MOVE Youth Program

“… I was surprised to hear a man speak out about domestic violence. I’ve always heard that once a man commits an act of domestic violence it will happen again, but until today I don’t think it ever really registered. I am comforted by the fact that there are organizations like MOVE to help men with this frightening and horrible problem.”

“… I believe that the presentation was effective because we had a speaker who had first hand experience and was actually a MOVE program member.”

“…I have only one word to sum up the guest speakers from MOVE, excellent, the best …”


  • Prevention Education
  • The Prevention Education Component offers
  • Counseling Program Services
  • Professional Training
  • Working Assumptions
  • Popular Theater

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The MOVE Youth Program works to end young men’s violence and abuse in their relationships. We do this through community education, the arts, activism, community involvement, advocacy and comprehensive counseling services. We prioritize the safety of survivors of violence and work to hold men accountable for their actions and support their efforts to change.

At MOVE we recognize that the teenage years provide us with an important opportunity to work with young men to challenge attitudes that lead to violence and to provide the skills and understanding necessary for mutually respectful, satisfying relationships. We help young men to find their own voice against violence and support each others progress towards change.

Our staff reflects the ethnic diversity of San Francisco and is majority people of color, including Native American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Afro-Caribbean, African American, White and Gay/ Bisexual, and is capable of providing services in a variety of languages. The MOVE Youth Program and it’s staff has been featured in local and national media including the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Sacramento Bee and has produced a number of curricula and research articles.

Prevention education:

MOVE educators and trainers give a hopeful voice to the notion that men can support each other to stop violence. Presentations are interactive, participatory and lots of fun. We use role plays, performance pieces, popular media and idioms to engage students with topics that can be difficult to talk about. Our approach is rooted in the emancipatory practices of Popular Education and Popular Theater.

The Prevention Education Component offers:

* teen dating violence prevention throughout the San Francisco Unified School District,
* trainings for high school peer educators
* support groups for high school aged young men
* weekly workshops for incarcerated youth at San Francisco’s juvenile jail. professional training to community based organizations, teachers and schools and county offices.

Counseling program services:

Our experienced counseling staff works with young men between the ages of 12 to 20 who have been violent or abusive with their intimate partners or family members.

We offer intensive, long term, counseling focused on mastering new skills and changing attitudes and beliefs to end violence and abuse. By practicing new skills and changing attitudes about abusive behavior, program participants find new ways of acting with their partners, family members and friends. Our experience tells us that real behavior change requires a minimum of 52 weeks of regular attendance and participation.

Our counseling program offers these services to young men between the ages of 12 to 20 who have been violent and abusive with family members and/or their intimate partners.

* Group Counseling
* Individual Counseling
* Family Counseling

Professional Training:

MOVE trainers draw upon years of experience in the Popular Education and Domestic Violence fields to offer a range of innovative and dynamic trainings to community and city agencies. We teach curriculum development, presentation skills and the theory and practice of preventing teen dating violence. MOVE staff have conducted trainings locally, nationally and internationally.

MOVE Youth ProgramĀ Working Assumptions:

No-one is born violent or abusive. We live in a society that teaches us that violence is often rewarded. Violence is a learned behavior that can be unlearned.

Violence is interpersonal and institutional. MOVE recognizes that social groups suffer institutional and structural violence in similar ways to the survivors of interpersonal violence.

There are no accurate stereotypes. Men, straight and gay, of all races, classes and cultures use abusive and controlling behavior in their relationships.

Violence is a choice. It may seem like men “snap,” “lose control,” “black out.” We don’t think this is true. Men who use violence do so intentionally in order to get their needs met. Violence is a conscious choice.

No-one is safe until everyone is safe. MOVE assumes that if violence against one group or individual goes unchallenged, then it allows violence to be justified against all of us.

Change is a process, not an event. Violent behavior is learned over time. It takes time and commitment to learn new behavior.

We are all connected. MOVE recognizes that we are all connected, that we must rely on one another, and that we must stop violence.

Our greatest resource is our community. Together we have all the information and experience we need to unlearn and change oppressive attitudes and behavior.

Popular Theater

The MOVE Youth Program prevention work is rooted in the liberatory practices of Popular Theater. Popular Theater is theater for consciousness raising originally developed in the Third World.

Popular Theater grew in part out of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and Augusto Boal’s Theater for the Oppressed. Popular Theater has been further developed by Third World grassroots organizations and youth movements in Latin America, the Caribbean, and now in Canada and Europe. The MOVE Youth Program prevention work is rooted in the liberatory practices of Popular Theater. Popular Theater is theater for consciousness raising originally developed in the Third World.

Popular Theater grew in part out of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and Augusto Boal’s Theater for the Oppressed.

Popular Theater has been further developed by Third World grassroots organizations and youth movements in Latin America, the Caribbean, and now in Canada and Europe.

It is an ideal way to bring together youth, elders, artists, and other community members in common efforts toward community cohesion and change.

Popular theater is both an interactive method for giving voice and value to local issues, and part of an international social justice movement that defends diversity and celebrates community and indigenous cultures.

It is ‘popular’ because it uses the languages and lived experiences of the people and because it involves the entire group–not just the elite–in selecting and defining the community issues, developing scripts, and telling the story.

Popular Theater is accessible, overcoming illiteracy and language barriers because of the use of various forms of expression. Yet, Popular Theater does not need previous artistic or performing experience.

Furthermore, it is an enjoyable method of building individual confidence and group collectivity for community education, organizing, and action for positive change.

Popular Theater is based on the dialectical theory of popular education, a process of community issue identification, reflection, and community organizing for action towards addressing or resolving the identified issue.

The Popular Theater process thus includes participatory action research, in which group members gather information from elders and all others about community needs, for example preventing domestic violence,; an initial “rough draft” script is then performed by community members in order to seek more input.

When the process works well, the whole community or neighborhood–“owns” the play and its issues, engaging in a continuing process of “play and re-play” where the identified issues are evaluated by the community, re-scripted and then played over, as the community mobilizes resources and experts, and cooperates in the real world to solve the problems and address the needs brought to light.