Facilitator, Cofounder of AVP-AV and Founder of AV-YouthBuild
Rossie Johnson discovered AVP while in prison at California Men's Colony (CMC), eventually becoming a facilitator assisting others by helping to provide workshops for seven years. By the time of his release in 2005, he was very ready to take the helm and contribute to society. But more than that, he gained the trust and admiration of local government officials, some of whom were clear in stating their skepticism that a parolee could have anything positive to give. Later, in a public council meeting in Palmdale, a council member added unexpected comments which were just as clear that minds had changed on this point. I had the pleasure of attending that meeting. Today, youths who had previously been having difficulty navigating toward a positive path, and who were considered "at risk", found a friend and mentor in Rossie, who was there for them, showing them by example how to steer a clear path. Not only did Rossie Johnson succeed in surviving outside the prison walls in a positive way, but he proved to be a huge benefit to the communities where he chose to live and share his inner strength and AVP-style philosophy. Without this wonderful man, it is unlikely that AVP - Antelope Valley or Antelope Valley YouthBuild would exist today.
by Doug Couch
Lead Facilitator & Prison Coordinator
Diana Couch was encouraged to take her first AVP Basic workshop in the early 90s. Because community workshops were often unavailable, she took that workshop, additional training and apprenticeship inside the prison walls at California Rehabilitation Center (CRC). Mentored there by a great team, most of whom were students at the Claremont Colleges, Diana quickly honed important skills. When the students moved on, Diana had to learn quickly how to perform all duties of a lead facilitator and prison coordinator, and she continued facilitating in both the men's and women's prisons at CRC in Norco, with her daughter Tammy facilitating with her side-by-side. Changes in policies and a necessary move finally brought AVP Inland Empire to the end of its service. At the recent annual gathering of AVP-California, it was intimated that Diana had trained more lead facilitators than any other facilitator in the organization's history. In her earlier years, she served as a Vice President of AVP-USA, after working with others to help establish our national organization, and has served on committees to help that organization grow and succeed.
Executive Director of AVP-AV & Training Others
Since the founding of AVP - Antelope Valley in 2005, Diana has worked non-stop building our local group, including training the staff of several organizations. She brought other facilitators from as far away as Sacramento and Tucson, Arizona to get both the community and prison programs off the ground. A prison program was provided at California Correctional Institute (CCI) in Tehachapi, and due to policy changes, had to restart the program twice. After much difficulty, she started a program at the State Prison (LAC-CSP) in Lancaster, only to have policies suddenly change causing it to stop. Recently, the program has successfully restarted. Over a several year period, she has trained facilitators and leads to establish a program in the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison (SATF-CSP) in Corcoran, over three hours away. She has also traveled to Chowchilla, helping to keep that prison program afloat. Mini-workshops in the high schools' Teen Summits and other youth work, and regular community workshops, are all part of her ongoing work, along with other facilitators, both local and from "over the hill".
I'm her husband, and I couldn't be more proud of the work she's done, for years while holding a full-time job (and earlier still, holding four jobs in addition to facilitating workshops).
by Doug Couch
Cable TV Channel AV3 Interview, 2006 (not available yet, video file conversion problems)
Facilitator & Support Person
Doug Couch did occasional support work such as providing transportation, designing and printing materials needed by the organization(s), helping to resolve problem issues, answering the phone, and attending gatherings. He eventually took his facilitator training in 2006, but typically does not facilitate workshops. Over the years he could be found doing public relations work, designing and maintaining this web site and other duties. He even smiles now and then.
by Doug Couch