Alternatives to Violence (AVP) – Youth Program

Alternatives to Violence – Youth ProgramProposal from the Arkansas Coalition for Peace & Justice

Program Goals

The Arkansas Coalition for Peace & Justice (ACPJ) is creating an operational nonviolent Conflict Resolution Program for Youth in Pulaski County, called Alternatives to Violence (AVP) – Youth Program.  This program is modelled on AVP-USA’s national program with a record of accomplishment.  Basic concepts highlighted in this Alternatives to Violence program include cooperation, affirmation, community building, communications, prevention, nonviolent conflict resolution and “transforming power.”  The program targets middle-school and high school-aged youth.  We seek an alliance or partnership with the City’s proposed ordinance to establish a Little Rock Youth Violence Prevent Center, and other Little Rock Community Programs for Youth.

The Program

The Alternatives to Violence (AVP) – Youth Program workshops are led by trained youth facilitators.  Workshops typically target age groups and are conducted over several days. For example, high schoolers are trained to facilitate programs for similar age groups and, if qualified, for younger children.  Curriculum set forth by the Alternatives to Violence (AVP) Manual for Youth Workshops is customized for different age groups.  These workshops are experiential in nature: every participant is respected and has something to offer to others.  Confidentiality is required and “put-downs,” either of self or another, are discouraged.  Workshops have from 12 to 16 participants and are facilitated by two or three qualified persons.  Sometimes teachers or another adult sit in on these sessions.

The Arkansas Coalition for Peace & Justice is recruiting and training facilitators and leaders to conduct these workshops, who will become the inaugural trainers for the workshops.  We plan the initial workshops for training these facilitators to take place during the late summer and fall of 2021.  This will allow for a regular schedule of AVP-Youth Program training sessions to be established early in the New Year, 2022 and then to be made available throughout the year, and beyond.  We seek to build a community-wide strategy that will support bringing the AVP-Youth Program into central Arkansas.  We seek partnerships and alliances with any number of players and organizations, including elected officials, local police departments, community centers and youth groups, public and private schools, as well as churches, mosques, synagogues and other faith groups. We dialogue with and learn from each other.  Each of these groups but especially community centers, churches and faith groups, and public and private schools will be

invited to assist in recruiting youth facilitators and workshop participants.  Students of every race, ethnicity, gender and creed are eligible.

Background – Arkansas Coalition for Peace & Justice

The Arkansas Coalition for Peace & Justice is a volunteer-led 501(c) (3) organization guided by a 15-person board and dedicated to the promotion of peace, non-violence and social justice.  It has a long-standing record in nonviolent conflict resolution activities and events throughout central Arkansas.  Through a week-long event – now six years old, called “Arkansas Peace Week” (Sept. 19-26, 2021), Arkansas Coalition for Peace & Justice works with the Little Rock School District, Pulaski County Special School district and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site to introduce and sustain a nonviolent conflict resolution curriculum based primarily on the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., in elementary schools across the county.   

Over the past six years, Arkansas Coalition for Peace & Justice, along with the Friends (Quaker) Meeting in Little Rock, and with the support of the prison Chaplain and Warden, has conducted an Alternatives to Violence (AVP) program for adult inmates at the Tucker Unit.  This program of nonviolent conflict resolution workshops for adult persons in a prison setting was begun in an upstate New York state facility more than 60 years ago.  It has found application across the country.

Summary and Contact Information

Arkansas Coalition for Peace & Justice is grateful for the chance to bring Alternatives to Violence (AVP) – Youth Program to your attention and will be pleased to answer questions or bring other information to your attention.  We have additional copies of the Alternatives to Violence (AVP) Manual for Youth Workshops available for review by interested parties.

For more information, please contact John Coffin:

Arkansas Coalition for Peace & Justice Website: http://arpeaceandjustice.org/

Arkansas Peace Week Web Site: https://arkansaspeaceweek.com/

AVP-USA Web Site: https://avpusa.org/

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Appendix: Sample Alternatives to Violence (AVP) – Youth Program Workshop Outline

The Alternatives to Violence (AVP) – Youth Manual is a gold-mine of directions, resources and instructions for workshop facilitators.  There are portions that deal with the roles and responsibilities of facilitators and leaders, a large inventory of exercises to choose from, sample agendas for varying sorts of workshops, and much more.  It also includes a section called “Light and Lively,” which are humorous, more light-hearted kinds of exercises that can be used as a “break” throughout a workshop.  What follows is a sample workshop outline:

SAMPLE YOUTH WORKSHOP SESSION OUTLINE

  • Session 1: 3 hours
    • Welcome; Team introduction and agenda.
    • Preview
    • Opening talk
      • Nature/Process
      • 3 AVP ways
      • Housekeeping
      • Ground Rules/Agreements
    • Adjective name game and more
    • Two Chairs
    • Peoples/Perceptions 1
    • L & L  (Light & Lively)
    • BREAK
    • Violence Brainstorm
    • Choices 1
    • Concentric Circles
    • Evaluation
  • Session 2:   30 minutes EST.
    • Agenda Preview
    • Gathering:  my favorite positive word is…
    • Reflective Listening (including brainstorming)
    • Sharing stories
    • Go-around: Right now I’m feeling …
    • L & L
    • BREAK
    • Creative construction
    • Evaluation