Alternatives to Violence Project

Alternatives to Violence Project
Image by Robert F. W. Whitlock via Flickr Creative Commons

By Irene Serrano

Alternatives to Violence San Joaquin Valley will hold a mini workshop on July 11 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Bethany Inner City Church (2305 E. Stanislaus St.). The workshop is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) began in 1975 as a collaboration between inmates in Green Haven Prison and Quakers interested in working with youth gangs and teens at risk. This successful, ongoing program quickly spread throughout New York State prisons and then to other states as a prison program and as a community program for people from all walks of life. The AVP is active internationally in countries on all inhabited continents.

Through an international network of local chapters, AVP facilitators— all trained volunteers—offer workshops in prisons and the community for all who would like to reduce the level of unresolved conflict in their lives and the lives of those around them.

AVP offers basic, advanced and training-for-facilitator workshops. The workshops are fast-paced, weaving together interactive exercises, facilitated discussions, role-plays, humor and games.

AVP is the following:

An experiential program, helping people change their lives.

A community program, offering a new approach for community groups, social service agencies, schools, youth organizations and all who would like to participate.

A prison program, helping inmates learn new skills and attitudes that lead to fulfilling and crime-free lives.

AVP builds on a spiritual base of respect and caring for self and others. Though founded by Quakers, AVP draws participants and trainers from all religions, races, sexual identity and walks of life.


Local groups are connected through an informal California collective of representatives, who bring together facilitators to produce successful workshops. They assist one another by exchanging ideas and working on specific California AVP issues. Until local groups are established throughout the state, the AVP/CA Steering Committee functions as the statewide contact for opening new prison and community programs, as well as developing direction for AVP in the state. For more information, contact Irene Serrano at or Mike Wells at


Irene Serrano is an outreach coordinator for Alternatives to Violence San Joaquin Valley. Contact her at


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