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Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) in Iowa

This site covers who, what, where, when,
and part of the why of what we do... and much more!

Who we are


We are an all-volunteer, registered, non-profit Iowa organization. Alternatives to Violence Project started in Iowa in 2004 and now has active programs in five of Iowa's state correctional facilities. We are affiliated with AVP/USA and indirectly with the global movement of AVP/International. We are actively engaged in developing community-based workshop programs in several Iowa communities.AVP circle of participants in chairs

Our Iowa membership is a gathering of men and women from many paths, careers, and spiritual backgrounds, who have found a common interest in carrying the principles and practice of AVP to all of our Iowa communities.

A Brief History of Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)

The all-volunteer Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) started in 1975 and continues today as a private, non-profit educational corporation funded entirely by donations. A group of inmates in Greenhaven Prison in New York requested a local Quaker group to provide them with non-violence training so that they, in turn, could be prepared to counsel under-age offenders in an experimental mentoring program. From Greenhaven, the program spread to other prisons and eventually programs for communities and other institutions were developed. Although started by Quakers, AVP is non-sectarian.

Fundamental to the program is the idea that we are all good and capable. It is an experiential process, one of seeking and sharing, knowing that we all have our own answers. AVP is designed to help participants find those answers. The topics and exercises are centered around a number of AVP "principles" that are experienced in the workshop. These include:

  • Affirmation of ourselves and others—the ability to recognize our qualities and our goodness and find these in others.
  • Community skills—trust, respect of others (and self), and inclusion.
  • Co-operation—team work by compromising personal wants for the benefit of the group, trying to seek win-win solutions.
  • Conflict resolution—Finding a common ground and letting "Transforming Power" (see box) work through us for a non-violent solution.
  • Communications—listening with caring attention, speaking with clarity, ownership rather than blaming, and awareness of body language.

Our Mission

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To empower people to lead nonviolent lives through affirmation, respect for all, community building, cooperation, and trust.

Founded in and developed from the real life experiences of prisoners and others, and building on a spiritual base, AVP encourages every person's innate power to positively transform themselves and the world.

AVP is a nationwide and worldwide association of volunteers. AVP/USA is an association of community based groups and prison based groups offering experiential workshops in personal growth and creative conflict management. The national organization provides support for the work of these local groups

AVP is dedicated to reducing the level of violence in our society by introducing people to ways of resolving conflict and reduce the perceived need to resort to violence as a solution. Our workshops are designed to create successful personal interactions and transform violent situations. We're dedicated to teaching the same non-violent skills and techniques that were used by Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We do our training where violence is found. Our workshops target:

  • Prisons
  • Communities
  • Schools
  • Work places
  • National and International disputes

Because it is not religiously based, and because the workshops are based on the experience of the participants, it has been successful across divergent cultures and among people from widely divergent class, ethnic, educational and social backgrounds.

We are currently offering workshops in correctional institutions and civil communities in over 40 U.S. states and in more than 20 countries world wide.

Prison workshops
Community-based workshops

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