Communication, Conflict Resolution and Bullying Prevention

UCANN workshops provide the tools to create safe and supportive environments for work and school.

UCANN offers workshops on bullying prevention and conflict resolution for students, teachers, staff, administrators, and community members in middle schools, high schools, colleges & universities, and community organizations.

Based in Montclair, NJ, UCANN works with organizations of all sizes throughout northern New Jersey, New York City, Downstate New York, and Connecticut.

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What We Do

UCANN offers 2½-hour Basic Workshops as well as more intensive two- or three-day workshops on three levels:

  • The Basic Workshop
  • The Advanced Workshop
  • Advanced Leadership Workshop

Workshop agendas can be adjusted to various lengths, although a minimum of two hours is recommended.

The Basic Workshop

The Basic Workshop includes fun and experiential exercises organized by facilitators. Participants and facilitators act as equals in the group, practicing communication, cooperation and conflict resolution exercises, community building gatherings, and role-playing.

The end result is a cohesive and caring community whose members are ready to participate in the Advanced Workshop.

The Advanced Workshop

The Advanced Workshop starts where the Basic Workshop leaves off. Each participant’s level of empowerment is increased, and participants are better-suited to risk trusting the group with more of their inner experiences. Exercise topics go deeper and even more trust develops.

Successful participants may then be ready to take on a Leadership Role through the Advanced Leadership Workshop.

Advanced Leadership Workshop

The Advanced Leadership Workshop puts the participants into the leadership role, facilitating a Basic Workshop. UCANN Facilitators train participants in team-building exercises, and break out into facilitator teams. Participants are challenged to offer praise and critiques of effective facilitation by peers.

Leadership participants are then ready to begin a Facilitator Apprenticeship and take a leadership role within an institution.

How We Can Help

Violence and bullying in our schools and society is rampant. Anti-bullying curriculum is now a requirement in public schools throughout the U.S. UCANN addresses that requirement while offering compelling and effective strategies for life.

Harassment and bullying in the workplace is a major source of low morale and low productivity. See the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission Policy for more information.

UCANN implements a wide range of exercises that:

  • Build understanding and acceptance of others
  • Promote alternatives to violence
  • Increase awareness of personal value and inner resources
  • Strengthen interpersonal skills
  • Foster community spirit

Imagine how acquiring these skills can affect positive change in your schools and communities!

UCANN Workshops are experiential and fun. All participants are equal members in the UCANN circle. The exercises develop listening and communication skills, empathy, cooperation, self-esteem, and a framework for reconciliation and conflict resolution.

Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.

– Dorothy Thomas


Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) is a nonprofit organization that creates peaceful solutions to potentially violent conflict. Beginning in an upstate NY prison in 1975, AVP has now spread to over 50 countries around the world. As well as prisons, AVP exists in schools, communities and corporate settings.

This video focuses on AVP within the United States prison system. Experience an AVP workshop behind bars and listen to those whose lives have been transformed by AVP.

UCANN uses curriculum based on the powerful and effective Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP). AVP began when a group of inmates at Green Haven Prison (NY) wanted better approaches to communicate with youth coming into conflict with the law. They collaborated with Quaker volunteers to design a prison workshop. The success of this workshop quickly generated requests for more. Today, AVP is in prisons across the U.S. as well as in communities, schools, and areas of conflict and reconciliation in over 50 countries. Learn more about how a Philadelphia school is using AVP methodologies to reduce violence and disorder by 90%.

UCANN and The Alternatives to Violence Project principles and practices include restoration and healing; rebuilding self-worth; creating a supportive community; taking responsibility; and conflict transformation and resolution.

UCANN and You

The UCANN format allows participants a safe space to contribute. All participants are equal in the circle. Students labeled as having disabilities are equals with their non-labeled peers, and often shine as they contribute with great clarity from their individual points of experience. UCANN workshops foster a positive community environment through fun experiential activities and equally valued contributions from participants and facilitators. The implications, consequences, and reasons for bullying are examined by all participants. In turn, everyone in the workshop contributes to solutions. Through compassion and understanding agreement is reached.

The Hummingbird

The hummingbird reminds us that even small things hold great power. The hummingbird is a metaphor for the courage, strength, motivation, and perseverance that's required to resolve our differences without violence. The hummingbird represents the adaptability, accountability, playfulness, and creativity that is fundamental to healthy community.

What People Say

Fieldwork and Student Teachers had this to say…

The workshop activities brought everyone together.
I learned techniques to safely have our students talk to each other about important topics.
I felt so comfortable being myself and interacting with everyone.
I loved the different strategies that connected the group and learning about helpful ways to discuss bullying with my students.
I felt really relaxed and I enjoyed this workshop so much! I wish they could make this a permanent course requirement!
I loved the tactile, hands-on, physical component of this workshop. I am not used to these aspects especially in an academic setting, so I really appreciate this great change!
I learned my words can change the outcome of difficult situations.
This program has a huge impact on people. It should be in more schools.
I thought everything in this workshop was great. I wish we had more time to do more.
Everyone should experience this workshop.
Everyone needs this workshop! Do more of these!

Teachers and staff had this to say…

This was one of the finest workshops in which I've participated in over 25 years as an educator.
We should do these workshops more often. I would like to see these techniques encouraged at advisories
I learned a lot about working with groups and bullying legislation
I learned about your organized teaching strategies and how a hard concept can be brought to life
have to say, this is the best professional development day we’ve ever had.
Loved everything about this workshop!

Participants of UCANN teacher education workshops had this to say…

The workshop was a lot of fun and I know I’ll use some of the exercises when I’m teaching. I learned that I’m not as different as I thought from my classmates. It was a great experience that should be done in more schools
I loved how open and honest we were. I learned that we are all more alike than I ever thought. I loved it all! Great job!
I learned how bullying can affect an individual on a personal, emotional, and mental level. I loved how [the workshop] allowed everyone to express themselves. Enthusiastic instructors. Great ideas!
I loved how everyone opened up to each other, saw our similarities, and became closer. I learned to be accepting of everyone, we are all alike. I suggest you branch out into other schools and offer more workshops.
I learned that we all see each other differently and that we should all take time to say what we appreciate in each other. I suggest that you do this workshop with more classes more often.
The facilitators adapted the workshop to meet the needs of my college students studying to be teachers. The activities were fun and engaging and created a strong sense of collaboration and trust among the group. My students were also supported to consider how they would apply the elements of communication, cooperation and conflict resolution to addressing issues of bullying in their classrooms.

Contact Us

UCANN is run by Sarah P. Bentley, M.A., AVP Trained Facilitator.
To speak with Sarah directly, please contact UCANN at 973-650-5442.

To learn more about UCANN, or to schedule a workshop, get in touch via the form below.

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