The Presbyterian Church of the Covenant is about connecting people and changing lives.
Churches don’t necessarily have to create new programs to change lives. Church members can connect with people in other organizations which are changing lives. One of those organizations in Delaware is the Alternatives to Violence Project. PCOC team ministry staffer, Rev. Tom Davis, President of the Interfaith Veterans’ Workgroup, is a workshop Facilitator for AVP. He explains why he has become an avid volunteer for AVP:
A recent CDC study on the roots of gun violence in our area focused on the long term damage from early childhood trauma.
The Alternatives to Violence Project was started in a U.S. prison by Quakers in 1975 and since then has been refined and exported to 119 countries. AVP workshops take about four half-days. They are facilitated by trained inmates and visiting facilitator volunteers. They contain many brief interactive exercises and some longer ones for refection about oneself.
An AVP friend of mine from Washington state, Roger Kluck, is using AVP workshops with incarcerated veterans. Recently, during a break in one of Roger’s workshops, an inmate from outside who had overheard “AVP” came to Roger asking for a moment to speak to the participants. It turned out he had taken AVP before, and it had changed his life dramatically. This man, Jimmie Martinez, spoke briefly, passionately, and articulately. Roger asked him to return the next day, and obtained permission to film his story. The film below demonstrates the damage of early childhood trauma, and also, the possibility of recovery with help from people who are not afraid and who care.