AVP facilitators often speak of each other as family. The team for the fall 2020 workshop is a wonderfully diverse and enthusiastic clan.
Tre is a high school teacher, with experience in yoga, legal studies, and the military who came to AVP several years ago. “AVP has given me very specific and concrete tools to improve the way I facilitate small group discussions about challenging topics. More fundamentally, AVP was a huge step in developing my compassion for self and others. My most powerful AVP experience was my first prison workshop. I walked in with prejudices about people in prison and the mentality that I was going in to “help” these men. I walked out with profound gratitude for these men who had welcomed me, shown me true compassion, and been more “real” with me than I almost ever find on the outside. That workshop radically changed my perspectives and my self-perception – for the better! And every workshop has strengthened and deepened my commitment to that path.”
Having a heart for the least of God’s children led Sylvia into prison ministry. Prison ministry led her into Madison Prison and her first Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) workshop. That was the beginning of Sylvia’s AVP relationship that has continued for many years to this present day. Sylvia has brought AVP into the community and her prison ministry has grown in the intermediate and advanced courses of AVP. Sylvia is excited about continuing with AVP in the era of COVID19 and to all the bright lights that will come into the Basic AVP workshop.
Latwan served 12 years and 3 months in IDOC. During that time he struggled with the guilt, the shame, and all of the pain that he brought on himself, his family and his community. During that time he participated in an AVP workshop. “It wasn’t work. I started to see myself as a person. My value was returning to me. The support, encouragement, and connectivity gave me tools within myself to heal. Who knew that would put me on a path to become a facilitator. Recognizing that I am so much more than my mistake breathed new life into me.” Today, Latwan’s passion is breaking barriers and building new relationships. Whether as a caterer serving the construction crew he once worked with or as an AVP facilitator, Latwan enjoys learning new skills and is committed to nurturing love, connectivity/community, and down right enjoyment.
Jana, now a resident of Richmond, Indiana, helped introduce AVP in Ohio’s prisons and has facilitated workshops in Tennessee and Indiana communities. She is excited to have time to be active in AVP again. She always receives so much from workshop participants and is thrilled to be part of the effort to re-activate workshops at the Dayton facility where she participated in her first prison workshop. She is an educator and advocate who serves on the Board of the American Friends Service Committee and until recently was the Director of Community Engagement at Earlham College.
Margaret raised her son in Richmond and has recently returned after 15 years living on the East coast. During that time she became addicted to AVP, facilitating in New York prisons and Central America. “People often praise me for volunteering, but I am really doing this for myself. In every workshop, someone says something that is exactly what I need to hear. That’s what I love about AVP: people who may be very different on the outside share their common humanity, each learning from the other.”
The fall 2020 workshop is designed to be Covid-Cautious, bringing together the best of both in-person and on-line workshops. We will begin by meeting each other out-doors with masks for two sessions on one Saturday. The pavilion at Quaker Hill has room to spread out and a large roof to protect us from the elements. The 10 am to 5 pm time frame allows participants to travel from 100+ miles and still make it a one-day event. We look forward to meeting everyone in person, but are prepared to move that first session onto Zoom if conditions dictate. Subsequent sessions will be on Zoom, reducing the need to travel and recognizing that temperatures will be dropping as the fall progresses.
If you would like to try a sneak preview of a workshop or sign up for the Basic, please signup on our registration page.