Inside Facilitators and the Transforming Power of AVP

In October, we held our second 3rd level AVP workshop at the Indianapolis Re-entry Educational Facility (IREF). The significance of the third level is that it trains participants to become facilitators of the workshop themselves. One of the beauties of the AVP model is that it grows its leaders from the ground up, empowering participants to transform themselves as they seek collectively to transform the violence they encounter and learn to channel their power into solving conflicts in creative and constructive ways. They learn by practicing and doing actual facilitation.

In this particular workshop, we trained eight new facilitators who will now begin their apprenticing. Two of the facilitators are from outside prison and six of the new facilitators are residents of IREF. At the end of the workshop, after each participant had concluded approximately 55 hours of workshop experience, I asked them to write a few words about their experience with AVP and what it has meant to them or how it has changed them.

I will share these responses one by one in separate posts and at the end, I will put all of the responses together on a page of Testimonials. As we continue to conduct these workshops and grow new facilitators, I will continue to ask the questions of participants and facilitators alike, “What have you learned? How have you changed? What does AVP mean to you?”

Below are the words of Dependable Dale. Dale did not attend this particular workshop because he was moved to a different facility, but without his help, this second Training for Facilitators workshop and all of the other workshops before it most likely would not have happened. He attended the first workshop we conducted at IREF in November 2013 and was one of the first group of inside facilitators in the state of Indiana. The program at IREF owes him a great debt of gratitude for his tireless organization, incessant recruiting, attention to detail, communication, and his inability to stop talking about and advocating for AVP once he saw how much it really worked. What I quote here are words I heard him say on multiple occasions.

“AVP has opened up a whole new world for me that I never knew existed. I used to think, where there is a will, there is a way, and I usually meant a violent way. Now I think that where there is a will, there is a non-violent way. I want to see AVP conducted in every prison in the state of Indiana. I want to see it in every half-way house, recovery center, community and school system in the state as well. And I will pursue my goals as long as I can take a breath.” –Dependable Dale

In an Ideal World

The documentary film, In An Ideal World, follows “three men who live and work in Soledad prison. Their stories center around the possibility of change, particularly the transformative change made possible by the Alternatives to Violence Project. The purpose of this film is to help move the conversation about criminal justice in America away from crime and towards justice. The film is Sundance, MacArthur Foundation and California for the Humanities funded and is in its FINAL stage before release. Please join us in nudging the project past this final release-prep phase so it can move on to the more important work of outreach, community engagement and impact.” (Noel, film maker, editor, and AVP facilitator)

IN AN IDEAL WORLD Soledad Prison.

I have been struggling to figure out ways to shed light on the brokenness of prisons in the U.S. in order to bring about real change. I think this project will help greatly if it can get completed. AVP Indiana has already contributed to this effort. To learn more about the project and what they hope to accomplish, as well as contribute to the cause, please visit these links:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/132889575/in-an-ideal-world-finishing-funds-for-feature-docu

https://www.facebook.com/IDEALWORLDFILM?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

An Invitation to Join Us

AVP USA

An invitation to join us (from the national AVP USA organization):

We are volunteers who use interpersonal tools for peace, working around the corner and around the world to prevent violence and promote healing. We don’t lecture, or show slides, or sing anthems. Instead, we work face-to-face with people to help them discover their connectedness, their empathy and their common bonds – even where there is bitter animosity or a history of conflict.

In 2013 we shared our journey with nearly 16,000 people across 29 states. We are more than 2,000 volunteer facilitators, working in prisons, gang intervention, drug
recovery, with veterans and refugees, in schools, churches, colleges, community organizations, and more. Our story is told in many languages, by people of all colors and beliefs, and it’s captured in this first-person witness of one participant in a prison in New York: “I finally found something that cracked the wall around my inner energy and allowed me to see that other person I always wanted to be. . .that person I am now.”

We need your help, to grow our community and reach more people with our workshops. We have launched the Campaign for AVP-40, to celebrate our 40th anniversary of service and engagement with people who need our help. There are waiting lists for workshops – we need to recruit and train more facilitators. There are people in remote locations who can’t afford to travel – we need to meet those costs. There are models of success – we need to share those models with each other.

At our National Gathering in Philadelphia in May, we started our own drive to reach 100 percent participation in the Campaign. Now we invite you to join the Campaign for AVP-40 with a contribution. Please give what you can to:

AVP/USA
1050 Selby Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104

Our website is http:www.avpusa.org. You can donate there, too. It is all welcome, all appreciated, and all in the service of peacemaking and healing.

Thank you.
The men and women of Alternatives to Violence Project – USA

Welcome to AVP Indiana!

AVP Indiana Official Logo

Our new logo is above. We are busy working on multiple projects right now, one is a community workshop in Richmond, Indiana coming up in January 2015. You can now register on our website! If you are not able to come to the workshop in January, register anyway and we will keep you on a list to notify you when the next workshop is available. We have a calendar now as well, so you can see what we are doing around the state. Stay tuned for more details and our new blog posts! You can also find us on Facebook. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link. Be sure to like us and stay tuned for more…!