WHAT IS THE AVP
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Frequently Asked Questions page explains where tax
deductible contributions may be sent. The officers
currently keeping AVP-NH operating are as follows:
- 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
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
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.
- 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 -
- Bob is
responsible for the certification of all apprentice
facilitators as full facilitators based upon their
ability to facilitate basic and advanced workshops.
- 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:
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
Sponsoring a Community Workshop
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
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
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