What AVP Projects are available in BC?
We represent the AVP Project covering the greater Fraser Valley Region of BC and the Lower Mainland, as well as our AVP friends across the water, in Victoria.
We hold AVP currently in Victoria, Ferndale Institution, and the Fraser Valley Institution for Women (FVI). We also hold two community AVP circles open to the public in Abbotsford and the greater Vancouver area.
We currently offer bi monthly or monthly "Mini" gatherings at all locations, and larger 3 day workshops in Ferndale Institution and in the community on an irregular basis, depending on desire and need.
Are you from AVP in another area of BC?
Let us gather together to support you!Contact us, and we will add a page to promote your group in BC!
AVP began in 1975 in a New York prison when long-term prisoners called the "think tank" sought help from a local quaker group in designing a program that would reach troubled youth. Together, they created a workshop for youth, and the success of this workshop quickly generated requests for more. The program developed and spread out to many other prisons and community groups.
It soon became obvious that violence exists everywhere, as much outside prison as within, and that everyone in all walks of life and circumstances is exposed to and participates in some way in violence, whether it be physical or psychological or even in the use of silence.
The AVP Project has now spread to over 50 countries around the world, including New Zealand, Costa Rica, Israel, Russia and South Africa.
AVP began with support from the Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) but the project is non-denominational, and welcomes all people from any social or religious backgrounds.
Crossing both national and international boundaries,The Alternatives to Violence Project is an voluntary movement which organises workshops to empower people to lead nonviolent lives, and build the peaceful community we all seek, based on respecting and caring for ourselves and others.
There are three types of Workshops, The Basic, The 2nd Level, and the T4F (training for facilitators). The AVP Mini's held monthly are meant to be "mini" versions of the Basic workshop.
The Basic AVP Workshop is an introductory, three-day learning experience which teaches interpersonal conflict resolution skills through a series of step-by-step group processes. These experiences in small groups and one-to-one interactions build a sense of community and trust through the use of different exercises led by a facilitator.
There is a set written agenda created by the facilitators, starting with an introduction, an opening circle/question around a central theme or topic, then an exercise/discussion, a "Light and Lively" (a fun exercise intended to get us on our feet, laughing or feeling "lighter"), then another exercise and a closing circle/question. All exercises and Light and Lively's are taken from The AVP National Manual, that facilitators receive after their training.
The Second Level Workshop follows the Basic Workshop format, but advances further the insights from the Basic and allows volunteers to model and practice what they have learned through role plays and exercises to gain deeper insight.
The T4F, or Workshop For Training Facilitators, is a workshop dedicated to teaching teambuilding, collaboration and the empowering of others, for those wishing to become AVP facilitators.
In both the Workshops and in the Mini's we sit in circle, and a group of 2-4 facilitators guide the group of participants through various types of AVP exercises, both fun and deep, around a chosen theme. All kinds of themes are possible, and some of the more recent themes have been: Communication, Forgiveness, Being Present/Building Awareness, Relationships, What is Love?, and Community.The exercises built around these themes are intended to allow us to get to know one another, create a sense of trust and community, reflect on ourselves, and through discussion, help us all achieve a better vision of ourselves and our communities and what we all need to do to create a more peaceful, less violent society.
Affirmation and communication
Improving communication skills forms an essential part of our workshop. We begin with introductions, share our names, and agree collaboratively on how we will be together during the workshop to build respect and safe space, and get to know the group.
The exercises help us improve our listening and speaking skills, and promote and affirm what is good about one another - something we typically don't do enough of in this society.
Learning to co-operate in a group can take different forms, even without communicating verbally!
AVP is an experiential programme - everything we do in our workshops begins with our own experiences.
AVP is not meant to be a heirarchy, or a lecture for learning's sake. We do have coordinators and facilitators who have greater experience than newer volunteers and who know the "ins and outs" of the day to day operations, but we at all times are participating with the group with the desire to learn from eachother. We respond to the needs of the group, and at all times try to model collaberation and cooperation. We make decisions together as a team, as a council, and as a circle.
We truly believe that reflecting on our learned experiences, and listening to what others have learned, helps us shed new understanding and to grow as a person.
Group exercises help build a sense of community, as do fun games and shared storytelling and experiences.Doing such exercises together is fun, but it also teaches us a lot about ourselves and how to relate better to others.
AVP workshops are also great teambuilding tools - participants get to know each other much better, and build a valuable basis of trust and understanding.
Many people often find the space we create for listening and sharing--our "community", to be a special gift. How often do we get to connect with like-minded passionate people who care about greater social issues and the building of a better self?
A key element of AVP is pre-emptive conflict resolution by creatively transforming unhealthy relationships through sharing, caring, improved communication skills and sometimes even surprise and humour.
Role-plays and other forms of drama allow us to explore possible approaches to different forms of conflict.
The AVP notion of "Transforming Power" refers to the belief that no matter who a person is, no matter what they have done, and no matter what background or hardships they come from, at their core being there exists a light and a pure human power untouched by the negative layers of hardship, and the harms they have caused or have been inflicted on them. AVP tries to get in touch with this power within us all, and use it transform ourselves, conflicts with others, and promote peace.
We believe there is a power for peace and good in everyone, which can transform our relationships.
AVP is open to all ages, backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations. Our workshops are not allied to a particular faith or sect.