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.
The AVP program began in 1975 when a group of people inside the walls at Green Haven Prison, NY, calling themselves the “Think Tank,” felt the need for nonviolence training in preparation for their roles as counselors in an experimental program with young people. They collaborated with the Quaker Project on Community Conflict and devised a prison workshop. The success of this workshop quickly generated requests for more, and AVP was born. The program quickly spread to many other prisons.
As the program spread, it became obvious that violence and the need for this training exists just as much outside prison walls as within, and that everyone in all walks of life and circumstances is exposed to and participates in some way in violence—be it physical or "intangible". Workshops are now offered extensively in communities and schools. Workshops have been held for businesses, churches, community associations, street gangs, halfway houses, women's shelters, and many others.
AVP was introduced to Maryland in the early 1980s under the tutelage of some of the New York program founders. Some of those founding facilitators trained in the Maryland start-up remain active in AVP to this day.
What is the AVP program?
It is an experiential program, helping people change their lives...
It is a community program, offering a new approach for community groups, businesses, 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 everybody. Though founded by Quakers based on their belief in an inborn power for peace in everyone, it draws its participants and its trainers from all religious, races and walks of life... It is an intensive learning experience, offering three-day workshops on three levels:
- The Basic Workshop
- The Second Level (Advanced) Workshop
- The Training for Trainers Workshop
These workshops use the shared experience of participants, interactive exercises, games and role-plays to examine the ways that we respond to situations where injustice, prejudice, frustration and anger lead to aggressive behavior and violence.
AVP is open to all ages, backgrounds and genders. Workshops are not allied to a particular faith or sect. Although the Quakers helped to create the AVP program, AVP is non-denominational and not affiliated with any religion.
Interested in seeing a listing of upcoming events and workshops scheduled in Maryland click here.
If you would like to participate in a workshop at any of the seven institutions currently conducting programs, please Contact Us.