Steering Committee

AVP CA Steering Committee

AVP California is coordinated by a volunteer Steering Committee currently with ten members, as well as four outreach coordinators who are building AVP programs in different parts of California. The role of the Committee is to:

  • Provide a point of contact for returning citizens and the general public.
  • Provide leadership and support to serve prisons not served by any local council.
  • Maintain website to provide information and resources to the general public, facilitators, and returning citizens.
  • Interface, represent, and advocate for AVP with CDCR and other agencies and organizations.
  • Collect, aggregate, and share data on workshops around the state with AVP USA.
  • Raise funds through the annual mail appeal and grant proposals.
  • Facilitate discussion forums for prison coordinators and community outreach coordinators.
  • Consult to local councils and provide special trainings upon request.
  • Maintain facilitator and program high standards.
  • Raise funds to support facilitators with workshop-related expenses (mileage, accommodation, etc)

The Steering Committee solicits nominations for new committee members each spring.  New members are introduced and confirmed at the annual Facilitator Gathering in October.   Steering Committee members serve a term of three years, and may serve two consecutive terms.

To contact the Steering Committee, please send a message to

Current Steering Committee Members

Joyce Banzhaf
Northern Sierra Council; first term expires 11/2018
Joyce Banzhaf, a Retired Teacher, has facilitated with AVP since 2005. She coordinates AVP programs at CMF and Vacaville Prisons, and the Washington Ridge Fire Camp. 

Sue Torrey
Central Coast Council; first term expires 11/2018 

Ann Leonard
Los Angeles / Santa Monica Council; first term expires 11/2017
Ann Leonard currently serves a Prison Liaison for the AVP/CA Steering Committee and is Prison Coordinator for Ironwood and Calipatria State Prisons and coordinates the AVP program at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. She became interested in prison work while working on her doctorate at Pacific Graduate Institute. In her previous life, based in New York City, she worked with international development projects around the world. 

Gori Urling
Los Angeles / Santa Monica Council; second term expires November 2018 

Karen Brower
Central Coast Council; first term expires 11/2018
Caring Karen Brower has been facilitating since 2012 in San Luis Obispo County. She facilitates at the county jail, at the California Men's Colony state prison, and in the community. Her passions, besides AVP, include exercising, quilting, taking long walks with her dogs and spending time with her grandchildren. 

Stephen Matchett
Bay Bridge Council; second term continuing on year-by-year extension 

Steve Lomas
Los Angeles / Santa Monica Council; second term expires 11/2018
Supportive Steve became part of the AVP family in 2006. He has facilitated workshops in CTF (Soledad Prison) and community workshops in Los Angeles (his home) Lancaster, Fresno and Santa Barbara. Steve is also member of the AVP CA Fund Development Committee. 

Steve Gelb
San Diego Council; first term expires 11/2017
Smiling Steve is prison coordinator at California Institution for Men and has also facilitated at Calipatria, Centinela, Chuckawalla, and Donovan prisons, as well as at community workshops in San Diego (his home), Los Angeles, and Salinas. He loves to ride his bicycle and bake rye bread, and he just became a grandfather. 

Stacy Hughes
Santa Cruz / Salinas Valley Council; second term expires 11/2019
Stacy has been an AVP facilitator since 2012, and facilitates workshops at CTF (Soledad Prison) and in the community around the Monterey Bay. His work includes education programs between Japan and the US and community mediation. 

Nancy Vimla
Los Angeles / Santa Monica Council; first term expires 11/2018
Numinous Nancy Vimla lives in San Luis Obispo County. She facilitates at CMC East and West, SLO County Jail and is available for traveling. She is also on the AVP/USA Education Committee Best Practice Team. She is serious about Yoga, buys produce at local Farmer's Markets and likes exploring new interests.