Volunteering

AVP is recruiting new volunteers to be trained to facilitate workshops in prison throughout the country.

Volunteering with AVP is a rewarding experience. The training provided is useful and powerful and taking part in workshops is a unique experience.

Requirements to become an AVP facilitator

AVP is a peer led programme. Workshops are facilitated by a mixed team of 4 to 6 inside and outside facilitators.  All facilitators are volunteers.

The two requirements to become a facilitator are literacy to be able to use the manuals and a commitment to AVP values and ethos.

Three aspects dominates the AVP philosophy regarding training:

  • Every contribution is valuable and anyone willing to can develop facilitation skills.
  • We believe in experiential learning, meaning that facilitators will learn by doing.
  • AVP is peer led and we believe everyone has some kind of expertise to share with others.

We ask our volunteers to commit to facilitate three workshops per year once trained. It means that volunteering with AVP is a long term commitment: it takes around 12 months to be fully trained and we expect our facilitators to keep volunteering with us for a few years, once trained, giving up three week-ends per year.

Recruitment

The first step is to contact the coordinator at dorothee@avpireland.ie. Volunteers apply by filling in an application form online and also provide a brief CV with two referees. Subsequently, an interview will be organized with the coordinator. To be able to take part in workshops in prison, volunteers have to apply for prison clearance - the application process can take up to four months. If volunteers want to be involved in workshops with young people, they also need to apply for garda vetting.

First Training of facilitators

To become an AVP facilitator, one needs to complete the four levels of workshops (65 hours of training):

  1. Basic Level
  2. Second Level
  3. Male Awareness
  4. Training for Facilitators

Female facilitators who cannot complete the male awareness workshop, undertake two second level workshops instead. Once someone has completed the four levels, he/she becomes an apprentice and will start facilitating workshops with more experienced facilitators to guide him/her. Apprenticeship lasts as long as necessary. When facilitators feels ready (usually after 4-5 workshops), they are progressively guided to become a lead facilitator.

The main duties of an AVP facilitator are:
  • prepare the workshops
  • where appropriate attend pre-workshop meeting with fellow facilitators
  • plan an agenda for the workshop
  • share the workload evenly between facilitators
  • practice and know the material that he/she is responsible for
  • ensure participants are welcomed and valued
  • deliver exercises to the participants
  • ensure the smooth running of the workshop
  • ensure that the workshop is kept confidential
  • organise breaks / lunch for the participants
  • help with setting up the workshop and tidy up afterwards
  • take care of all AVP materials /equipment.
  • prepare certificates and ensure they are signed by all facilitators
  • inform the co-ordinator if workshop supplies need to be replenished
  • write a report and provide information to the co-ordinator as required
  • ensure AVP’s good reputation is maintained

Desirable attributes of an AVP facilitator:

  • an interest in working people
  • a good sense of humour
  • excellent communication skills
  • be patient and non-judgmental
  • be punctual and dependable

For more information, you can download our Volunteer welcome pack 2017.

Testimonies of AVP facilitators

From Elma: 
I started my AVP journey as I was curious of what prison was like and prisoners. I just found AVP to be the most powerful weekend of my life. I did the second and third weekends and absolutely loved them. At that time, I was in my 20's and was not in a good place in my life. I found that the weekend gave me confidence. I really felt affirmed. There really is something special about feeling positive and having no harsh words over the weekend. I worked closely with a great team and some of them are still my friends 20 years later.
When I would be applying for jobs -I always included it on my CV and I have used the skills I learned on those weekends many times. It is very hard to explain how brilliant AVP is - the only advice I could give someone is to 'just do it' 

From Tracey: 
I wanted to make a difference in someone else’s life, to have positive impact on other people’s lives. Even if only one person I meet in a prison is encouraged to turn their life around it is a weekend well worth it. I also wanted to volunteer with AVP to give something back to the community.  The people that take part in the workshop embrace the AVP philosophy and it helps them in their day to day life, also it will help them when they are no longer in a Prison environment .
I have had the opportunity to learn new skills, meet lots of people from different backgrounds, I have learned empathy since being in AVP.  I have learned to use the AVP model, applying it to my own personal life. AVP has enriched my life. After a weekend in the prison doing an AVP workshop, I always leave with a huge sense of achievement and that I have learned something new about myself and others.  I also feel grateful for the life I have and no longer take my upbringing for granted as the people I meet have not had the same fortune and supports as I have had.
My favourite part of an AVP day is Lunch time, it is a most cherished experience everyone sitting down eating together sharing stories. There are so many benefits to being part of AVP aside from the learning! 

If you are interested in learning more about our work, you are more than welcome to attend our monthly meeting every second Thursday of the month in Friends Meeting House, Eustace Street, Dublin.