Alternatives to Violence Project (2012)
PO Box 6851, Ithaca NY 14851-6851
315-604-7940 or 800-909-8920
The Alternatives to Violence Project, Inc. (AVP) is an outgrowth of the Subcommittee on Nonviolence of the Peace Action Program, set up at the first Peace Institute in 1962. This subcommittee was established to demonstrate that the Friends' peace testimony of 1660 can be applied to resolve conflicts in the modern world without resort to violence. It later became known as the Quaker Project on Community Conflict. This committee had a long history of effective nonviolent actions and, in 1971, began to be invited into the prisons of New York and New Jersey to train inmates in the techniques of nonviolent conflict resolution.
In 1975, a group of prisoners from Green Haven Correctional Facility, seeking ways to deal with the violence in their lives, contacted the local Quakers for some help. Together they developed the first AVP workshop. Today we are active in twenty-nine states nationwide and the Virgin Islands and in more than fifty countries around the world. Six Friends appointed by New York Yearly Meeting to its AVP Committee serve on the twenty-one-member board of AVP-NY, a not-for-profit corporation. Approximately 15 percent of the annual budget comes from the New York Yearly Meeting Sharing Fund.
Formerly incarcerated AVP facilitators in New York City have met twice monthly for several years in Landing Strip, our support group for people coming home. In 2012, we began a second Landing Strip in Rochester, meeting monthly.
Purposes & Objectives
The Alternatives to Violence Project is a multicultural organization of volunteers offering experiential workshops that empower individuals to liberate themselves and others from the burden of violence. Its fundamental belief is that there is a power for peace and good in everyone and that this power has the ability to transform violence. AVP builds upon a spiritual base of respect and caring for self and others. We offer workshops in prisons, communities and schools.
Functions & Activities
The project conducts 18-25 hour experiential workshops that seek to build community within the group, develop skills in affirming ourselves and others, cooperation, communication and conflict transformation. It offers three levels of workshops: Basic, Advanced and Training for Facilitators. Workshops are limited to twenty participants, led by teams of trained facilitators. Participation, facilitation and coordination in and of workshops are voluntary.
Organization & Method of Appointment
Local activities are carried on through area councils covering different geographical areas of the Yearly Meeting. Each is represented on the Board of Directors, which handles matters of training, education, and program.
The Board of Directors consists of the six committee members whom the Yearly Meeting appoints to the AVP Committee on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee. The Board appoints a president or co-presidents, a vice president, a secretary, a treasurer, and various committees.
An annual meeting is held, to which all facilitators, as well as area council and board members, are invited. This meeting reviews the year's accomplishments, approves the budget, considers problems, sets goals for the coming year, and appoints officers for the coming year. A Forum Day is held in the Spring inside a prison with an AVP program. Outside (civilian) facilitators from across the state are invited to attend.
Meeting Times & Places
The annual membership meeting is generally held in September. Statewide Board Council meetings are also held in February, in the Spring, July, and November in various locations in New York State. Board members are expected to attend all Board Council meetings and to serve on at least one committee of the board.
The project has three main sources of income: contributions from individuals, contributions from Friends meetings and other faith communities, an annual allotment from the Sharing Fund and NYYM’s Lindley Murray Fund. Some income is sometimes generated from community workshop fees.