Report from the Alternatives to Violence Program Workshop
9 members and attenders at Framingham Friends meeting, 3 additional attenders, and 3 facilitators participated in an Alternatives to Violence Program workshop at the meetinghouse March 17-19. Rather than soporific presentations and discussions, we enjoyed a lively and engaging series of exercises and games, teaching us to listen, to build community, and to be more positive and adaptable in our responses to conflict. In the process, we got to know and appreciate ourselves and each other in new ways. The skills and understandings we developed are directly applicable to responding effectively to today's social and political issues. The Alternatives to Violence Program began in 1975 when an inmate group at Green Haven Prison in New York sought assistance working with youth gangs from Quakers who were facilitating a worship group there and from Martin Luther King's close associate Bernard Lafayette. It has since expanded to conduct programs in communities, schools, prisons, and youth groups in 35 US states and in over 45 countries.