Our Alternatives to Violence Staff
Pat Hardy, Executive Director/Co-founder, volunteer
25 years as a volunteer AVP facilitator in California prisons and with Santa Barbara youth; co-founder of AVP/California, and several organizations, former local bed & breakfast inn co-owner. Mother of two adults, five grandchildren.
JP Herrada, Program Director, Co-founder of SBAVP
As a previously incarcerated individual and a father of three, he saw the effect that his choices had on his children.
Upon being released in 2008, he found employment as Outreach Coordinator with Collaborative Community Foundation. This position consisted of working with at-risk youth in gangs by providing mentorship, crisis management and helping families navigate the justice system. A year later he became Executive Director
In 2010, he co-founded PALABRA, a non-profit that served at-risk youth in the county of Santa Barbara providing Gang Intervention and Prevention programs. This was the first and only program to bring restorative justice successfully to the mediation process working with the gang population in Santa Barbara County to minimize violence in the community .
Since 2015, he has been involved as a volunteer with Alternatives to Violence Project on teams throughout California, co-founding SBAVP in 2018. He coordinates all levels of AVP workshops. Working with youth graduates and their families to get back on track to a healthy and successful path by providing the tools to navigate our ever-changing communities.
Board of Directors
Jess Bixler, President/Co-founder
Former teacher, community activist, incredible volunteer, parent, grandparent, AVP Facilitator, mother, wife, community organizer and caretaker of parents
Brisa Alonso, Board Secretary
AVP certified workshop facilitator, bi-lingual high school student, attends San Marcos High School and is part of the Entrepreneurship Academy, Advance Via Individual Determination (college prep) and National Honors Society. On La Crosse team.
Jennifer “Jen” Navarro Rios
Jen is a first generation, Mexican, Santa Barbara native. Her passion for social justice stems from her experiences as a first generation, Mexican woman, and she is particularly interested in intersectionality among social justice issues, including immigrant rights, reproductive justice, and mental health. She is currently completing her Master’s in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University.
Board member, speaks Spanish and has been involved in AVP for
3 years, dad of two: one daughter who attends college and one son in high school, very hard-working with a solid family.
Alicia St. John, Board member
Alicia St. John, is an award-winning author, publisher and film-maker. St. John created Inspire the Next Generation, a mentorship program, which she launched at the Boys & Girls Club, Lompoc. This interactive TedTalks for children, brings in speakers from the local community to talk about their professions, talents and ideas. St. John joins the board of AVP in the capacity of working behind the scenes to create mentorship opportunities, and as an 10-year volunteer fundraising for Santa Barbara non-profits.
Volunteers trained in facilitating AVP workshops:
Tristan Bejarno, Catherine Cooley, Jonathan Horton, Maria Luna, Megan Martin, Maureen Murdock, Ph.D, Don and Judy Nason, Wendy Rodriguez, Brisa Perez, Stephen Pope, Donnis Galvan, Max Golding, Matt Lowe, Ciara Ramirez, Mary Watkins Ph.D, Erica Sanchez, Diego Valente, Lisette Valente, JP Herrada, Bill Dial, Pat Hardy, Jess Bixler, Holly Anderson, Luis Vargas, Ricardo Ochoa
Pat Hardy, Organizer/Facilitator of the Alternatives to Violence Project, speaks about how the project gives people tools they can use to change themselves and our violent society. Participants of the projects workshops learn new ways to react to potentially violent situations- new ways to respond to conflict and frustration