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Alternatives to Violence Project/Santa Barbara

Alternatives to Violence Project/Santa Barbara-5753

Organization Mission

To empower people to lead nonviolent lives through affirmation, respect for all, community building, cooperation and trust.
Founded in and developed from 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/SB offers experiential workshops in personal growth and creative conflict management for adults and youth in and around the county of Santa Barbara and adjacent counties, and elsewhere in California on occasion.

The Big Idea:
Reducing Violence in Our Schools

Too many young people in S.B. end up locked up, on Probation, transferred to alternative schools, or even disappearing on the streets. Alternative to Violence Project’s (AVP) experiential trauma-informed workshops introduce practical skills for dealing with violence. A three-year collaboration between AVP/Santa Barbara, La Cumbre Junior High, and San Marcos High gives youth tools to reduce violence. And we are all keeping track of how well this works: “If only I had this workshop as a kid — before I ended up in prison…” is a commonly heard lament during every AVP workshop offered by volunteers in 25 California prisons.

I come from a community that violence is a way of life and it’s the only way we fix our problems. But ever since I been involved in AVP I feel like I have learned new skills that allow me new ways to address these obstacles.
Recently there was a problem with another neighborhood and at first my instincts told me to retaliate, but after evaluating my choices I thought about trying to FIND COMMON GROUND, I reached out to “an elder” in order to open a dialogue. It turned out we were all able to talk and come to an agreement that it was all a misunderstanding and violence was avoided.

— V Perez, Age 17, Goleta