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Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)

Alternatives to Violence Workshops are offered throughout New York and the world: Basic, Advanced and Training for Facilitators. Workshops are conducted in prisons and the community and include teenagers and adults. Children’s Creative Response to Conflict published a book of activities for elementary-aged children that are incorporated into our teacher training activities, Friendly Classroom for a Small Planet.Alternatives to Violence Project workshops are easily adapted to local cultures and peace work and offer a format to practice nonviolence together.An intensive workshop, its experiential activities focus on skills in friendship, affirmation, communication, cooperation and conflict resolution. The activities are transforming through building community and trust, exploring transforming power and opening up to changing ourselves. Any questions not addressed by the experience of the workshop are addressed at the end. Those committed to nonviolence practicing nonviolence in our daily lives find these workshops an important opportunity to strengthen our practice.The first AVP workshop in Indonesia was held one week after the Peace Accord was signed. We  develop facilitators through training for trainers, advanced workshops and apprenticing on facilitation teams. The workshops are offered in former war zones, with people from all “sides” of existing conflicts.

Help Along the Way

  • Build your own self-respect.
  • Respect and care for others.
  • Expect the best.
  • Ask yourself for a nonviolent way; there may be one inside you.
  • Wait a minute before reacting; it may open you to Transforming Power.
  • Trust you inner sense of what’s needed.
  • Don’t rely on weapons, drugs or alcohol; they weaken you.
  • Admit it when you’re wrong, make amends, forgive yourself then let it go.
  • Don’t threaten or put down yourself or others.
  • Make friends who will support you; support the best in them.
  • Risk changing yourself.

Guides to Transforming Power

  • Seek to resolve conflicts by reaching common ground.
  • Reach for that something good in others.
  • Listen before making judgments.
  • Base your position on truth.
  • Be ready to revise your position, if it is wrong.
  • Expect to experience great inward power to act.
  • Risk being creative rather than violent.
  • Use surprise and humor.
  • Learn to trust your inner sense of when to act.
  • Be willing to suffer for what is important.
  • Be patient and persistent.
  • Build community based on honesty, respect and caring.

Transforming Power

  • A palpable power that transforms people & situations for the better involving
  • Respect for self
  • Caring for others
  • Expect the best
  • Ask for a nonviolent solution
  • Think before reacting

Participants Said They Learned To:

  • Speak, especially in groups
  • Listen without debate, advice, or interruption
  • Laugh, joke and play without excluding or hurting
  • Look at situations from other people’s perspective
  • Be proud without being arrogant
  • Change old habits, even if they work, in order to help everyone work together
  • Realize people who chose nonviolence have different ideas
  • Dialogue because of our differences
  • Imagine ways to change situations from violent to peaceful
  • Realize there is violence in our homes among loved ones as well as in our communities
  • Do the hard work to build relationships, communication and cooperation
  • Realize we can’t have peace with weapons