Community Building Art Works (CBAW) is a Veterans service organization that builds healthy and connected communities through free online art and writing workshops led by professional artists. Veterans and civilians share creative expression, mutual understanding, and support with the mission to ensure that no Veteran bears the burden of service alone. In partnership with Blue Star Families, CBAW offers writing workshops two Thursdays a month.

Writing workshops forge connection and community

Military spouses founded Blue Star Families (BSF) in 2009 to empower military and Veteran families to thrive by connecting them with their civilian neighbors—both people and organizations—to create strong communities of mutual support.

Joan Green, a long-standing BSF member, shares how connection builds resilience through writing, art and relationships.

“CBAW is so much more than a non-profit that provides writing and art workshops,” Green said. “The facilitators and participants have formed a strong bond that feels, to me, much more like family and life-long friends than merely people on Zoom. I try to schedule my week so I am free to attend every workshop. I am discovering my voice and learning art skills that have given me a productive outlet for processing a lot of unwelcome information and emotional upheaval. I am healing, and hopefully helping others heal. I cannot imagine my life without this chorus ringing in my head every day.”

Writing and resilience

The twice monthly online workshop for military families and caregivers blends poetry, community and the science of resilience. Laura Van Prooyen, author, educator, publisher and workshop facilitator, selects a poem for each session. Together, participants read, respond, write and can choose to share.

Many studies and decades of research have revealed the link between expressive writing and improved health. Writing provides a private space for people to reinforce positive experiences, display gratitude, and explore and articulate painful truths.

No experience necessary

Over the past decade, CBAW’s workshops have reached thousands of service members, Veterans, and military and civilian health care workers struggling with the social isolation and loss of connection that often accompanies moral injury and posttraumatic stress. CBAW creates virtual spaces that allow for health care workers to slow the mind, reflect on difficult circumstances and use ordinary language in extraordinary ways.

The free online workshop for military families, Veterans and caregivers meets on select Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. ET, via Zoom.

Visit CBAW’s website and the full schedule of events.

The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on the part of VA. Veterans should verify the information with the organization offering.

By Courtesy of Blue Star Families

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Published on Sep. 6, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 8,823

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18 Comments

  1. David Murray September 12, 2022 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    I do not have Zoom equipment. How do I enroll in this situation?

    • CBAW Team September 14, 2022 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Hi David, we would love to have you join us. Since our programs are virtual, you will need a computer and/or a phone to participate, but no additional equipment. Once you register for our program through the web, you will receive a confirmation email. It will have a link you can click to join us on your computer. You will also receive a call in number, if you’d prefer to join by phone. Please visit http://www.cbaw.org/events to see what we have coming up in the weeks to come. Click on the program to see more details and get the link to register. If you have any questions, feel free to email info@cbaw.org.

  2. Sherry Bingham September 10, 2022 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    I am an interested Art Educator that has 40+ years Art Educator, What is the pay- rate for teachers?

  3. steve dilley September 8, 2022 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    The Veterans Art Project offers free classes in D.A.E. Deep Arts Engagements with Art Therapy options. more information @ http://www.vetart.org

  4. Wendy Stevens September 8, 2022 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    I see that it says writing AND Art however, I only see links to the writing workshop. Will an art one be coming?

    • CBAW Team September 8, 2022 at 3:26 pm - Reply

      Yes Wendy, every Wednesday night we offer art via zoom at 7pm EST. You can visit http://www.cbaw.org/events to see what we have coming up in the weeks to come. Click on the program to see more details and get the link to register. If you have any questions, feel free to email info@cbaw.org.

  5. Sylvia Gray September 8, 2022 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Yes, I would be Interested in any art class. My PTSD has effected my creativity and I need help finding it.

    • CBAW Team September 8, 2022 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      Sylvia, we would love to have you join our programs. You can visit http://www.cbaw.org/events to see what we have coming up in the weeks to come. Click on the program to see more details and get the link to register. If you have any trouble registering, feel free to email us at info@cbaw.org.

    • CBAW Team September 8, 2022 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      You are more than welcome to join us Sylvia. Hope to see you soon. Feel free to email info@cbaw.org, if you have any questions.

  6. Margaret Chandonnais September 8, 2022 at 8:27 am - Reply

    This is Fantastic, I love to draw, paint, etc. my husband Richard, was in Vietnam War. I had breast cancer in 2002, double mastectomy. I always wanted something painted the side of our garage. Lot’s of people said that they would do it but never got done. Well after I was diagnosed I painted it myself. I painted a beach with a few of the birds we had and on the back of the garage I painted a moose.
    Thank you for sending and your service.
    Have a blessed day,
    Mrs. Chandonnais

    • CBAW Team September 8, 2022 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      That is so wonderful to hear Mrs.Chandonnais. I hope we see you in our visual art workshop soon!

  7. Milton Wykoff September 7, 2022 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    I will be 88 this month. My wife says I am getting forgetful, and I don’t finish what I start.
    I have a lengthy mss on my two uncles’ Pacific service in WW II, but lack digital skills to do a map of the pacific for the cover.
    Help!
    Milton W. Wykoff
    USMC 1952-55

    • CBAW Team September 8, 2022 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      Hello. I hope to see you in a workshop in the near future. Feel free to email info@cbaw.org, if you have any questions.

  8. Michael Mero September 7, 2022 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Like to give this a try.

    • CBAW Team September 8, 2022 at 4:49 pm - Reply

      We would love to have. Please visit http://www.cbaw.org/events to see what we have coming up in the weeks to come. Click on the program to see more details and get the link to register. If you have any questions, feel free to email info@cbaw.org.

  9. C Rowan September 7, 2022 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    writing program is interesting.
    I just don;t see where I can connect

    • CBAW Team September 8, 2022 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Thank you for your interest in participating. You can visit http://www.cbaw.org/events to see a Calendar of Events. On this site, you can click on any event to get a description of the program and link to register. You’ll want to check here for special events, but below is a list of our recurring programs.

      Poetic Record: Resilience Workshop for Healthcare Workers with Laura Van Prooyen
      Writing workshop for healthcare workers that blends poetry, community, and the science of resilience.
      Every Tuesday, 7 PM EDT

      Comedy Workshop with Amelia Bane in Partnership with Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals
      Writing workshop for all interested to learn and practice comedy writing skills.
      2nd Tuesday, 12 PM EDT

      Poetry Workshop with Ben Weakley in Partnership with Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals
      Creative writing workshop for all.
      4th Tuesday, 12 PM EDT

      Visual Art Workshop with Veteran Artists Val Acosta, Shaun Smith, and Joe Merritt
      Hang out in a collaborative group setting, learn new art techniques, and create a masterpiece. No experience necessary.
      Every Wednesday, 7 PM EDT

      Writing Workshop for Military, Veterans, Caregivers and Spouseswith Laura Van Prooyen in Partnership w/ Blue Star Families
      Creative writing workshop where we’ll consider writing as a tool for communication, expression, and relief from holding it all together.
      2nd & 4th Thursday, 3:30 PM EDT **Starting October: 1st & 3rd Thursday, 3:30 PM EDT**

      Writing Workshop with Seema Reza
      No experience required! If you can think, you can write. Bring some paper and a pen!
      Every Friday, 12 PM EDT

      Writing Workshop in Partnership with Strathmore featuring a Special Guest each month
      Creative writing workshop where you can put your personal stories on paper in a supportive environment.
      3rd Thursday, 7 PM EDT

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