youth gangs and teenagers at risk. They sought assistance from the Quaker Project on Community Conflict, and from that original partnership of inmates and Quakers, AVP was born.

The original workshop was so successful that requests were soon received for more. The first AVP organization was born and grew quickly. AVP currently conducts workshops in forty-four of the US states and has contact people in nearly every state in this nation.  AVP also offer programs in twenty-four countries outside the USA.

As the program developed, it quickly became evident that what was initially designed for prison inmates could be useful to everyone. Community people began to seek the AVP Training, and workshops are now offered extensively in schools and in communities.

 

AVP-NH HISTORY

In 1992, AVP was brought to New Hampshire. Workshop space was offered at the Monadnock Friends Meeting House, in Jaffrey. This was the very first Basic workshop held in this state. It happened in September of that year.

Shortly after, in November, the first Basic workshop was conducted at the New Hampshire State Prison for men in Concord. It has remained there ever since, with workshops usually scheduled at least six times per year. AVP in Concord is considered by many inmates and corrections staff to be one of the best programs offered in the prison.

In April 1994 the first workshop was held in the men's unit of the Lakes Region Facility in Laconia, NH. The next workshop there happened in May 1995 and it has been regularly scheduled ever since. 

In September 1995 AVP made its way into the Women's Prison in Goffstown, NH in the form of a two hour mini workshop. Full workshops started in November of that year and have been regularly scheduled ever since.

Most recently, AVP provided the first workshop for this state's newest prison, the Northern Correctional Facility, in Berlin, NH, in January 2001. However, lack of volunteers in that remote area of the state has forced us to forgo workshops there. We continue to devote our energies to the remaining three correctional facilities since March 2002.

AVP-NH has also involved itself in providing workshops for youngsters in middle schools since 1996 in the seacoast area. These workshops have been shortened versions of an AVP workshop specifically designed for young people called "Making Choices" (sponsored by AVP). Modified workshops for high school students in the have also been offered.

The idea of an AVP New Hampshire website was conceived in April 1999 as both a way to keep important information (such as scheduling of events) available between facilitators and as a medium through which interested parties could conveniently find out more about AVP. By July 1999, Charles Oropallo and Susan Oropallo, an AVP husband-wife facilitator team, made this website a reality.

AVP-NH consists entirely of unpaid volunteers. The organization relies upon the generous donations of the public in order to cover its operating expenses. The Frequently Asked Questions page explains where tax deductible contributions may be sent. The officers currently keeping AVP-NH operating are as follows:

Berlin Facility Coordinator Charles Oropallo - Charles, as State Coordinator, is still seeking a qualified AVP facilitator interested in organizing and continuing the program in Berlin. It has been inactive since March 2002.

Concord Facility Coordinator
- Barbara Thorngren - Barbara is responsible for the scheduling and volunteer staffing of all workshops taking place at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord, New Hampshire. If volunteer facilitators are available, she tries to provide six workshops per year and six inside facilitator meetings per year.

Goffstown Facility Coordinator
- Judy Brophy - Judy is responsible for the scheduling and volunteer staffing of all workshops taking place at the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown, New Hampshire. If volunteer facilitators are available, she tries to provide at least four workshops per year.

Laconia Facility Coordinator
- Mary Alice Warner - Mary Alice is responsible for the scheduling and volunteer staffing of all workshops taking place at the Lakes Region Facility in Laconia, New Hampshire. If volunteer facilitators are available, she tries to provide workshops six times per year.

Secretary
-
Judy Brophy - Judy shares responsibility with the State Coordinator for the records of the organization and for the updating and maintaining our website. She is also responsible for organizing AVP-NH meetings and for recording the minutes of such meetings.

State Coordinator
- Charles Oropallo - Charles is responsible for overseeing the smooth operation of AVP-NH programs in the various New Hampshire facilities. He also is responsible for assisting with website maintenance and the setting up of AVP in new areas of New Hampshire, setting up community workshops, and with fundraising efforts.

Trainer Certifier
- Robert Hillegass - Bob is responsible for the certification of all apprentice facilitators as full facilitators based upon their ability to facilitate basic and advanced workshops.

Treasurer
- Randy Kezar - Randy is responsible for handling reimbursement requests and approving AVP New Hampshire expenditures.

 

THE AVP VISION

Today, we live in a violent society. The homicide rate in the United States is twice that of many developed countries, including Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Violence in the home, physical and mental, directed against both spouse and child is rampant. Violence knows no class, racial, economic or geographical boundaries, it exists everywhere — but the citizens of Northern Ireland stand a lower chance of being murdered than those of the United States.

Nor can Americans take pride or comfort in the embarrassing fact that this land now leads the world in prison population per capita. Prisons, viewed as a way to protect society from violence, in turn spawn violence of their own.

AVP is working toward creating a nonviolent society. Our goal is to reduce the level of violence by introducing people to ways of resolving conflict that reduce their need to resort to violence as the solution. Our process uses the life experience of participants as a learning resource, drawing on that experience to deal constructively with the violence in themselves and in their lives. We do our training where violence is found: in our prisons, in our schools and in our communities.

 

THE AVP MISSION

The Mission of the Alternatives to Violence Project is to empower people to lead nonviolent lives through affirmation, respect for all, community building, cooperation and trust.

Founded in and developed from the real life experiences of prisoners and others, and building on a spiritual base, AVP encourages every person’s innate power to positively transform themselves and the world.

AVP-NH provides community based groups and prison based groups offering experiential workshops in personal growth and creative conflict management. The national organization, AVP/USA, provides support for the work of local groups such as ours.

 

HOW AVP GROWS AND HOW YOU CAN START
A LOCAL GROUP IN YOUR COMMUNITY:

Note:
The following information primarily applies to the few states or regions outside of New Hampshire which do not currently have an AVP program. If you are interested in bringing AVP into your area, you should check out the info in Sponsoring a Community Workshop or How You Can Volunteer and follow the instructions given there.


1. Contact AVP/USA, Inc.
The group wishing to start an AVP program should initiate and maintain contact with AVP/USA, Inc. The website is located at www.AVPUSA.org. The national office has materials and trainers who can give you support as you get started so that you need not reinvent the wheel of a successful AVP program. Note that AVP/USA belongs to the AVP International Network. If you are interested in starting a program outside the USA, the international website is www.AVPInternational.org. They will direct you to contacts around the globe.

2. Collect Background Materials
Familiarize yourself and your group with materials that explain the program. These include explanatory brochures, training manuals, our bylaws, policy statement and many newspaper articles about AVP’s work. You might also hold an information night with a speaker from AVP/USA or a nearby group.

3. Plan a Basic Workshop in the Community
When a group of interested individuals is ready, plan to hold a Basic Workshop. There should be a minimum of 10, maximum of 20 participants for any workshop. AVP/USA has an Outreach Committee which will help you find a mentor to work on this and the next steps.

4. Develop an Organizing Plan
Depending on the number of interested people and their level of commitment, it may be desirable to plan for additional workshops following soon after the Basic. The Outreach committee and your “mentor” will assist you in planning your group’s growth, offering support until you have sufficient volunteers and experience to continue on your own.


Schedule for Volunteer Orientations

Citizen Involvement Application for Volunteers

Fill Out Our Volunteer Application

 Click Here to View our 
AVP-NH Brochure!



 

Current AVPNH Schedule | Information | Frequently Asked Questions | Please Help Us | Basic workshop info | Advanced workshop info | Training for Facilitators workshop info |
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AVP Vision | AVP Mission | Starting AVP in Your Area | Sponsoring Workshops | Who to Contact | NH Map | What to Expect


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Alternatives to Violence Project in New Hampshire