Get HIPP: Workshop helps increase the peace

Hassle Lines, Crocs and Frogs, Jail Break, Zip Zap Boing.
These may sound like the names of trendy, aggressive new video games, but they’re actually some of the key peacemaking activities of HIPP– the Help Increase the Peace Program. Also known as AVP (Alternatives to Violence), HIPP has been resolving conflicts around the country for 25 years and has drastically reduced violence wherever it has taken hold. By encouraging the participation of people from different races, genders, and walks of life, HIPP helps build stronger, more positive communities.
Compared to the Middle East or inner city America, Charlottesville may seem like Pleasantville– a peaceful, idyllic place to live. But the attacks on UVA students and in Belmont are actually just the most recent episodes in a long history of conflict in our community. Fortunately for us, HIPP will be holding its third basic workshop in conflict resolution the weekend of December 13-15 in the Old Michie Building.
Who should attend? Anyone and everyone (over the age of 13). Why? According to facilitator Amzie Sullivan, who discovered the violence-minimizing powers of HIPP while working as a middle school principal in Connecticut, “We all have a potential for violence and for being a victim of violence or conflict.”
HIPP does not preach. Instead, it attempts to identify the root causes of violence so that people can then find ways to break these patterns and learn alternative strategies for resolving conflict. And it turns out that laughter and cooperation are the best antidotes to violence. Incorporating the concepts of adventure-based programs like Wilderness and Outward Bound, HIPP is a fun, creative, experiential, and entirely interactive experience. Games, role-plays, and discussions make up the core of the program.
“Most of the activities require cooperation, communication, and imagination,” says Sullivan. In Hassle Lines, for instance, participants pair off and act out a potentially violent scenario, which they then must resolve in a nonviolent way. The result is equal doses of laughter and insight.  
Sullivan runs the workshops along with her 17-year-old daughter, Jordan Brown, already a veteran peacemaker at the age of 17 (she’s been attending workshops since she was 11).
In Charlottesville, at least, money is not an obstacle to peacemaking efforts. The entire three-day, 17-hour HIPP workshop costs a mere $30 (for food, materials, building use), and scholarships are available for those in need. Donations are also gratefully accepted.
Have fun, build trust, and help increase the peace through HIPP– we’ll all be the better for it.  

The third Charlottesville Help Increase the Peace Program (HIPP) workshop will happen at the Living Education Center in the Old Michie Building (Seventh Street near the Market Street Parking Garage) on the weekend of December 13-15. Specific workshop times are as follows: Friday 5-9pm, Saturday 9:3 am-6pm and Sunday 1-6pm. Open to anyone over the age of 13. Cost, including food,  $30. Scholarships available. To register or for more information,  e-mail or call HIPP facilitator Amzie Sullivan at or 985-6170.  If you can’t make it this time, Sullivan and Brown will be leading another HIPP Basic Workshop in January. 


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