what inmates say about AVP-NNM workshops

“My most significant personal learning was …

  • To get to the root of my anger and why I reacted.”
  • About myself — looking at my thinking, evaluating choices I've made, and getting more tools to handle anything which comes my way.
  • I’ve learned from others and see what they’re going through. We aren’t alone.”
  • I had lost touch with myself through my years of being an addict. It was important for me to know that I’ve found myself again.”
  • I’ve been taking programs and classes since I hit prison 6 years ago and I can honestly say that AVP taught me more in 3 days than anything else I’ve taken so far. It was more on a personal level and stayed with me more than Anger Management, Corrective Thinking, etc.”
  • That I am tired of being negative. I need peace.
  • Showing me ways of being assertive without being manipulative.”
  • Forgiveness is an alternative to violence.”
  • Hurt people hurt people.  When I am more whole and healed I won’t have that effect in the world.”
  • The workshop gave me back my sense of power:  my self-control. 
  • I will not only hurt myself but my children if I go back to my old ways."

“What I would say to someone considering taking this workshop …

  • Be honest with yourself and be open-minded. You can change your life for the better.”
  • You will learn about finding common ground, instead of fighting or hurting others.”
  • An opportunity to learn new things from your peers, also using it when released from prison
  • You will receive a sense of change, hope, and new beginnings
  • Tired of eating dirt and being beat down by everyday pressures? I got the thing for you:  AVP is exciting, fun, full of info and great learning experiences.”
  • You will find the goodness of yourself and others.”
  • Be prepared for learning how to self-forgive and to share your pain along with dealing with it.
  • Take it!  Not only for an ‘Alternative to Violence,’ but as a self-discovery and healing process.
  • Dude, take it only if you want to change.”

What facilitators say

“Facilitating AVP workshops in a prison setting is a passion for me. I am always deeply touched by the sharing of the participants-—the sorrow and humor and eagerness to grow. The men often come in closed and anxious, and by the time they leave there is a sense of group connection and safety that is unparalleled in the prison.  If I have something that is personally bothering me I almost always find something during the workshop that helps me. For example, after my brother was killed, one of the inmates said some things in our "Empathy" exercise that shifted my distress to one of acceptance.  I value co-facilitating with inmates and working together as a team.”     —  Joyce

“Doing AVP workshops is a constant affirmation of the deep sense of spirituality and goodness that can be found in every single human being.  This affirmation comes through to me, because the exercises create the opportunity for each person's spiritual goodness to show through the layers of negativity we all become coated with as we encounter the challenges of life.”     —  Niki

“For me, AVP has been an opportunity to practice my own skills in patience and better communication, managing frustration, and seeing that every one of us has insights, experiences, and wisdom to share.  I am continually amazed at the unexpected things I have in common with the participants. Community friends have expressed surprise at how much time I give to AVP volunteer work and how energized I feel by it.  It's simple—in an AVP workshop I am seen and heard for who I really am and I learn from everyone who interacts with me.”     —  Annmarie

“Quite simply, facilitating AVP workshops humbles me and inspires me.   Workshop agendas are powerful, from the early community building session, through learning tools of non-violence, to a final self-assessment.  And I do mean powerful:  I’ve seen opposing gang members tearfully forgive each other, recovering addicts have epiphanies about their denial, and inmates share advice about sticking to parole rules.  Working with the incarcerated has helped me understand both the deep roots of such social ills as poverty and also the resilience of the human heart.”     —  Margy